Shape of nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MTchick, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I'm new to raising and keeping chickens, but experienced with non-conventional construction projects. I'm trying to plan out the coop before I get my chicks this year. I'm constructing the coop almost entirely from reclaimed building materials- old fencing, boards, etc and it is a fun challenge to make a safe and warm henhouse for my Montana climate with these materials.

    I'm curious about nesting boxes- specifically, the shape. Can a nest box be a 14" diameter tube sealed and set on the open end, with an entrance hole cut into it? (kinda like nesting in a tiny grain silo) Or must it be a 14x14" square with an open wall to happily accomodate a heavy breed? I'm probably going to get 2 Black Orpingtons and 2 Barred Rocks, as the local feed store carries these breeds and suggests them for keeping in our weather.

    Additionally, how small of a hole are chickens comfortable moving through? If I do cut holes into tubes to make nesting boxes, I will have to minimize the size of the hole to keep the tube stable. Would a 8" diameter hole be reasonable? Or bigger?

    Thanks for any ideas. I'll post pictures of my henhouse and nest boxes once they are ready (probably March).

  2. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I saw a picture of nests made out of small plastic barrels. The barrell was standing up and an opening was cut in the side. Looked kind of cool.
  3. poppycat

    poppycat Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    I've seen nest boxes made out of 5 gallon buckets. I think an 8 inch hole might a little small for a large hen though. Maybe 10 inches? Think of your own convenience in collecting the eggs too. I'm sure you'll do great though. Everyone's coop needs a little tweaking over time. Just make sure they're dry and safe from predators and you can figure out the rest as you go along.
  4. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Well, because I plan to have the tubes get capped by the inner surface of my chest-freezer type of roof that hinges at the top, the egg access for me is different than the nest access for the chickens.

    To better understand the very basics of my plan, I made a funny little drawing. Of course, this drawing excludes lots of important things like the entrance to the henhouse for the chickens themselves, as well as the roosts, and it is very much not to scale, but it is still illustrative of my ideas for the tube, holes, and the nest entry perches...


    I also hope that my chickens lay nicer lookin' eggs than the ones I put in the drawing. [​IMG]

    -MT chick
  5. bigredrooster

    bigredrooster In the Brooder

    Jan 16, 2007
    N.E Ga.
    I built some that are 12 inches by 12 x 12
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Very interesting! If it were me, here is what I'd do: I'd lay them horizontally and put a door on the back of the coop to access the eggs. I think this would be easier to construct (no cutting a tube) and easier to access the eggs from the side vs. the top. In fact, for a fun design and more floor space in the coop I'd push the tubes out of the coop and have them protrude out the back.

    Most of the bucket / tube nest box designs I've seen have been horizontal.

    Either way, whatever you do, take lots of pictures. poppycat is right, it will be a work in progress. I'm always tweaking my coop, nest boxes, etc.

    Best of luck!

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