Nesting Box Question

kwk1950

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
45
2
24
I am building my coop Made out of rough cut lumber from Amish saw mill. 8 x 8 size about 8 foot high. my walls were 24" center 2 x 4's my spacing is about 22" inside after adding plywood walls I have approx 20" wide boxes Can I put in a divider and make the nesting boxes 10" wide by 14" deep height will be 12" high ???? Can anyone tell me 10" is wide enough for a hen to get in and use or should I just make the nesting box 20" wide????? Please help.. Thanks, Almost done and ready to be a chicken farmer,,,,,,yah…...
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
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Welcome to BYC!

Yes, you can do this. As long as you have the depth, I don't see why they can't be narrow as long as they are deep. The chickens will compensate and lay proper. The height is not as important, but 12 inches is fine for height. What breeds are you keeping? Aside from the very large breeds like Jersey Giants and other very large breeds, I think your boxes will work fine. I like my boxes to be 15x15, but I do have large breeds. My first coop had boxes of 9 x11 inches and they did cram themselves in these tiny boxes. LOL

Good luck with your coop build! If you have any further questions, you can always post them in our Coop Construction forums for more help....

https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/9/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance

Enjoy this new adventure you are on and welcome to our flock!
 

kwk1950

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
45
2
24
ok Thanks, I can make another nesting box and make them all 20" wide that would give me 6 for 15 birds Im getting red sex-link chickens. The deep is really about 18" deep and height is 12" on bottom and 18" on top. I will add another nesting box and I can keep one closed off. Better safe than sorry easier to add now then rip off siding later. Guess I better. i got 2 boxes now which makes 4 nesting locations each. if I add another box (which goes between the wall studs) that will make 3 boxes with either 2 or 4 nesting locations each. Im getting 15 birds.
 

Kelsie2290

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Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! I got lost in the math there, but ya, you can never have too many nesting boxes, if you have the room you might as well put them in there. The only reason I can really see going with 20" is that hens like to share and you are going to have some serious squashing going on when multiple hens try to cram in the 10" boxes. So six 20" nests for 15 hens should be great, if you divide them again into 12 10" boxes more than enough to go around but, I would bet they wouldn't use many more.
 

The Lazy L

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Dec 16, 2011
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ok Thanks, I can make another nesting box and make them all 20" wide that would give me 6 for 15 birds Im getting red sex-link chickens. The deep is really about 18" deep and height is 12" on bottom and 18" on top. I will add another nesting box and I can keep one closed off. Better safe than sorry easier to add now then rip off siding later. Guess I better. i got 2 boxes now which makes 4 nesting locations each. if I add another box (which goes between the wall studs) that will make 3 boxes with either 2 or 4 nesting locations each. Im getting 15 birds.
I have 8 BO hens and 2 nesting boxes. They all use the same nesting box unless one hen is broody. Then they either lay on top of the broody hen or use the second nesting box.

IMHO with 15 birds 2 or 3 boxes would be plenty.
 

kwk1950

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
45
2
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ok thanks im adding a third and they will have 6- 20" nests prob better
 

Ridgerunner

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I think you will be happy with those 18” x 20” nests. The bigger the individual nests, the more hens they can handle. A general rule of thumb is that a 12” x 12” nest can handle 4 hens. A bigger nest can handle more. Three nests can easily handle 15 hens, but if you have room and the materials, more won’t hurt. I do suggest you make the lips fairly high, 4” to 5” not being bad. If the lip is too low, the hen can scratch out the bedding or any eggs already there when she is adjusting the nest to get it just right for her egg.

Kelsie, I had an experience last summer that made me a much bigger fan of larger nests. I let a hen hatch in a nest made from a cat litter bucket, not a box but the plastic bucket the litter comes in. The dimensions are 9-1/2” x 11-1/2”, but I had it at a 45 degree angle to hold the bedding in and it had no top. My full sized hens had no problem laying eggs in that. But when chicks hatched, the first ones to hatch climbed up on top of the hen while the later eggs hatched. The hen was sitting so close to the edge that when the chick slid off Mama’s back, it fell out of the nest. My normal nests are 16” x 16”. In those the broody hen is far enough away from the edge that when the chick slips off her back, it falls in the nest. Not in a small nest. I agree with you on hens squashing in there, I often have three at a time in my nests, but to me there is an additional reason for larger nests. Fewer problems when a broody hatches.
 

kwk1950

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
45
2
24


Well my coop and run are completed. Finally. Picking up my girls tomorrow.
 

kwk1950

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 1, 2014
45
2
24
Got our first egg today. She laid it in the run. Any ideas on how to train them to lay in their nesting boxes.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
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Mar 9, 2014
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Got our first egg today. She laid it in the run. Any ideas on how to train them to lay in their nesting boxes.
Using some "bait" in the nests can help give them an idea what they are for - golf balls, wooden eggs, etc. This is all new to her, so it'll take a bit for her to get the hang of the whole egg production thing.
 
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