Nesting Boxes - How much privacy?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tooshay89, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Central Florida
    So, my chickens are almost 13 weeks old now and I'm starting to think about the nesting boxes. When they were smaller, I had the area blocked off so they wouldn't get in the habit of laying in there but now that the hardware cloth has been removed, I'm clueless as to what comes next. Our entire coop has sand in it. Is sand okay to use in the nesting boxes, or will I need to put something else on top of the sand?

    Now here's the bigger question - I've been looking at nest boxes and they all seem to have side walls for privacy. Mine don't have that. We had a local company build our coop and they basically constructed 2x4s to make up 8 connecting squares (picture below.) Will that be okay? It doesn't seem like they will have a lot of privacy.


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  2. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice coop. How many chickens do you have our plan to have? Eight nesting boxes is quite a lot. I would not use sand, try pine shavings. You don't necessarily have to make eight separate nests, you could just put a curtain in front of the boxes and make a big communal box. Or put a divider in to make a total of two or three boxes.
     
  3. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Central Florida
    Thank you! We're really pleased with the coop. I have leftover shavings from "chickhood" so I will definitely try the shavings.

    There are 8 "boxes" total - I only have 9 chickens, so I highly doubt they're going to use all of them.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So the nest boxes were to go in that bumped out area beneath the windows on the right?

    First, for that many birds, you won't need more than 2 nest boxes........maybe 3 max.

    Second, the bottom of the nest boxes need to be above eye level of the birds standing on the floor. When confined inside, if they can see the eggs, they get curious, may peck the eggs, break the eggs, then eat the eggs. The solution to that is to have nest boxes mounted at least 12 inches above the floor, and 18" to 24" is better. So if the plan is to use that bump out beneath the windows, put the boxes as high up off the floor as possible. Probably need 12 inches or so of vertical space (headroom). When chickens are ready to lay an egg, they look for a dark secret place to hide them, which is what a nest box is trying to mimic.

    Also, nest boxes should have a cover on top, sloping down so birds can't perch or roost on top of them, and top of nest box roof should be below the roost bars. Roost bars will be the highest point they can sit on inside the coop.

    For nest boxes up off the floor, give them a landing perch just outside the nest box (something wide like a 1 x 2, 1 x 3 or 1 x 4 laid flat) to land on, then hop off of and into the nest box. Nest boxes for full sized birds should be 12" wide x 14" to 16" deep, with dividers, at least a 1 x 4 across the bottom in the front to keep the nest bedding in (this will also help prevent that line of sight "I spy" issue and eating eggs), and ideally, the bottom of the nest box will not be solid wood, rather will be 1/2" hardware cloth to keep the nest bedding in, but let the dirt and small flecks of bedding drop out the bottom. Wire or mesh bottoms also help with mites and lice. Some have used milk crates with one side partially cut out for access.
     
  5. deanar

    deanar New Egg

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    Apr 29, 2016
    When do you actually set up the nesting boxes? Our birds are 18 weeks
     
  6. Tooshay89

    Tooshay89 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Central Florida
    I guess a picture of the outside of the coop would have helped... the coop's design has the nesting boxes on the ground. That's the space under the windows that you're seeing. I don't think I would be able to raise it a foot, it's not more than 3 feet tall at the highest point (if that), I'd guess. Would the line of sight egg-eating issue still be a problem if I add a curtain in front of the entire nesting area? Aside from completely reconstructing something in the coop, what can I do to ensure the nesting boxes are okay at the floor level?


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  7. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My nest boxes are on the floor level of my coupe also. No problems. If it is possible I would remove a few of the 2 x 4's that are dividing up the space, eight nest boxes would probably be good for 40 chickens :) I would make half that space as nest boxes and the rest as just the inside of the coop. Maybe make the nest boxes farthest away from their pop door. Some kind of curtains would help to make it dark enough for them. The inside of my coupe is painted white and the nest boxes are painted dark dark green. This helps to make them feel darker, I haven't added curtains yet but I probably will.
     

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