Space & nest ??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MomMommyMamma, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    West Virginia
    Is there a rule of thumb on how many nest boxes for "x" number of chickens? We're new at this and none of our hens are old enough to lay yet. We've got a very small coop put together and are in the design process of building the "real" coop. I'm sure it sounds silly but I'm still rather unclear about the nesting boxes. It sounds like multiple hens will lay in the same box? They just lay their egg next another hens egg?
    Also, I've seen that you need 3-4 sq ft of space per chicken. Is that for the coop/roosting structure or the run/grazing area, or both?
  2. pixie74943

    pixie74943 Songster

    May 25, 2009
    Adelaide, Australia
    I currently I have one 'nest' for 3, and its just a board laid across the floor holding in a pile of hay. very untechnical, works fine.

    Some people have 'community' nest boxes like mine, big enough to hold more than one chicken. It only works if your girls get along well though.

    Other than that, my 3 never need that nest at the same time. I'm hoping to allow 2 banties to use the same nest, I dont expect much trouble from the girls unless one goes broody.

    I think you can get away with one nest between 3 or 4 depending on how territorial they are. You (and I) should probably have at least 2 nests in case one of your girls goes broody, or just has a temper tantrum and wants the nest all to herself

    ETA: That 3-4square feet is indoor space. They'll need/want at least 10square feet of outside space as well as the 3-4indoor
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  3. GermanChick

    GermanChick Songster 8 Years

    Apr 12, 2010
    NW Missouri
    I have 6 nest boxes for my 14 girls. But we didn't have any space issues since our coop is pretty big. And 4 square feet per chicken are for the inside of the coop, for the outside give them as much space as you can !!!!
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    GC and Px aready answered your questions the way I would have, so I just wanted to say Hi! [​IMG] We just drove through Charleston last weekend on our way to the New River area (my family is just outside of Huntington).
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Usually people figure about 1 nestbox per 3-4 chickens. Sometimes they will crowd two into a box at the same time. That's ok. If you have more than one box, chances are good that most of the eggs will be laid (serially) in just one box. That's ok too [​IMG]

    Also, I've seen that you need 3-4 sq ft of space per chicken. Is that for the coop/roosting structure or the run/grazing area, or both?

    Depends how much space you want to give them. But it works best if you give them as much space as possible, e.g. at LEAST 4 sq ft per chicken indoors and 10 sq ft per chicken in the run, if not more. The more crowded they are, the less happy they act and the higher the likelihood of unsavory thigns like picking or cannibalism developing. You CAN keep chickens in just, like, 1-2 sq ft *total* per chicken, though. Its called "factory farming" of course [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,


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