Nesting boxes and perches: height and location help?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Storybook Farm, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. Storybook Farm

    Storybook Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2015
    Sugar Grove, WV
    My Coop
    I am redoing our coop before winter. We have a generous 14' X 14' footprint. We have a roost built like a ladder that's hard to clean under, and we have nesting boxes made of milk crates with a board on top that sit on the floor in a dark corner (I heard they like dark).

    Questions:

    Roosts: Since I find the ladder roosts hard to clean under, I'm wondering: could I make one long roost, all about the same height (waist height) with an access ramp for them so that I could have waist-high poop trays and an easier time cleaning? Is there such a thing as a roost that is too high?

    If you have roosts that are long and waist high (or higher) please post pictures as comments!

    Nesting boxes: I know people use milk crates...do they work? My mature laying hen won't go near mine... I'm considering building a shelf higher for them... would hens like them better higher or not? Other ideas to make them more attractive? Right now, they're low and dark, and so far, no takers.

    All in all: would it make sense to put the roosts at waist height and then the nesting boxes under the poop trays?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Most of your questions can be answered in these pages.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/housing-and-feeding-your-chickens

    I'm wondering: could I make one long roost, all about the same height (waist height) with an access ramp for them so that I could have waist-high poop trays and an easier time cleaning?

    Yes, one long one would be fine, then they won't squabble over the high spot.

    Is there such a thing as a roost that is too high?

    That depends on breed. Most like to go as high as possible. Some will sleep in the rafters or trees. Some don't like to go over 3 feet.

    Nesting boxes: I know people use milk crates...do they work? My mature laying hen won't go near mine... I'm considering building a shelf higher for them.

    I haven't had good luck with milk crates but I didn't work hard to make them attractive. They're quite open with all the holes. Perhaps you could wrap them with something to close them in more. I have used 5 gallon buckets laying on the side with some bedding placed inside which they've taken to.
    I would add a fake egg or golf ball to each nest.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
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  3. LaurelC

    LaurelC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bothell, WA
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    I have an enclosure that is essentially just a roosting loft. It's a few roost bars with removable walls (they come off for summer when it's hot) and now it has a "drawer" which is a piece of plywood wrapped with a shower curtain that serves as a poop tray type thing. It works fine, but I've found that most of the tussling that happens at bedtime has been a result of only have one point of entry/exit. You may find that having multiple ramps or step-ups to the roost will allow the birds to get out of each other's way.

    For nesting, I have an old dog house that I hinged the lid on, made a little curtain for the door, and stuck a bunch of straw in. It allows the girls to build nests wherever they want and still have a dark safe space to lay. There are 3 different nest "holes" inside the doghouse.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
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  4. RiverHouseHens

    RiverHouseHens Out Of The Brooder

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    In regards to using milk crates as nesting boxes, I just put my boxes in today. The first of my 10 pullets just started laying yesterday ( a RIR), so I got these together. I used two milk crates with cardboard on the bottom and a 2x4 in front to keep the nesting material from getting kicked out. And, of course, the obligatory golf balls. She got right in and layed her second egg with out any hesitation.
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    1 person likes this.

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