Nesting box big enough?

CDPet

Hatching
Jul 29, 2016
9
0
7
I was wondering. I have built three nesting boxes for 8 hens. I assume that's enough, from my research. What happens if they want to all lay at the same time? Do they share a box? If they do, I hope I built them big enough for more than one chicken. Any minimum size requirements for that?
 

Monguire

Songster
5 Years
May 18, 2014
164
59
116
Manassas, VA
Three boxes for eight hens will be sufficient. Only outlier would be any hens that go broody and hog a nest box for days on end. My hens will share boxes on occasion in dire-need. My boxes are 15" x 15" and they are each big enough for two large chooks.

As will all things chicken, I humbly suggest over-thinking/planning/sizing/building to accommodate determined predators, the capriciousness of Murphy and the pernicious chicken-math that grabs us all eventually.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,991
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
It doesn't matter how big or small your nest boxes are. You will find that if one hen is using a particular box, 3 others will decide they need THAT ONE! NOW!!! I use rubbermaid dish pans for my nest boxes (screwed in place so they aren't tippy) and have had 4 girls in one box at a time, bickering like a bunch of pre-schoolers. It helps to put golf balls or fake eggs in each box. Or if they favor one box, move the golf balls/fake eggs to an other box so they switch it up a bit.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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Southern Oregon
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I agree with lazy gardener. One box will be favored over all the others, no matter if you have two boxes or a dozen.

some hens share, they just squeeze in there or lay on top of each other.
some pace around, growling and grumbling at the hen in the nest to hurry up and get out.
some jump up and perch on the edge and give the hen taking too long a good scolding
some squat just outside the desired nest, even though there are other open nest boxes, and lay their egg there.

They're funny creatures, that's for sure
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sawilliams

Songster
Nov 12, 2015
1,641
1,672
241
Nor Cal
I have 4 boxes for 12 all are 12x12 size normally they use 3 of the 4. I've had as many as 3 in one box at a time.

I think the ratio is 1 box for every 4-6 hens and average size is about 12 inch cube.

I am redoing my boxes though and plan to have 1 double size and 2 small
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,359
123,927
1,807
SW Michigan
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IMO 12 x 12 x 12 is minimum...mine are 14 x 14 x 16 tall with a 10" diameter entrance.
I put fake eggs/golf balls in all the nests to spread the love, it helps....... some still b!tch and moan wanting a certain nest.
 

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