Roosts and Nest Boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ragerkid2, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    How high should the roost be in the coop? How high should it be when there 5 weeks (when I'm
    Moving them into the coop. How high should tue
    Nest boxes be? Can there be two levels of nest boxes? I read somewear that the roost has to go right next to the nest boxes. I'm not sure. Please Help!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Nest boxes come in all shapes, sizes and positions. They can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. They can be on the floor or high on the wall. You can have several rows of them. You might look through this link to see what some of us have done for nest boxes. The general rule of thumb is one nest box for every four hens. I advise a minimum of two nest boxes in case you only have a few hens. I find that extra flexibility of have at least a second one comes in real handy at times. No matter how many you build, most of them will use the same one or two, but I still think the extra ones are a good idea.

    Nesting Boxes

    If you look through that thread, you will see that a lot of people do not do what I am going to say and they are generally happy with their nest boxes. That is just proof there are no hard and fast rules. A whole lot of different things work.

    One rule is that the roosts should be higher than the nesting boxes or anything else you do not want them roosting on. It does not matter if they are close to the nesting boxes or not. What you may have read is that, if the nesting boxes are up fairly high, you can provide a perch for the chickens to land on to make it easier to get to the nesting boxes. But this is just a perch to help them into the nesting boxes, not a roost for them to spend the night.

    I also suggest that the roosts should be as low as you can reasonably make them. The reason for this is that it is possible that chickens, especially the large heavy breeds, can hurt themselves getting down from the roosts. It is not that they hurt themselves getting down very much. They don't. But some occasionally do hurt themselves, so it is good practive to not get them too high. Also, the higher you make them, the more clear room they need at the bottom to land. While they can and will fly down, they are not real graceful fliers, especially the big breeds again, so the further down they have to come, the more room they need to keep from hitting things.

    The way I determine roost height is to decide where I want the nesting boxes, either on the floor or up on the wall. Then, I put a lip on the bottom of the nesting box about 5" to 6" high to keep the hen from scratching the nesting material or any other egg that has already been laid out of the nesting box. (That's the thing you'll notice in that thread. A lot of people don't put a lip at all or a lip that high.) Then, above the top of the lip, leave an opening 6" to 8" high for the hen to get in. Then make the roosts about a foot higher than the top of the nesting box.

    This does not matter if they are 5 weeks old or adults. Those 5 week olds can get up there if they want to. I find that my brooder raised chicks do not start to roost until they are 10 to 12 weeks old. They will play on the roosts during the day but sleep together on the floor at night. I do suggest keeping the nest boxes closed where they cannot get into them until the chicks are about 16 weeks old. That way, they either sleep on the flloor or get used to sleeping the roosts at night. You want to avoid them getting in the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

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