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nesting box height - is ours ok?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OliviaDeHav, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2010
    I have had this question from a friend of mine in Ireland several times about the height of our nesting boxes.... She is telling me they are too high and the chickens won't use them [​IMG]
    We made these larger - we now have 4 large 14x14 by 21 high nesting boxes for 5 chickens.... They are just above the lowest roosting bar (we have 2 now in there) and that is around 18 inches off the floor.... with the litter in there - it brings the floor up about 3-4 inches we are going to deep litter method, so it will move up a bit. Please note the photo is DURING CONSTRUCTION - we DO have walls covering the blue board insulation [​IMG]
    There isn't anything we can do about the height at this point and it was the BEST place to put them.... will they use them??? [​IMG]

    We have made changes to all of this, but you can see the nesting boxes kinda off to the left of the photo....
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  2. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    Don't worry if your hens can make it up to your roost they can make it up to the nest boxes too. I have nest boxes that are stacked 2 high with the lower one at about 18" at the bottom and they often choose the higher boxes.

    I took this picture at an Alpaca Farm Open House this weekend. The owner advised that the alpacas hay feeder is the favorite egg laying spot for their free range hens & it is a lot higher than your nest boxes!

  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Not exactly sure what I'm looking at. You don't need more than 2 next boxes for 5 chickens; I would have built one. When they are old enough to use the high roost, they may, if they don't bump the ceiling getting up there, and if there is several inches between the roost and the wall. You will probably end up closing off part of the nesting boxes to cut down on the poop in them. You may have to cut them off at night completely, til they have been laying a while. Also, they will be more likely to use the roost if it is wide and flat; usually the flat side of a 2x4, especially if you are in a cold climate, which I hope you are since you have insulated.

    Is that one of those rectangular slatted vents near the top? That is not going to be nearly enough ventilation. You will probably need an opening the long dimenwion of the coop, a few inches wide.

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  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I think the problem with high nesting boxes isn't that chickens won't use them; I think the problem is that they may use them to roost in at night, getting them all poopy and nasty.

    That's why the usual recommendation is to make sure your nest boxes are lower than your roost, since chickens naturally like to roost in the highest places they can get to. If your boxes are lower than your highest roost, that shouldn't be a problem, but if it becomes one, you can always block the nests at night to keep the chickens from roosting there.

    By the way, the usual rule of thumb is to have 1 nestbox for every 3 or 4 hens, so you have more nestboxes than you probably need. There's nothing wrong with having more nestboxes than you need, unless you need to use the space for something else.
  5. crazeetxn

    crazeetxn Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2010
    West Texas
    I think you should be fine. I retro'd a shed we had into a coop. Already had shelves so I converted them into nesting boxes. They are 24" off the ground. A little high, but the shelves were already there. Put the perch a little lower, and they obviously have no problems with them. Of the 10 chickens we have, we got 5 eggs yesterday in different boxes. Sounds like low production, but we just moved them last Monday.

    I do go out there occassionaly at night and they are roosting in them. I just pick them up and put them on their roost. probably going to make the perch fold down at night, but so far, no poop in the boxes.
  6. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:BEAUTIFUL PHOTO!!!! And takes a lot off my mind [​IMG] We really did not need one more thing to fix.....
  7. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:I need to get an updated photo... we do have ONE lower roost that maybe will need to be removed.... they don't use that one at night anyway... They are 15 weeks and 12 weeks old this week - do you think that if we move that ONE roost bar in the back (it is the one in the photo - the lower one they don't use at night) that they can fly up to it? or do they need a step roost still?
    Maybe leave the lower roost - then raise the back one a tad....
    The nesting boxes right now are closed off as they have not started laying yet.... I have another question i wanted to post with the 3 week age difference with the chickens and the younger ones using the boxes to sleeep in... hopefully not...
  8. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:thank for the input on ventilation - those are not our only vents and you can't see how it works by these photos and we ARE addressing adding more prior to winter...
    I'd rather have more nesting boxes than not enough - if it is a problem i will block them off - They are 15 and 12 weeks old and have been using the higher roost for 2 months now.... since they were 6 weeks old they have been getting up there - and not sure why you think they'd bump their heads? Maybe the photo is lending to an angle that doesn't show the height well.... it slants back from 10 feet high in the front to 5 feet at the very back.... I've seen tons of people on here with branches for roosts mine like that better than a 2x4 - we tried that and even rounded off, it seemed to bother their feet, but all chickens are different - glad you found something that yours likes better [​IMG] and YES we live in a COLD climate - why on earth would we insulate if we didn't.... added work for nothing LOL not me [​IMG]
    Wow, so much advice for one question asked - sorry if i was unable to address it all........
    thanks for all the input...........
  9. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:oh and the reason the more boxes.... i forgot to write - old age i guess [​IMG] - is that we will be getting more chickens next time around - preparing for the future [​IMG]
  10. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    The back wall where that roost is looks ideal for putting one of those stepladder roost things. I'll bet more birds could fit on it, and they could roost at whatever height they wished, or just jump from step to step to get to the top.

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