1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by slagartist, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. slagartist

    slagartist Out Of The Brooder

    40
    4
    26
    Aug 6, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    So, unfortunately I don't have any pictures yet, but basically our coop has two levels, and more than enough space for 6 hens. We're still working on the interior, and have a little lee-way on how we can do the nesting boxes. We made ours from scratch, no pre-bought plans, just taking ideas and using free leftover wood to build the base.

    For six chickens, all of which so far are getting along just fine, we were considering doing only "two" nesting boxes. Each large enough for three hens to use, with one opening for all three to get in the box. One on the bottom, one on the second level. The reason for doing this is to ease our process of making doors to collect the eggs (two instead of three or, god help us, six!). This way we only need two doors to open, one on the bottom and one on the top, to take eggs from the hens. Their boxes are inside the pen against the walls, not protruding.

    I have seen other coops with similar setups, but some of them have a single "box" with three openings cut into the front of it, one for each hen to walk into. My question is, based on your experiences, is this necessary? Or will three of them be happy to share the same box with just one large opening? And/or should we make dividers in this large box?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    449
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You have several choices. The rule of thumb is one nest per four hens. The truth is they will likely all use the same nest, especially if you make a "group nest," one large enough for two or three hens to fit in comfortably. (Two hens will also squeeze into one 12" x 12" x 12" nest, I promise you.) You can put up dividers or leave the area open. You can make only one three-hen nest and keep the other area for storage or aditional floor space for them. I'm sure there are other options.
     
  3. slagartist

    slagartist Out Of The Brooder

    40
    4
    26
    Aug 6, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    If they only need that much space, then one box will probably have four in it XD

    Okay, thanks so much! Next question: considering that, if we only build one box for the six of them to share, do they tend to preference if it's on the ground level, or higher up?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    449
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Just be sure it's lower than the roost. They like to sleep as high as they can, so if the nest is higher than the roost, they will sleep in the nest, which causes poopy eggs. My nests are ground level or one level higher, about a foot, in a walkin coop.
     
  5. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    What you are describing is a community nest box... If you are collecting from the outside of the coop I would put it up off the ground. Helps in keeping other critters out.... The good thing about them is they are dark and very inviting.... they can see out but "predators" cant see in.

    I am designing one my self that is about the size of a childrens toy box with a lid on top. In the "old" days when people pastured large flocks they were set out for the hens to lay in. a good sized box can accomodate twenty hens. especially if you are dilligent about collecting eggs.

    Because of my circumstances my nest box will have a roll out tray. This way I can remove the eggs without disturbing any hens and it discourages egg eating. I posted a sketch of what I want to build on the DIY thread

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/631861/diy-thread-lets-see-your-inventions/830#post_11745742

    That drawer can easily slide out the back instead of the side.

    deb
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by