FarmerPeg

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2020
2
1
11
Western North Carolina
Hi all, first post for me here! We have 2 hens, Lucy and Ethel, who have a small coop and a nice run area outside it. They are about 7 months old. Ethel just started laying eggs earlier this week (yay!). Here's the question: The nest box area of the coop is "upstairs" beyond the roost area. The nest area was divided into two halves with a wooden divider. It seemed to me that the area that left for the nests was very small for our Orpington. On Sunday we pulled the divider out, making the area wider. The next morning Ethel laid her first egg. She has now laid 3, right in the middle of the nest area. This has us concerned for where Lucy will lay her eggs when she is ready. So....how big does a nest area need to be? Are they ok if it is a little cramped? Ethel does not sit on the eggs, she shows up back in the run after laying them. Will Lucy lay hers with Ethel's if the area is open, and is there any danger of her stepping on it and breaking it? We are going back and forth on whether to put the divider back or not. These are our first chickens that are in a coop and run, we used to live in a place where they (different ones) had free run of the 4-acre property. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,610
1,893
286
Kalispell MT
I have 4 pullets and 3 nests. They use one nest. They have never laid an egg in the other 2 nests. When I built my coop it was built for 12 birds and 3 nests. It is normal to have 1 nest box for every 4 or 5 chickens. Even with 3 boxes, there was one that no one would lay in even if I put fake eggs in it. I have seen 2 hens stuff themselves into the same nest at the same time rather than use an empty nest that they do not consider a premium spot. On very rare occasions an egg might get broken but that does not happen often. I would not put the divider back in. You are worrying too much.
 

My2butterflies

Songster
Apr 14, 2020
525
1,221
143
Minnesota
I agree. I’d leave the divider out.
My nest boxes are plastic recycling bins, so the same as having a double nest box. My girls (3-10 laying so far) like using the same nest. They have five to choose from and will lay in 3 different ones, but always use the same nest the first egg of the day is laid in🤣 They are so goofy.
 

FarmerPeg

In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2020
2
1
11
Western North Carolina
Thank you for the replies! Yep, worrying too much! After looking around at a lot of sites, I came to the advice that one nest is good for 3-4 or 5 hens, so we are fine with our slightly wider one for 2 hens. Our Golden Comet is the one not laying yet, but probably again a case of worrying too much, she is young. She is pulling some feathers out, but not a lot. We have some very hot days here and she pants, whereas the Orpington doesn't. We installed a mister in the run to help some, but I think she will be glad when cooler weather comes to stay. They always have shade available to them, and of course plenty of fresh water. Thanks again for the replies.
 

GC-Raptor

Crowing
Jul 26, 2016
4,230
6,037
461
Connecticut, USA
For LF chickens like Orpington. Nests should be 12"x 12"x 12".
If if width is less 11" with divider, I would leave it out. Some nest builders make a community nest without dividers.
Egg breakage shouldn't happen more often than nests with dividers, especially if hens have a favorite nest where most eggs are laid, especially if nests are small. 20190521_130207.jpg . GC
 

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