Nesting boxes

jtrapp0810

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
6
0
7
Do hens need to have individual nesting boxes to lay?

I have built a nice big platform with hay for them to nest on for the time being. I was hoping they would lay on that till I get the individual boxes built.
 

sumi

Égalité
Staff member
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8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
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Welcome to BYC
Provide 1 box per 4-5 hens. That will be enough, though you'll find the hens will probably pick a favourite box that they all want to lay in, even if they are all identical. Hens like laying in semi-dark, private places where they feel safe, so put something in the coop, even if it's just a 5 gallon bucket on it's side with some nesting materials in, for them to lay in. You can "show" them what the nest is for by putting a fake egg or a golf ball in there. Otherwise the hens may find some other spot, better suited to their liking, and you'll spend a lot of time egg hunting!
 

Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
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Apr 23, 2014
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Even though it's the general rule to provide one nest for every 4-5 hens as Sumi said^ I highly go against this rule. In my opinion you should provide one nest for every 2 hens so there are no sqabbles. If there aren't enough nests then the hens will lay in the same box together at the same time resulting in egg breakage, stressed hens and dirtier nest boxes. So it's up to you but if you want a peaceful henhouse then provide one nest for every 2 hens you keep.

Welcome to BYC by the way!!
 

ochochicas

Songster
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
2,320
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Washington State
My hens don't even go in the next boxes. They decided they prefer to lay in the horse feeders. I installed a couple of horse feeders in the chicken run and that is where they lay now. They all lay in the same one. The hens still have access to the hen house in case they change their minds later.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
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Mar 21, 2011
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Even though it's the general rule to provide one nest for every 4-5 hens as Sumi said^ I highly go against this rule. In my opinion you should provide one nest for every 2 hens so there are no sqabbles. If there aren't enough nests then the hens will lay in the same box together at the same time resulting in egg breakage, stressed hens and dirtier nest boxes. So it's up to you but if you want a peaceful henhouse then provide one nest for every 2 hens you keep.

Welcome to BYC by the way!!
X2 I have found that 1 box per 4 hens was not enough in my flock and I had waiting lines and of course the broodies that like to hog up boxes. So I have 1 box per every 2 birds. My birds don't seem to picky about which box they lay in, however they will avoid a box that does not have a fake or real egg in it. I keep a fake egg in every box. Lets the hens know it is safe to lay in any of the boxes.

Good luck with your hens and welcome to BYC!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
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Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Some good advice above. Community next boxes can work, but it seems like sooner or later you get a bossy hen that doesn't like to share and you get floor eggs... if you have access to cardboard boxes, they make nice nests, that is about all I use, you can also put them in the wooden boxes as liners, makes things easy to clean, just toss the cardboard. 1/4 or so is about the minimum you want and it never hurts to have extra nest boxes, even if the hens don't use them... and if you have some hens that are box hogs or broody you will want extra boxes for sure. I like to have fake eggs in every box also. Free range hens especially like to "hide" nests, that is if they aren't locked in a coop run they will lay them in other places they find attractive (like the horse feeders), so if you have that problem putting out "fake" nests that they will find attractive to hide eggs in often works, you just collect the eggs like you do a regular nesting box (old dog houses, 5 gal buckets, barrels etc).
 

Mtn Laurel

Songster
7 Years
May 18, 2012
1,534
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Northern Virginia
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I gave my girls one box for every two hens and they all squabbled over the one box. They'd leave the other box empty while they fought over the one.

I then decided on a communal box so as to avoid the fight. It's 4 feet long with no dividers. Big enough for 4 gals to sit in if they want to. Guess what . . . they now fight over the same SPOT within the box! LOL! I often find two hens in there at one time, sometimes three. I only have 8 so it works just fine.

One box for every 3 hens is just fine and I'm thinking they'll still fight over using the same one.
 

jtrapp0810

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 27, 2014
6
0
7
None of the hens are free range. They're all cooped up. There are so many predators in the area I decided against free range. So as far as searching for eggs I shouldn't have to look far!!!

I just added the edition for the rooster so all is working well so far.
 
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