Nest Boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Briyon, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    My Chickens are about 18 weeks old (5 Araucanas and 5 Buff Orpingtons). My nest boxes are currently closed because I was finishing up some things on the outside. I was wondering should I open them up at this point. I just didn't want anyone to start living in there. I have read in other posts where people have had issues with their chickens using the nest boxes for things other than laying. Do they need to get used to going into the nest boxes or should I keep the closed a while longer? I also don't want them to start laying on the coop floor.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  2. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I had my chickens in a tractor while I was building their coop. I hadn't even gotten the roof on yet, just a tarp, when they started laying in the nest boxes I had already set up in there.

    They will probably lay some on the floor anyway until they get the hang of it. Just make sure you have straw in there to cushion them.

    Mine were still homed to the chicken tractor, so they didn't try to roost in the coop until I made them.
     
  3. Chicken Fried

    Chicken Fried Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 7, 2008
    Northeast Wisconsin
    I would open them up, and put a golf ball in each box. This worked great for me.
     
  4. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Welcome to BYC.

    My vote is open them up and put golf balls in them. If the roots are higher than the nest boxes, they hens should keep roosting on the roots.
     
  5. chickendude

    chickendude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    My 21 week old RIR's gave me their first egg on the coop floor. The nest box was 1 big box with no dividers. So when I got my first egg I put the dividers in the box and the girls were pushing and shoving to get in them. Ever since then they put all of their eggs in the nests. Well except 1 I found in the run. But I think it was her first egg and was not sure what to do. So I think you could wait a bit longer but I don't think it would hurt to install them now.
     
  6. newchicksnducks

    newchicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I opened our boxes when the oldest were 16 weeks...they never slept or even explored the boxes. Our first egg was at 22 weeks...our EE laid on the coop floor. She kept this up for 3-4 weeks while she was the lone layer (the other EE are still slacking!) Then several chickens from the next age group I have (5 weeks younger) one day all investigated the boxes. One of the Australorps laid an egg in the box for 2 days in a row... The EE must have decided if it was good enough for her to lay an egg there, she could too! I've since had both girls laying in the box...still no one attempting to use as a sleeping quarters.

    To sum up - yeah, go ahead and open up your boxes. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (ps - I haven't seen the girls checking out the boxes since that first time...I guess they were just making sure they would fit when the time came![​IMG])
    I'm assuming your girls have been sleeping on a roost for several weeks, right? If so, they should continue to do so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  7. Briyon

    Briyon Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 21, 2009
    Richmond, VT
    Yes...the girls have been roosting for weeks. I opened two of the three nest boxes today and put some straw in there and a couple of golf balls. I do have the ability to close them (I made doors for each of the nest boxes). Thanks for all your great advice.

    One more question...I can't remember how many chickens will use a single nest box. I have 10 chickens...I think it is 3 or 4 per nest box.

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  8. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I've heard about 4 per box, but you may want to put in another to give them a choice of location. They seem to develop favorite places to lay and sometimes several want to lay an egg at once in the same spot.
    Mine like to lay in the boxes a long time...sometimes hours before laying the egg.
     
  9. jafo

    jafo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2009
    We opened ours at 16 weeks, they got used to them, and used them when it came time at 20 weeks. Orpingtons. Attatched exterior boxes.
     
  10. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I built mine at 14 weeks and got the first egg at 16 weeks. At 17 weeks started getting two a day and at 19 weeks just now, have had one 3 egg day. All but two that they passed while on their roosts are in nests.

    Boxes are 12x12x4 deep, plastic parts bins. I figure one for each bird and have a row of 12 for my 24 birds. 4 breeds of large brown-egg layers. Started and still have golf balls in all nests. Mine are at 24" ht , same as lowest of the two roost heights. Upper roost is 48". I did no ladders/walkboards, and so far have not needed, but just did add two to the nest box row in case some birds in future can't make the jump while carrying an egg. Mine have had small roosts since day one, beginning at 4" tall, then 8" tall, etc. They were always crazy about them and would crowd onto them. Now all but the last three or four that get into henhouse at night get the top roosts. There is room up there for all, but seems around 3 RIR just do not get in there in time and have not caught on yet. They perch around nest boxes or on lower roost in front of two end windows.
     

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