chicken nest boxes, How many-how big

billc-2007May 15, 2008

I have six hens. four Delawares and two barred rocks. I am wondering how big to make the nest boxes 16"X16"X16 ie 14"X14X14 or somehting else. Is three boxes enouph for six hens? Thanks for you help. THis is the first time I have gotten chickens. They free range in the yard and garden area but sleep in the hen house at night which I biult. It has roosting boards and ladder to the roost but no nest boxes yet. They are about 4 months old and look almost full grown but just not fatten up yet. Thanks for any advice Bill C

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I would think for 6 hens, you wouldn't need more than two boxes, but they need to be attractive to the chickens. They like their nesting places to be fairly dark. The milk crate boxes are great if they are elevated off the floor and have plenty of cushonging on the bottom with hay and shredded pine.

Put a few golf balls in each to show them what the boxes are for and you shouldn't have a problem. If you need to darken them, you can just tape cardboard on the three sides that aren't open.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 12:38PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I agree, two would work but I'm sure if you want to make three they will use them! They don't need to be very large, 14 x 14 is fine. I get the impression that they like to feel confined when they're nesting. On the open side you should put something like a strip of lathe to hold the bedding in the box, and if they would otherwise be light, you might hang a curtain across the front to help keep it dark, leaving a bit of an opening so they'll get curious and go in.

And don't be surprised if all six want to lay in one box, two at a time! The flock mentality definitely leads them to follow-the-leader!


    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 4:10PM
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I wonder if there is a minimum size by breed. for instance I have the same question for cochnins and weyondettes

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 11:20PM
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I built a 6 compartment nest box(3 top and 3 bottom). My queston is how high should I mount it off the floor?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 3:28PM
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chelcass(Z5 Michigan, U.P.)

Mine are about 2 1/2 feet off the ground. Chickens can jump quite high, I have seen them jump 6' or more. My hens use the nests on the bottom the most.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:55PM
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