Nesting box top - slanted or flat?



Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
My Coop
I've read about slanting the top of the nesting boxes to prevent chickens from perching there and pooping on top of the boxes. But I've also read about giving the inside of the coop fun things for the chickens - like extra surfaces, shelves, logs, for them to climb on and entertain themselves if they ever had to spend extended time inside. So these pieces of advice are in conflict with each other... If the sleeping roosts are the tallest structure in the coop, will that encourage the chickens to sleep there and leave all other surfaces for play only? Can I leave the top of the nesting boxes flat just as another surface for them to climb on, just for fun? Is the slanted top advice specifically so they don't sleep there at night, or in general? Do you have any other climbable structures/surfaces inside your coops besides the sleeping roosts (and poop boards)? I'm hoping the chickens will spend most of their time outside, but in case there's a big storm or something, and they have to stay in for a while, I want them to have things to do. The nesting boxes are an easy surface since it's already going to be there, so less for me to add...
Go with slanted, chickens don't know the difference between play area and roost, if you are just starting out with the coop set up, you might need to block the nest boxes till they get use to using the roost. I have a bunch that should be use to the roost and they are using the nest box's to sleep in, I'm shifting chickens between coops and end up having to move like 15 chickens on to their roosts. if you are concerned about boredom, add a swing or some hanging veggies, like cabbage, works like a tether ball. I do that out in the run and they have a great time.
I have flat topped and it is just fine. They do not roost on it, and when I put it in, there wasn’t enough space for all chickens on the only roost bar taller than it. They still did not sleep in it or on it because they’d rather be closer to each other and the ones on the top roost.

I now have enough roost space higher than the top.

It’s pretty tall so they actually rarely get on the top. They could easily jump to it, but don’t.

If that flat surface is positioned in a way to be a good view out of the coop for locked up hens, it’s just like they are roosting in it, and they’ll poop on it for sure. That means any time the sun is up and you haven’t opened the door.
My nest box is slanted, but they can still get on top, to get to the roost board. I scrape the top if needed, when I am scooping the poop board every morning. Do what works for you. A flat top might accumulate more poop than one with a slight slant, which could collect more poop and possibly get on the eggs, if they go in to lay after their on top.

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