Open-top Nesting Box Debate

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lostbody, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Lostbody

    Lostbody Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    So... I raise chickens with my neighbors is this strange, sort of communal set up.
    One of my neighbors is the official "Chicken Lady" because she's been doing this longest, and I usually take her advice on everything chicken-related.

    However... We need to build several more nesting boxes and cannot agree on which style is better.

    She wants to make open-top boxes that sit right on the floor, and leave the wall be hind intact, so we walk into the henhouse to collect eggs.

    I want to make two rows of enclosed boxes with oval openings in the front (divided boxes on the top row, communal box below) with hatch doors that allow us to collect from the outside.

    I know my idea is more complicated, but I like working on projects like this, and I don't think it would take too long.

    What do you folks recommend?
     
  2. JenEric Farms

    JenEric Farms GOOGLE GENIUS

    Oct 31, 2007
    Maine
    I like being able to collect eggs without going into the coop. I check in the morning before work and sometimes while I'm in the yard before coming in the house and it's nice not worrying about poo on my feet.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:X2.

    And I do still open the coop door daily to check inside for cleaning issues and any chickens which might be inside it at the time. That way, gathering eggs from the outside of the coops does NOT mean the chickens or coop condition is ignored.
     
  4. Lostbody

    Lostbody Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    I guess what I really want to know is if they like laying in open-top nests better than enclosed nests. I'd assume they'd prefer nests that are darker, warmer, and more "protected." Am I wrong? Am I over-thinking this?[​IMG]
     
  5. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    They do prefer cozy dark nests.
    If given the choice they will use the cozy ones.
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Cargo, you need to to come talk to my chickens! I just collected the day's eggs, all from an open top area wallowed out in a bale of hay. Yesterday all the eggs were in a couple of open front nest boxes. I have both open top and open front, more private and less private, communal and individual. Actually they use them all, plus sometimes make their own. Seems to be what's in fashion this weeks gets used. Fortunately they prefer the coop.

    I would not build exterior nest boxes unless I collected while dressed for work. Actually I use what's lying around, have altered an old wood box but never built one for nests. If you have 5 galllon buckets, milk crates, plastic bins, kitty litter pans, etc., then you have a nest box. I've even used a cardboard box.
     
  7. Lostbody

    Lostbody Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Thanks for the feedback!
    One more question...
    Should I go out and buy some hay or straw, or can I just use old dish rags and torn t-shirts to line the nests? I'm thinking a rag on the bottom and a handful of wood shavings on top.
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    People use all sorts of stuff for nesting material, dry leaves, pine straw, shredded paper, whatever is around. They do like something they can scratch around in and rearrange. Lots of people use pine shavings, same as on the floor of the coop. If there's a barrier across the bottom of the front, for an open front box, that is, or they have been known to kick all the bedding out. Mine do better with hay than pine shavings; one $5 square bale lasts a year at least.
     
  9. chick-in-florida

    chick-in-florida Chillin' With My Peeps

    my hens will only lay eggs in kitty litter buckets set on their side. they are the square buckets. with a little hay in them. i think the fun part is finding stuff you already have around to recycle.
     
  10. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    Cargo, you need to to come talk to my chickens! I just collected the day's eggs, all from an open top area wallowed out in a bale of hay. Yesterday all the eggs were in a couple of open front nest boxes. I have both open top and open front, more private and less private, communal and individual. Actually they use them all, plus sometimes make their own. Seems to be what's in fashion this weeks gets used. Fortunately they prefer the coop.

    Hahah. Flavor of the week nesting! They do tend to have minds of their own.
    My girls came from a flock of 200+ they all squabbled over the darkest boxes.​
     

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