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Nesting box sizing... advice?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by simple smiths, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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    Jan 14, 2017
    We have 9 8wk old chicks that are big and fat and acting like they are trying to find nesting places in groups.

    The coop is 6'x8' with a door to a 9'x15' run.

    Plan to build 3 16"x16"x16" nesting boxes today.

    1: How high off the floor should they be?
    2: are 3 of these enough for 9 hens? Seems a little tight. We are in central Ohio if that matters.


    THANKS! :)
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    16x16 is pretty big. People use all sorts of things for nest such as old cat liter pans so size is relative to what your birds are used to. Personally, we build nest boxes and keep the dimensions small. You'll be amazed how much feather is on those birds and be in disbelief a large fowl big Orpington type can fit through a 9x9 opening to lay in a 12x12 nest. But they can and readily do. It's very natural for them to hide their nests and in this chicken mindset build nests to appeal to their way of thinking. In doing this It's my belief that the birds have a higher rate of nest acceptance and often lay first egg in it. We never had the issues some report in birds not laying in nests. Sure a few from first layers dropping from roosts and that sort of thing but most are in nests when first laying and by full lay all are.

    Keep the nests high enough it's not a burden to bend over and collect eggs. With being off the floor making a rail along front for landing before entrance to nests will help. Some cut round hole for entrance, some leave front wide open. I cut a 9 to 10" square because I don't have a jig saw only a saws all so making squares with that and rip saw is easy . Slope the top of nests so the birds wont roost on it and poop all over it.

    Come to think of it- with the nests being inside the coop you may want to think about using plastic buckets with lid on. Cut the hole in lid and screw the bottom of bucket to wall using washers. Ta da! Done excepting the front rail. Being a round top they can't roots on it, the unit is prebuilt except the hole in top cover. They work nice. Search BYC with bucket nest key words and you'll see how they work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  3. simple smiths

    simple smiths Just Hatched

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    How many hens are in your 12x12 boxes? Thanks again for all your insight!!
     
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I added to above about using buckets.

    Hens to nests? Oh, I use a long box and put two dividers in in. Mine is external access box and coop is on stilts so the holes are cut right into side of coop. Box is three sided with top on hinge to coop wall. Coop is on stilts so they walk right into it and I collect at chest height. If you've broody birds you want more nests but with layer types one nest per 4-6 birds is plenty. Always have at least two and add another if over 10 birds, another if over 15 birds...kinda like that. I've 11 layers currently, three nests and all the eggs are in one of them. That's typical.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    To show how easy building can be here's a few photos. I use nailers to attach to coop wall. The dividers are litterally tacked to the nailer only and are not even full height, just a privacy divider.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    You don't want your birds roosting(sleeping at night) in the nests....bad habit-poopy eggs.
    You want roosts for them to sleep on...about 1 foot of roost length per bird and a 2-4" width/diameter.
    They won't need nests until they are ready to lay at around 6 months old.


    My nest are 14x14x16" with a 10" diameter entrance hole centered 7" from top of nest to form a good 3-4" lip in front to hold in bedding and eggs.

    Here's my theory on the 'stack up' aspect to coop design:
    Bottom of pop door is best about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.
    Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).
    Roosts are best about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them, if you use poop boards under roosts it will also 'stretch' your floor space.
    Upper venting works best as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.
     

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