Nesting box big enough?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CDPet, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. CDPet

    CDPet New Egg

    Jul 29, 2016
    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?
  2. Monguire

    Monguire Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2014
    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.
  3. CDPet

    CDPet New Egg

    Jul 29, 2016
    Thanks. I appreciate your comments.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    Nov 7, 2012
    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.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    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 [​IMG]
  6. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2015
    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
  7. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    When I had 9 hens, I had 5 nest boxes, they all laid in 2 of them.
    Quite funny to watch at times.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    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.
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    Nov 7, 2012
    I set up a broody pen with a wood crate. It's super big, and the flock LOVES it. I plan to buy a couple more. (could make them, I suppose, but the ease of the purchase is worth something. I simply took off the 2 top slats on one side.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by