Nesting boxes and roosts

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Joe19, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Joe19

    Joe19 Just Hatched

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    So I bought a coop at Tractor Supply on a black Froday sale. Then I built a 12x9 run around it. Anyway....i have 6 hens, all around 7 months old. No eggs yet. The roost and nesting boxes are in the same little 3x4 area. Can the roost and nesting boxes being so close together be a problem? I put a couple ceramic eggs in the boxes just to encourage them. Do the two areas need to be more seperate?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't think having them in close proximity is necessarily an issue. I suppose the more distance between the two eliminates the pooping-from-the-roost problems near the nest boxes, but other than that I don't know if there is a problem having them close together. Just make sure the lowest roost is higher than than the highest nest box to discourage roosting (and pooping) in the nest boxes.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It depends on how the nests and roost are set up. Can the chickens poop directly in the nests from the roost? I’d guess that the nest or nests are hung outside the coop with just an entrance in the coop?

    As Redsoxs said, the roost should be higher than the nest to discourage sleeping in the nests. Also, how long is the roost? Do you only have one roost? One 4’ long roost will probably be enough but it’s getting tight. If the roost is higher than the nests and you get chickens sleeping in the nests it’s possible you don’t have enough roost space. At 7 months they will grow a bit more, but not much. If you are OK now you should remain OK.

    I know my coop is totally different from yours. I mainly took these photos to show I don’t clean as often as some other people but they might help answer your question. With your tiny coop and the number of hens you have you will probably wind up cleaning a lot more often than I do.

    The first photo is my nests with a juvenile roost right above them. The top of the nests are used as a droppings board. This juvenile roost comes in handy when I’m integrating younger chickens with my flock. It gives them a safe place to go that is not my nests if they are afraid to share the main roosts with the adult birds.

    [​IMG]

    Off to the right are my main roosts. I built a brooder/broody breaker/isolation pen under the main roosts and use the top of that as a droppings board. Since it didn’t go all the way across I use bins at the end to catch the poop.

    [​IMG]

    As long as the chickens are not pooping in the nests from the roosts I don’t have any problems with the nests being close to the roosts or poop.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nope, as already explained well......BUT......a problem you might will have is that 3x4 is too small for 6 birds.
     
  5. Joe19

    Joe19 Just Hatched

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    Too small for what? To roost in? They do just fine in there with room to spare. In fact they bunch up together and leave room.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I know that there are those who say "a prescribed sq. ft. per bird" formula does not work. But, this is why I continue to throw out the recommendation of 4 s.f. in coop and 10 s.f. in run per bird: tighter spacing will eventually result in behavioral issues. It can also result in disease issues. It will make it difficult to provide adequate moisture elimination b/c you have more birds oozing moisture from lungs and other points in a confined space. Even providing the necessary ventilation in a small coop is almost impossible b/c it's impossible to have that ventilation without the birds being in the middle of the air flow. Add to that the increased difficulty of keeping an area clean when twice as much poo is being eliminated every day as the space was designed for. Then, there's the "social protocol" of the flock. When Alpha hen says "Get out of my way!" She's really saying, "Get out of my sight. Go far away, or I'm gonna rip your face off." The lower hens try to comply, but can only move 3' away. In a larger coop with a larger flock, you can have a bit closer spacing. A 100 s.f. coop could have more than 25 birds, b/c when alpha hen speaks, the lower girls can move 10' away, perhaps moving behind a hay bale, and that does satisfy the social protocol.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You might follow the link in my signature below to get my ideas of how much room they need. I don’t give you hard and fast numbers, just different things to consider.

    A lot of this depends on how you manage them. If they are left locked in that coop only a lot, you could have behavioral issues. It’s not guaranteed, but the more you crowd them the more likely behavioral problems are. In Mississippi the weather should not keep the chickens in the coop much at all, so whether you lock them up in the coop only at night or not and when you let them loose in the morning are important considerations.

    It’s not about how much room is in the coop versus in the run. Chickens don’t have any concept of coop space versus run space, it’s all about how much total space is available when they need it.

    I don’t like coops that size either. You may wind up working fairly hard at poop management and you don’t have much flexibility if issues do show up. You don’t have much room to feed and water in there without them pooping in it from the roosts. But if you just use it for roosting and nests, probably feed and water outside, and don’t leave them locked in there for long periods of time when they are awake it certainly can work. Management techniques have a lot to do with it. Your climate helps too.
     
  8. Joe19

    Joe19 Just Hatched

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    I clean the roost area and coop every daY. But there is poop getting into the nesting boxes. I clean those everyday as well. Anyway....I'm thinking I need to modify the coop and get the boxes a little farther back away form the roosts.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are you absolutely positive they are not sleeping in the nests?
    Might be getting 'kicked' in there too, when they scratch around in the coop area, if there is not a good 3-4" lip on the lower front of nests.
    Can you post pics of inside of coop showing roosts and nests?
     
  10. Joe19

    Joe19 Just Hatched

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    Well now that you say that....it could be getting kicked in there. I'm at work but I'll post a pick this afternoon. Thanks for everyone's help.
     

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