Ratio of nesting boxes to hens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by StarryEyzz, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. StarryEyzz

    StarryEyzz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2012
    Granite Falls, WA
    I have 6 chicks in brooder. Starting to design/build their coop. How many nesting boxes do I need? I'm thinking of adding a few more since I am sure I will be adding more down the road!

    Thank you.
  2. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    For six hens, one nesting box would be sufficient. If you know you'll be getting more chickens eventually, count on a ratio of at least 4-6 hens per nesting box. I have 10 nesting boxes with only 20 hens - which is way too many because they all use the same four boxes.
  3. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    I would suggest supplying 2 nesting boxes as a minimum, in the event one of the hens gets possessive and another needs access right away, Opinions vary a lot in this area. Here are two resources that may help you make a decision:

    The first recommends:
    Nest Space: Supply a minimum of four nesting boxes for flocks containing 15 hens or less.
    For larger flocks provide one (1) nest for every 4 to 5 hens in the flock. This will help limit
    egg breakage from normal traffic and daily egg laying. Make sure nests have a deep clean
    layer of litter to prevent breakage and help absorb waste or broken-egg material.

    and the second recommends:
    Nests: Always provide at least one nest for every 4-5 females in the flock.

  4. JesseK

    JesseK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2012
    I have 4 chicks and am finishing up their coop. I was thinking of doing one very private nesting box - should I rethink and have 2? Their coop will be roomy, will it stress them out if they have to lay in the far corner because the box is occupied?
  5. laughingdog52

    laughingdog52 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    Eastern Oregon
    My hens all want to use the same nest, so I made it BIG. That seems to work for them. I used 1/2 of a plastic dog kennel set face down in the pine shavings. About 3-4 hens can use it at a time, and several use the spot behind the box. The other boxes just sit there unused.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]. I get about 2 doz eggs / day.[​IMG]. I was slow to finish the coop, so they just used what they had and now they don't want to change.
  6. SC-ChickMom

    SC-ChickMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2011
    My chickens won't even use the nesting boxes. They all lay in the same corner of the coop. I am thinking of just taking the boxes out.
  7. kiwiegg

    kiwiegg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2009
    Thats funny!!! Kinda like when you buy your kids fancy birthday presents and they just want to play in the boxes!
  8. redhotchick

    redhotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2011
    Fort Worth
    If you ever are gonna let them sit on eggs,give them two boxes. I had a large box and quickly learned that when one goes broody,you dont know which eggs are new. If you are never gonna let them hatch,one large one will work. My girls all use the same box.
  9. Habibs Hens

    Habibs Hens Cream Legbar Keeper

    Mar 31, 2012
    London, UK
    My Coop
    every time this question comes up its pretty much 1 nest box to 3 hens

    but if you can get hens to nest in all boxes then i say the more the merrier

    a way to get them to use boxes is to place rubber eggs in them so they can see they are boxes for nesting in

    mine i have a large long one that has a dowl seperater making it 3 and the hens love it

    i find eggs in either one of them

    i have currently 7 hens :)
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  10. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Well, I seem to have about enough nesting boxes as I have 4 and I have 9 hens laying. But the question I have is about the new dozen chicks I have on order. They will be laying about next April and I'm wondering if the older girls will allow the younger birds to use the same nesting boxes .... my guess is they will take exception to sharing.

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