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nest boxes on the floor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MomMommyMamma, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    West Virginia
    OK, so we thought we were moving and so we just slapped the next boxes into the coop on the floor. Now we know that we are not moving. Can the nest boxes be on the floor or do they need to be lifted up higher? I keep thinking that chickens in the wild or free rangers must lay on the ground or in low to the ground areas. But every coop design I see has the nest boxes up higher. Our coop is on a hill so even while on the floor of the coop - they are at our chest level when we stand outside the coop. Thought I'd ask before we cut access holes to get the eggs out from the back.

  2. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Almost all of my coops have nest boxes on the floor. I use milk crates with shavings or straw in them and the chickens love them. I do have built-ins in one coop, but now that I have silkies in that coop they don't get used. The banties used to use them okay. Truthfully, my milk crates are so much easier to keep clean and cleaned out that I will never go back to the built-ins.
  3. Ours is higher now but only because I changed the layout of my coop, they were on the floor and my girls.were quite content with them there.
  4. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    If you are lucky enough to have a hen go broody and you want her to hatch out the eggs then you will want the nest boxes on the ground.

    I think elevated nest boxes are more for our convenience and also to get some more floor space in the coop.
  5. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Songster

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    The nest boxes in our coop are on the floor ad the girls like then just fine. I do plan on building a shelf of sorts for them just to free up floor space.

  6. Jferlisi

    Jferlisi i dont eat chicken!!!!

    Nov 2, 2010
    Menifee CA
    I have both. Some on the floor and some up off the floor. The real problem i have is that they like to dig out the nesting materials on the higher ones and empty it to the floor. So im guessing they really like the floor. [​IMG] Its my leghorns mainly who dig in the boxes. I was out there today and she when in there and laid in one and i was like YAY and egg, she heard me ask her if she was going to give me a egg. She stood up and started kicking the mats onto the floor. LOL mean little girl.
  7. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    The nest boxes our hens prefer are those mounted 4 inches from the floor.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Some people feel that floor-level nestboxes encourage random floor eggs (which get real pooey); but that has not been my experience, many of my nestboxes are on the floor and the chickens use 'em just fine.

    The main reason to have raised nestboxes in a backyard coop is so you can preserve the floorspace for normal chicken use. But if your coop is really very very large for the number of chickens in it, or if if it is so tiny/low you simply don't have ROOM to raise the box up above the floor, by all means use floor level boxes if you want.

    If they *are* raised above the floor, it does not make sense to me to do that unless you are leaving them GOOD walking-around room underneath, like at LEAST 12" between underside of box and top of bedding and preferably more.

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. Mervin

    Mervin Songster

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Pennsyltucky
    Mine are on the floor and now, after three months, they're finally starting to use it. When they first started laying they did it in the corner next to the nest. I had just set it in there until I got a chance to hang it. Over the course of a few months, they've mostly started using it. A few did from the start, but they all seem to be using it now. There is one exception and she seems to lay wherever the feeling hits her.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Another reason for raising nest boxes is to make it convenient for you to gather the eggs. Some people with bad backs don't like to bend over.

    If a nest box is on the floor, it is possible the hens can scratch trash from the floor of the coop into the nest. Whether this is a problem depends on how dirty the floor is and how your nest box is constructed.

    I had a problem with chickens scratching out the nesting material and fake eggs until I increased the size of the lip on the nest boxes to at least 5". After that, everything that I wanted to stay in the nests stayed in the nests.

    I have access holes to get my eggs from outside and never use them. It is easier for me to go in the coop to get the eggs, plus I like to check on things in the coop. I've had a few surprises. A black snake eating eggs. An injured chicken. A possum. Yeah, I like to check.

    You can avoid these problems with proper constructon techniques, but those access holes can be ways for water to leak into the coop, for drafts to get in the coop, or weak points for predators to get in the coop. In certain climates, eggs may be more likely to freeze, especially if the nest boxes stick out. That last does not sound like a problem for you, but I'll just mention it.

    There can be good reasons to have an external door to the nest box. If you have a child gathering the eggs and you want to protect that child from a rooster, maybe, or you often gather eggs when you are wearing your good clothes and especially shoes, they can be a good idea. If you have a small coop where you cannot walk in, they may be a very good idea.

    We are all different with different circumstances. There is seldom one answer that is right for all of us. Nest boxes on the ground, at shoulder height, or somewhere in between will work if your circumstances support that. Good luck!

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