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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by eggboy, Oct 25, 2010.
How big should a standard size chickens nest box be? Is it 14x14 in.?
ANywhere from 12x12 to 14x14.... somepeople even use old drawers. I use an old covered cat litter box( cleaned of course).
The smallest I would make it is 12" x 12". I made mine 16" x 16" Two hens can lay in there comfortably if they want to, and sometimes they want to. 14" x 14" would work well too. There is no magic number that is best. Many people make community nest boxes which allow for several hens to lay at the same time. Almost aything goes for nest boxes.
One thing to consider is how tall to make it. I like a lip on the bottom of the opening at least 5" tall so they don't scratch the eggs and nesting material out. 6" would probably be better so you can put a little more nesting material in there to soften it when the hen lays the egg. She actually stands up a bit to lay the egg so it does drop a little. I've had openings only 6" high and that worked out well, but I usually shoot for about 8" on the opening height. How high you actually need to make the nest depends on how you frame it up. A brace running across the top of the opening may take up space if you don't plan for it. I suggest making it a couple of inches higher than the absolute minimum. It won't hurt anything and may save you some grief.
I use plastic lidded storage bins, an old repurposed drawer and a covered kitty litter box. An eclectic mix!
None of my nestboxes is permanently affixed, though. I like being able to clean them out frequently because around here we have nestbox mites to worry about, especially in the summer. So I like being able to take my boxes right over to the composter and dump out the shavings. I dust the bottom of the box with poultry dust and add fresh bedding. In the summer, I do this weekly.
I also have two daytime tractors, and I need portable nestboxes to go in there, too. Oh, and one other thing: when I had broody hens, it made it very easy to manage them within the portable nestboxes: I simply moved the hen with her eggs, right inside the box, where I wanted to put her.
I've caught 2 girls at the same time in one of these. They're easy to build. They're easy to clean.