Rollout nest plans?

David LaFerney

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jan 20, 2013
I recently built some rollout nest boxes, but I need to make some changes to the design so that the eggs roll into the till more reliably, and so that the hens can't reach in and try to fish them out - often breaking them in the process. Obviously I need to increase the slope and make the till deeper. Just wondering if someone else has already worked these details out?

I am using commercial style nest mats BTW.

Thanks for any help you can give - once I get it all squared away and proven I will share.
I've read folks the hang a piece of cloth between the nest and what you are calling the 'till'...then they can't see the egg once it's in the till.

Lots of info here if you want to wade thru a few:
advanced search>titles only>roll out nest
I recently built some rollout nest boxes, but I need to make some changes to the design so that the eggs roll into the till more reliably, .

Thanks for any help you can give - once I get it all squared away and proven I will share.
I would tip your nest boxes to allow eggs to roll in the direction and place you want the egg to end up at and secure it there.

Imagine two inclined planes one shorter by the width of an egg than the first. This will allow an egg to roll down the false bottom of the nest box and on the tipped nest box and roll under the top inclined plane or false bottom.

To put it another way:
One false bottom cut to fit the bottom of your tipped nest box but shorter by the width of an egg this will create a space at the back to fall down on your tipped nest box bottom and roll away under the top false bottom . You would end up loosing about 3inches of head space in your standard nest box. The thinner the bottoms the less space you will loose.

The top false bottom could be mounted on rails on the inside of your nest box and set in place as a friction fit.

This Blue inclined plane would represent the tipped bottom of your standard next box. Let me know how you make out (I never actually done this.) Good luck.
A curtain of some kind to get the eggs out of sight sounds like a good idea - and coincidentally I just did that earlier - not long enough ago to know how well it works.

The double back incline till is actually a great idea. If I had started that way to begin with. I might try it anyway.

First though I tried doing the previously mentioned adjustments - making the pitch a little steeper and making the till deeper, and as tight as possible to discourage the hen - which wasn't completely effective because the problem hen (broody) can reach all the way in and fish eggs out of the (now 8 inch deep) till - breaking many of them in the process. At least they all roll into it now.

I am now trying a redesign with a dropped till - where the eggs drop down into a kind of gutter shaped area - along with the other refinements.

The good news is that the eggs that come out of the till are almost all perfectly clean, and easy to gather. Also so far no one has started laying anywhere else.

There are some obvious cures to all of these issues, but I am trying to keep it as simple to build as possible and reasonably compact so that it will work in fairly normal sized spaces.

I'm getting closer, and I'm not going to give up until I work it out. But it seems clear to me that some (most) of the roll out nest boxes I see on the internet (including expensive store bought ones) wouldn't really work very well - at least not with my chooks.

Thanks for the ideas and thought.
So, I am now trying 3 different kinds of rollout nests and I'm starting to see results...

A "curtain" to hide the eggs in the till from view helps a lot.

The "switchback" double incline design is compact and not hard to build - and the same unit could be used as either a front or rear rollout. But my version 1.0 cracks thin shelled eggs - gotta work on that.

The "dropped till" design works, but I think there are simpler ways to deal with the issues without any risk of breaking eggs.

The most helpful thing that I have done to make them all more effective is to put the troublesome broody hen in jail. I can see how so many breeds got to the point that they rarely produce broodies - they are such a pain in the neck that chicken farmers have been putting them in the pot when they crop up for 2000 years and the genes have just been weeded out over time.

The good news is that all of these rollout designs result in almost perfectly clean eggs - no more egg washing! I don't see why a well developed design hasn't become the standard for small egg producers everywhere?

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