Nesting Box Designs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Melissa77, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. Melissa77

    Melissa77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2013
    Maine
    We have grown our flock, so we added two more boxes. We have 4 set up 2x 2. Two up , two below. We moved the first set of two up to make room for the two below.
    Im trying to figure out if its too high and if you think they will actually use the top two. As of right now.... nope. Its no higher to get in the box then it was for them to get ON them to roost. (another reason we moved them up).
    Thoughts? Will they use eventually once all are laying? 11hens. 3 laying. 8 Point of Lay (20+weeks)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Try putting a golf ball in each one permanently. It may take a couple of days to get used to them. Mine don't like them very wide and roomy--they like the small cramped up ones. You can also make the opening of the top two a little smaller, or use a little awning over them. Feed bags would work to make it darker. It helps to place a little roost bar across the front where they can jump up to it.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It’s not too high. They can easily get up there. It looks like that lip is a board, probably about ¾” thick. That’s plenty wide enough for them to use as a step to get in if they want to but a perch across the front won’t hurt. Instead of putting a bar across, I have a 2x4 sticking out perpendicular to the nests for them to stand on but my lip is made out of ¼” plywood, kind of thin.

    I’m not sure how tall that lip is across the front? I find if they are not tall enough the hens can scratch out the bedding, fake eggs, and real eggs. You have plenty of room. Instead of a perch sticking out in front, maybe put a 2x4 with narrow side up to make your lip higher and give them something wider to land on.

    With only 3 laying, you can’t tell what the other 8 will do once they start. Right now I’ve got 14 hens and pullets laying. They use all four nests but the vast majority of the eggs are in only two of those nests, one up and one down.

    A few of mine don’t always lay in the same nest every day, though most of them do. Some pullets seem to change nests each day depending on which nest already have eggs in them or hens laying in the nests when they want to lay. I do leave golf balls in permanently and am a strong believer in using fake eggs. I’ve seen them make a difference if a nest does not have a golf ball in it, but it seems they still like nests with more eggs.

    Other than the possibility of the lip not being high enough to keep them from scratching out bedding and eggs, I don’t see that you have anything to worry about. Looks like a good set-up. That lip may be high enough. If you find that bedding scratched out, then you will know. It’s just something to watch for.
     
  4. Melissa77

    Melissa77 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 24, 2013
    Maine
    Ok, will try closing them up a bit. I thought that they would have a harder time getting into them if smaller lol .
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ve seen full-sized hens use nest box openings 6” high and 8” wide. If you go that small you would need something for them to stand on to get in for the higher ones but they should be able to use your lower nests without a perch or anything. My normal openings are 8” x 8” but I had to raise a lip on a couple of nests to stop them from scratching stuff out and that was all the space I had.

    Growing up on the farm I’ve seen hens use some pretty tight spaces for nests. I’ve also seen them make nests out in the open. I do think most seem to want a “safe” hidden place, but each hen is different. They will lay where they lay. It won’t hurt to make the nests a little darker or more enclosed but I’m not convinced it’s necessary. The nests Dad used were more open that yours are now and they were well used. Dad did not use fake eggs either but I do.

    Don’t borrow worry before it’s due. Does it really matter which nest they lay in as long as they lay in a nest? I think your set-up looks good.
     
  6. kstavert

    kstavert Out Of The Brooder

    My husband built two coops and did not
    add nesting boxes so, I bought grey
    totes from Walmart, turned them lid side
    down and cut a small-ish opening in
    one side....


    at times, I will find 3 birds crammed into
    them ;)


    the main thing I like about this set up is
    that I can take the lid off and spray them
    clean in a heartbeat...


    they are light weight and easy to move when
    I clean the coop.... and, I can move them
    from coop to coop or place to place with
    ease, as needed....


    the ladies also sleep inside of them in the
    Winter
     

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