Topic of the Week - Nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sumi, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Pic by @zazouse

    Nest boxes, those carefully designed coop essentials where we're all hoping our laying ladies would deposit the rent. (Note: hoping) This week I would like to hear you all's thoughts on all things "nest boxes"... Specifically:

    - What do you use for nest boxes?
    - What bedding materials do you use in your nest boxes?
    - Maintaining your nest boxes. (Cleaning, pest control, etc)
    - Managing broody hen(s) in the nest box.
    - How do you make your nest boxes attractive for the hens? (I.e. encourage them to use the boxes, instead of dropping their eggs all over the yard)
    - How do you discourage your hens from sleeping in the nest boxes?

    Anything you'd like to add?
  2. BYCforlife

    BYCforlife Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2017
    I prefer nesting boxes on the floor. Although it is more of a temptation for egg eaters, it is much better for day old chicks to get out of. They could fall out of an elevated nesting box.

    I use wood shavings in one coop. The hens in there are "easygoing" so they don't lay their eggs and run away. They sit down and the egg does not have far to fall.

    My other hens I have about 6" of straw for them, because they always lay their eggs standing up, and then run away to the other end of the coop.

    I think wood shavings are better for chicks, because with hay they may lose their footing easily.

    I don't discourage my hens from egg eating, but I keep them from being tempted. I put a curtain up over the most used nesting box. I don't think it encourages broodiness for my hens, because 2 hens have gone broody and were in an open nesting box.
    Right now my hen "Tina" is broody.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  3. The Angry Hen

    The Angry Hen Crossing the Road

    Dec 17, 2016
    Dirigo! (Maine).
    Hello there,

    I have my nesting boxes on the floor...
    (Due to hatching... So x2 what @BYCforlife said!)

    I use straw most of the time, but when hatching I prefer pine shavings...
    Etc. Not cedar!

    To encourage broody hens? I would like to start using fresh lavender,
    I hear it helps the aroma attract hens. And so eggs don't go bad I use golf balls.

    The golf balls are bought specially to attract broody hens,
    and discourage egg eaters.

    I just started curtains for the nesting box too!
    Hoping that works! I think that actually attracted a hen to brood!

    This is a great topic for the week,
    I can't wait to stick around and see others thoughts!

    -The Angry Hen
  4. jeria

    jeria Songster

    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
    Interested in this, I really don't want to encourage broody hens as not hatching eggs. Nest boxes for me are still to be built as is my in progress coop.
  5. mychickens

    mychickens Songster

    Sep 8, 2009
    Eastern Shore, MD
    For the moment my hens are using the nest boxes on the floor, they do have curtains in front of them. I haven't noticed more broodiness since the curtains but they do like them. Then, all of the sudden they will all change to the outside nest boxes that are built higher up. No rime or reason to it. I use straw on my coop floor but pine shavings in my boxes because I think it is easier to clean them out if I have a broken egg, you can just scoop out the wet part.
  6. Mraya

    Mraya Songster

    May 6, 2017
    Someone gave me the metal type nesting boxes but my hens have not started laying yet. Do some of you put curtains up? Does anyone have a picture of this. Is it to make it more private so the chickens lay better? This is all new to me.
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I have seen many nest boxes with curtains up, providing a bit of privacy for the hens, which they love. Mine seems to prefer comfort over privacy though, I have a young layer here that sneaks in to lay her egg on the couch whenever she gets a chance!
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    apryl29, penny1960, pam s and 4 others like this.
  9. jeria

    jeria Songster

    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
    Mine are planned for 8 inches off the floor as hoping to do deep litter. I do not plan to brood chicks from eggs, can't have roosters and only 6 hens allowed in the city. So any future chicks will be sexed. Hoping this makes sense as the frame is made for that wall with 2 boxes planned. Working on the coop and run. Well back to work.
  10. Molpet

    Molpet Crowing

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
    my hens thought it as great to scratch up into a ball.... it didn't seperate like straw it wadded up... I put another on the bottom w/shredded news paper on top. it has lasted longer.. your hens may be different than mine and have better results

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