Where are your nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AmandaKyle, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I have had chickens for a little over three years. Our initial coop was relatively small. It had one roost that comfortably fit 6 full size birds and one bantam. There were 3 nesting boxes that could be accessed from the outside. Of course, chicken math happened and 7 turned into 10 and 10 turned into 30! We are down to about 23 right now, but that number will rise again soon, I'm sure!

    When the first coop got too tight, we re-purposed our garden shed into a coop. Size wise, it's great. However, we don't want to change the look of the shed on the exterior so the nesting boxes are inside. At night, some of the hens were roosting on the top of the boxes, so we put an angled "roof" on it and they started sleeping IN the nesting boxes. We are in the Northeast so they don't lay much in the winter so it hasn't been a huge issue, but I'd like to get some ideas on how to re-configure things to avoid that going forward, because poop in the boxes is not going to work for me! [​IMG] For the record, there is definitely enough roosting room for all of the birds on the actual roost.

    I was considering building nesting boxes into the run, so the birds could access them from inside and I could gather eggs from the outside. Has anyone else done anything like that? Is there any reason that it's not a good idea? I'd love to see pictures if you've got them!

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I do not allow my hens to roost in the nesting boxes----I would have to build more roosts. You can fix your nesting boxes where you can close them off a hour before dark or go out at dark and place them on the new roost---they usually learn fast---in a couple nights. I also do Not have nesting boxes inside the coop anymore(not in the last 20 years)---all mine are outside, some on the side of the coop some in the yard. Pic of a Roost pole idea. Pic of a quick outside nesting box.

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  3. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Thank you for your reply! Our roost is very similar to what you have pictured. There's definitely room for all of the birds on it, but some have just chosen to use the nest boxes instead. It's good to know that it's not a problem to put the boxes in the run!
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Even back years ago when I had nest in the coop, if I had a hen/s that tried to roost in the box, I would set her on the roost and scold her with my voice(not that it did any good---LOL) usually in a night or two they learn. I would Not want my nesting boxes inside so I do not have that problem as well as some times I have to collect eggs just after dark and I do not want to have to go in the coop to do that.
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've stuck with the traditional style, location and position. The nest boxes are left inside, so if I'm not going to be around to keep an eye on things, they can still use them. For the same reason, I keep feed and water inside the coop.


    [​IMG]

    Key features are the nest boxes are well below the level of the roost bars. Sloped top to keep birds from sitting on top of them. Nest boxes shown are not attached to the wall. They are a wall unit that simply rests on the brackets, so can be removed to clean. Bottoms are not solid, but are 1/2" x 1" welded wire, so any dust, dirt, droppings, or broken eggs (none so far) fall out the bottom onto the coop floor. Size is 14" x 14", which is larger than most, but I have full sized birds, and they fill them up. Bedding is hay that is fluffed up into a bowl.

    Nature of the birds is to hide their clutch of eggs, so they are looking for a dark place to hide them. Interior of nests were treated with a dark wood stain.....almost walnut colored to darken it up in there. The only dark place in an otherwise bright, light interior.

    In the 6 to 7 months the birds have been laying, I'm only aware of 2 birds that have slept in the nest and I think they went in late in the day to lay an egg and were still there when it got dark, so they never left. Have also found about 4 or 5 eggs beneath the roosts, that looked like they were dropped by a bird in the night. I guess 14 to 15 hours of darkness is a long time to wait?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I have a hinged cover for my nest bank, it covers the nest openings and the perch in front of them.
    Flip it closed an hour or so before roost time, open it back up when I lock up after dark.
     
  7. CLutze27

    CLutze27 Out Of The Brooder

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    I keep my nest boxes in side, I've only had one incident where there was a hen in there after dark. I think it was a case of it getting dark when she went to lay. But one thing I did make sure of was that my roosts are higher than the nest boxes.

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017

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