One large open nest vs. Individual Nest

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Vetai, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Vetai

    Vetai Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2010
    Republic, MO
    Hello, I'm a newbie here and I'm in the process of building my coop and the nest boxes. No Chickens yet. I've constructed the nest with a slight slope so the eggs roll gently to the back without access from the hen. Has anyone had any luck with Astro Turf to line the boxes? Also, right now it's one big open nest, about 16" tall x 16" deep x 4' long across one end, about 16" off of the floor. Has anyone had any luck with a open design, allowing as many as can get in method? or should I partition the 4' space into 3 or 4 individual nest for more privacy? Any advice from the seasoned vets out there is greatly appreciated!! If Astro Turf is not a good idea, any recommendations that would still allow a egg to roll and provide some padding? Thanks!

  2. rearrolled

    rearrolled Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2011
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I think you will find that while hens will lay in a large open communal nest they much prefer the seclusion afforded by individual nest boxes. I use an Astro turf like material in my rollout nestboxes. The advantage is that the "grass" is directional to help direct the eggs downward. It certainly is amazing how quickly hens dirty their nests. Having a material like the nest pads that are easily removeable and washable sure helps.
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Make 4 boxes. You won't regret it.
  5. Vetai

    Vetai Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2010
    Republic, MO
    Good Info!! I will definitely do the nest pads, good idea for cleaning. Also, will divide, Thanks for the feedback.
  6. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    I agree w/ Mahonri
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    I've gone to a community nest and it ended the fighting I had over the favorite nest, in my current flock. I have more hens that go broody than I've ever had before and some went broody two or three times their first year as hens. All that monopolizing of the favorite nest and laying hens having to wait to lay, lay on top of the broodies or lay elsewhere caused a lot of bad feelings. They started fighting out in the yard, later in the day. Giving them more nesting space to share eased all of that right away. Their nesting area is covered and darker than the rest of the coop. It's also in the same area that they were used to laying.

    The smallest I would ever go is double wide nests in any coop I built in the future. How many times do you see pictures of chickens jammed into a nest with other chickens? It seems to be a natural behavior, to me. I've had flocks in the past where none of my chickens went broody. Sometimes, I've had several broody at once. You never know what you're going to get. [​IMG]

    Maybe you should have part of it as a smaller nest or two and part of it as a larger community nest. Then they can decide what they like best.
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I'd go with individual. I currently have 10 laying & I see 4 of the six being used at one time. [​IMG]
  9. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I also use community nests, which the hens have fashioned into 3 nice nesting areas in each 4 1/2 foot long area (it's a double decker). The whole thing is in a darker, more secluded part of my coop, so it's pretty private. This set up has worked just fine for me and I've noticed that if a dominant hen gets into the nest with another hen, the submissive one can move easily off the nest to another without a lot of turmoil that can break eggs, etc. I haven't had any problems with it, really.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I think you will find that we do a lot of different things with nest boxes and most of them work. Many of the successful ones are open-air type, but I find that they often like them a bit darker. A standard design for the community nest box you are talking about would be to completely cover it and allow access from each end.

    Whatever you do will probably work. We normally worry more about it than the hens do. I suggest you make it as convenient to you as you can. I do like the 16" height and width. That gives them room.

    On the 16" off the floor. Is that from the top of the litter? If not, you will find they might scratch litter under there and, since space under there is limited, they will not get under there and scratch it back out. Mine builds up under the nest boxes that way. Wish I had made mine about 6" higher off the floor. Another possible problem if they are too close to the floor. Under the nest boxes makes a nice cosy dark place. Some might decide to lay under there. You can never tell what they will do, but I think you need to either have them real close to the floor or sufficiently high. That tweener height can cause problems. As I said, I wish mine were a bit higher.

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