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  #1  
Old 04/04/12, 07:58 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Nesting boxes for chickens question?

How many nesting boxes per chicken do you really need?
The reason I ask is, I am building chicken tractors to sell and as I look at other tractors it seems they have alot of boxes for something that only holds 6-8 chickens. I let my 7 chickens free range and they all lay their eggs in the same spot in a huge barn.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 04/04/12, 09:22 AM
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I don't know the hard and fast rule, but I'd build 1 box for every 5 chickens you'd expect to house in the tractor. My 8 chickens usually lay in the same communal nesting spot but sometimes split off into two spots.

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Old 04/04/12, 09:47 AM
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Location: Southern Idaho
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I have found that it really doesn't matter how many nest boxes you build for them, they still stand in line to get into the one they prefer!

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  #4  
Old 04/04/12, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy-7-farm View Post
How many nesting boxes per chicken do you really need?
The reason I ask is, I am building chicken tractors to sell and as I look at other tractors it seems they have alot of boxes for something that only holds 6-8 chickens. I let my 7 chickens free range and they all lay their eggs in the same spot in a huge barn.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Well Who Made Up the "Rules"--Other chicken raisers---I got one tractor with a dozen laying hens and 2 nesting boxes. Another tractor that will hold about a dozen hens with 4 nesting boxes and they mainly lay in one. Here is where you can run into a problem. My tractor with 2 nesting boxes had a chicken started to set, then a couple days later another one---both nesting boxes tied up, then a third one doubled up trying to set. What I do to solve this is I have several single nesting boxes that I add in. Then a forth one started wanted to set, So if I had of had 4 nesting boxes for 12 hens they would still have all been taken. I ended up moving all the chickens to another tractor except for the first 3 that starting setting. These are bantams and I think if I had of left them all in the tractor together I would have had to have 12 nesting boxes--LOL. If you got room I would build 3 to 4 for 10 chickens. JMO
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  #5  
Old 04/04/12, 10:07 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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they will roost in those nest boxes too if they are not lower than the actual roost and you need to be able to clean them out easly like maybe a drop down bottom some how
these are problems we ran into with our first tractor we put 5 nest boxes in it but we mostly use it for a nurse coop for sick or injured birds

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  #6  
Old 04/04/12, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinfeather View Post
I don't know the hard and fast rule, but I'd build 1 box for every 5 chickens you'd expect to house in the tractor. My 8 chickens usually lay in the same communal nesting spot but sometimes split off into two spots.

I've seen the 5 chix to 1 nest in numerous books. And to keep the nests as clean as possible, nest boxes need to be lower than the roosts and protected from poop bombs falling from the roosts.
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  #7  
Old 04/04/12, 12:08 PM
 
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I've always read 1 box for every 4 chickens

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  #8  
Old 04/04/12, 12:20 PM
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Location: South Carolina
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Mine all want to use the same box. I have seen 3 hens in there at once, stacked on top of each other. With an empty clean box right next to it.

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  #9  
Old 04/04/12, 02:31 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: TN
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You have already heard how they tend to use the same nest and the problems it causes no matter how many nest you put into it. I lke 4-6 nest per 10 hens. Never had that many go broody at the same time. I still mark the eggs of the setting hen just incase another hen lays in that nest.

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  #10  
Old 04/04/12, 06:33 PM
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I use milk crates.

How many I use changes. If no body is broody then each coop gets one box. But if a hen gets broody, then I add a box.

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  #11  
Old 04/04/12, 06:55 PM
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Put a wooden, glass or plastic egg in each nest and they may give up their "favorite" nest. I think they go to a nest that's already got a clutch started. With a fake egg in a nest, they may opt for it rather than pile on in one.
A neighbor has a chunk of rubber, like inner tubes are made of, streched across the back of his nest boxes. There is a slit for each box, big enough for your hand. He can fish out the eggs from the backside, without disturbing the hens.

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  #12  
Old 04/05/12, 06:19 AM
 
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Thanks for the input, you've been very helpful.

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  #13  
Old 04/05/12, 07:39 AM
 
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We have a nest box with outside access now, and it's pretty handy. But we used to have an arrangement where we entered a very large coop and had a nestbox with a roost on it and a sloped hinged lid. It was maybe four feet long and two or three feet deep. We'd put in a lot of bedding, and the hens would make their own spots within it.

Some chose a particular corner, some would switch around. But they all made a divot in the bedding and would settle in there, in the dark, quietly and happily lay their own.

As I type, I have two stuffed in the same nest box. There are six nest boxes for eight birds. Usually two have one egg each, one has four to six, and three are left empty. The preferred one is the darkest, and furthest from their door.

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  #14  
Old 04/05/12, 08:12 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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3-5 chickens per box should do the trick

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  #15  
Old 04/06/12, 07:03 AM
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I would suggest you "not" build a nesting "box". Build a nesting "bin" instead. I have discovered my chickens enjoy laying in an area they feel safe in and that "feels" secluded. They, also, will lay in the same nest!

If you have a 3-4 ft long "bin" with small enough dividers inside to encourage "separate" nesting and the front of that bin having several "holes" in it (with a perch in front) just large enough for a full-grown hen to get into, they LOVE it! (At least mine do!)

[I have Brown Chinese Geese and wild guineas that lay in the same nesting area as the chickens.]

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  #16  
Old 04/06/12, 07:09 AM
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duplicate .. sorry

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  #17  
Old 04/06/12, 07:21 AM
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OMG another duplicate ... sorry

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  #18  
Old 04/06/12, 07:21 AM
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We have 38 hens, 10 boxes, and they all lay in the same 3 or 4!
Feel bad for Dh, he put a lot of work into the boxes, looks like a condo for chickens. They just don't seem to appreciate it. Lol!

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  #19  
Old 04/06/12, 11:47 PM
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We set an old little plastic playhouse in the corner of our enclosure and all 5 of our hens use the same little nest they built in the middle

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  #20  
Old 07/13/13, 10:39 PM
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I have just 5 hens and I bought a 2 hole nest box from "thecarpentshop.net" and you might go there to get some more info from his page to help you in your design and specs.

I have had great results from mine. The hens always lay regularly but one hole seems to get more eggs so apparently they like to pick their favorite hole. Don't know why.

Hope this can help you

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