Nest boxes - how high off the ground?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MarieNC, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. MarieNC

    MarieNC Songster

    May 10, 2010
    We are outfitting a storage shed for our girls and I have made some nest boxes and am wondering how high off the ground should they be? I know they should be lower than the roosts but after that I don't know. I have lots of head room in the storage shed, so that isn't an issue. Do you have ladders leading up to the nest boxes or should they be high enough that the girls can just fly up there? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    You can have your nest boxes sitting right on the floor if you'd like. I have mine raised about 2 ft., so as to not waste floor space. But chickens seem pretty fine with any level when it comes to nest boxes. IMO, anything higher than 18 inches needs a little perch of some kind in front, and ones that are close to 3 ft. should probably have a ramp/ladder, at least if you have any heavier breeds like orps and such...

    ETA: But as you mentioned...just keep them lower than your roosts.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
    Snow Flamingo likes this.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging Staff Member Premium Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Mine are on the floor, but I have a board across them to keep the poopy shavings out of the nest box. I don't think it matters, as long as they are lower than the roosts.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Nest boxes will work at any height. There is no one right answer for everyone. Some things to consider.

    If you have them high enough above the floor and any litter that might be on the floor so they can comfortably get under there, that space does not reduce your effective coop size. I'd give them at least a foot above your litter if you don't put them on the floor.

    If you have them low, you have to bend over to gather the eggs. How's your back?

    You want your roosts higher than anything you do not want them roosting on, but you don't want your roosts too high. They can injure themselves jumping down in the morning, heavier breeds being more at risk. Also the higher the roost, the more horizontal room they need to fly down. If the roosts are too high, they can fly into the feeder, waterer, nest boxes, or walls when they fly down. They are not really very graceful flyers.

    You want your roosts to be below your ventilation so they are not in a draft in the cold wet weather.

    If the nest boxes are more than a couple of feet off the floor, it really helps to have a perch or ladder in front of the nest box to help them get in, sort of a step. Some people build a shelf.

    The nest box itself needs to have enough height so you can put a 4" or 5" lip on it to keep them from scratching out the nesting material and eggs and still have an opening about 8" high for them to use to enter it. Depending on how you frame it, it may be OK as small as 12" in height or you may need 15" or 16".

    That's the main things I can think of right now. Good luck!
    Snow Flamingo and Wickedchicken6 like this.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I've got a combination of nest box heights in four separate "coop" buildings. They're on the floor in 3 of 'em, and the bottom of the nest box in the New Coop is at 18 inches ... wait... maybe 20 inches... no, 15 inches off the floor. There's a perch in front of each box so the chickens can land on it before getting into the nest box.

    In another coop, the nest boxes are extensions off each side with lids, but they're floor level; it was a coop kit bought off eBay.

    In the A-Frame, the nest boxes are upstairs, but set on the floor.

    In the Duck House (used by chickens far too young to lay) there are two plastic milk crates on their sides, on the floor.

    Doesn't much matter.
  6. MarieNC

    MarieNC Songster

    May 10, 2010
    Thank you all! Most helpful info here.
  7. razmond

    razmond In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2010
    Quote:Thanks for the tips, Ridgerunner!! Very useful info...
  8. Sam and Domino

    Sam and Domino In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2012
    Thanks for the help with this question.. now I can continue my build!
  9. pcdaly

    pcdaly Hatching

    Nov 23, 2015
    Hi all, I'm new to BYC and loving it so far. Regarding the nest box placement, I would refrain from floor placement for two reasons; 1. the nest will take up space that is then wasted and can't be used by the birds for anything else, like scratching around etc, 2. underneath a floor box is the perfect hiding space for parasites like mites etc. Even larger insects as ants could hang out under such placed boxes.

    The nest should be sufficiently high to allow the birds to walk freely under and at the same time not making them feel that it's a good place to start laying under. A good height would be about a couple inches above the hen's head when standing.
  10. Brownbarn5

    Brownbarn5 Hatching

    Jun 3, 2016
    If the hen is sitting on eggs 2 feet off the floor will there be a danger of the chicks falling??

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