Nestbox questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by happyhens, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. happyhens

    happyhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so the hens have started laying again (yay!!!). Last year, we used random things for nestboxes (a dog crate, a bucket with the side cut out of it, etc.) for the few layers that we had, but this year we have several more layers and we need more nestboxes, so I figured I'd just go ahead and build some. I have a few questions though. What is the best heigth to hang the nestbox? I know to keep the roosts higher than the nestbox, just not sure how high. My coop is 8' tall. Also, the nestbox I am almost finished building is made out of a bunch of recycled materials, I used mainly boads from a pallet to frame it with, and I'm planning to use plywood for the top and bottom, and peg board for the sides and to divide between the 4 nests. Because I am using old wood, I am afraid of mites, and I also want to make it look pretty and last longer, so what would be the best to paint it with? One more question- is a nestbox that is 10" w, 14" l, and 12" high a good size for standard hens (Buff orpingtons and similar sized mutts)? Any input is welcome, thanks!
     
  2. Captain Carrot

    Captain Carrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok firstly make the boxes about a cube foot. Bigger if you can, that way if two or more chickens decide to get inside at the same time, there is less chance of breaking eggs. I've had 4 at once in one of my boxes.

    Sand the wood down, a power sander makes short work of this chore. Then any wood preserve will do to paint it. If you paint it a light gloss then it'll make cleaning it easier, as you'll be able to see the mess and wipe it off.
    If you can, make the boxes with removable floors, again it makes cleaning easier.

    As for height, you're right that they should be lower than the roosts. But not too high that you can't easily reach inside for cleaning and collecting eggs. If you're planning on stacking the boxes on top of each other such as two high and two wide then give the bottom a clearance of 1.5-2 feet of the ground. They'll appreciate landing boards or poles attached to the front of the boxes.

    Put a piece of wood or plastic on top of the box so it's at an angle with the wall, so you don't get hens trying to sit, lay on top of the nest boxes.

    my nest boxes stand on the floor, on blocks so that rodents don't nest underneath, with a hinged lid on top to collect eggs.

    I have two boxes for 6 hens, but they all use the same box. If you have one box for every 5 or so hens, they'll be fine (they'll all use the same one though, usually the highest)


    Hope this helps.
     
  3. ARose4Heaven

    ARose4Heaven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]


    Ignore the snow...we had a blizzard.
     
  4. puredelite

    puredelite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just adding a little more input, if mites are a problem you might want to sprinkle a bit of "Sevin" dust under whatever you use in your nest boxes ( shavings, straw, etc.) I also place my nestboxes approx. 3' off the floor just so it is a convenient height for collecting eggs. If you have heavy breed hens that don't fly well you may want to adjust the height for them. I also use a slick piece of plywood on a very severe angle for a top to discourage any roosting on nestboxes.
     
  5. My6Chicks

    My6Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our nest boxes are about 18" off the ground. We felt it was an easy jump to get in and out of. As you have mentioned, it is best to have the nest boxes well below the height of your roosts. You can go to my coop page and see the size (about 1 cubic foot). I have 3 boxes for 6 hens (only have 5 now) and they all use the same box. We have found two chicks trying to lay eggs in the same box at the same time, it's a tight fit, but it is really uncomfortable, I would think one of them would go to a vacant box...
     
  6. happyhens

    happyhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! You have all been a big help. Let me specify about the size issue though, I know that a 1 foot cube is the normal guideline, but since I am using scrap wood I am trying to make it fit with minimal cutting. The whole thing is 40" long, so I can either put 4 in and make them 10" wide (which I will compensate for by making them 14" deep. Or, if that won't work, I can just put 3 in and make them wider. But I really do need 4, so I'm hoping this is ok?
    Edited to add- Your coop is amazing My6Chicks!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  7. My6Chicks

    My6Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks for your kind words about our coop, we like it and more importantly, the chicks don't mind living there...

    The number of nest boxes is somewhat dependent on the number of hens you have. I think I remember a ratio of 4:1 (hens to boxes). But since you will use the same amount of total volume, you should be fine either way. I would suggest that 3 boxes will give them more room to get in and out of. Your calculation of the width of the opening of a 4 wide nest box is over stated. You need to deduct the width of the 5 walls that define the 4 nest boxes.

    (40" - 5 x thickness of the walls)/4.

    Using the available wood to minimize cutting is prudent plan. If your materials dictate a much easier job with 4, then that will also be fine. Good luck. I will try to find my plans to give you exact dimensions of my nest boxes. Hope this helps...
     
  8. calgal98

    calgal98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Find a free bookshelf and divide it for nests. I did it with an old, old old, cabinet, put 1x2 strips on front to hold in the eggs and divided each shelf into fourths. I now have 12 potential nests but they usually use only 4-5. I had put an angled piece of ply on the top, but when I moved the nests I found a rats nest. Don't want that! It would also work with old cabinets, especially the top ones. They aren't too deep.

    Another thing I've done is use old fence board to create an exterior nest box. Hinge the top and it makes a great nest.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  9. yelim

    yelim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used milk crates that I cut one side out of. Filled them with hay and waa-laa chicken nest.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  10. happyhens

    happyhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got frustrated with taking the pallets apart, so I already gave up on that haha. I have decided to use 5 gallon buckets instead, with half of the lid cut off like I have seen someone else do on here. Thanks all for the advice, I guess I'm just not cut out for building lol.[​IMG]
     

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