Today we’re going to talk about nest boxes. We have ours mounted to the wall here in the coop they’re approximately two feet off the ground.
one to two feet is always good to hang your nest boxes so that they don’t kick shavings and things into the box and it gives them a little privacy up off the ground from the other hens when they’re laying their eggs
we have six nest boxes that we built ourselves. we looked online and got ideas and instead of ordering them online. we decided to build our own so my husband got some plywood and some boards and put together some nice nest boxes for us that I painted green
now the dimensions of your nest box will vary according to the size hens you have. I’ve always had standard size hens which means they’ll grow to full size they’re not bantams so the dimensions of each nest box is twelve by twelve and then about two feet tall
I would say and then the top roof of the box is sloped so that they won’t get up there and roost. I’ve never had an issue with them roosting in the boxes at night.
They always sleep right over here on the perches very nicely so I’ve seen where some people complain about their chickens pooping in the boxes because they roost at night but thankfully I’ve never had that issue
by putting your boxes only one to two feet off the ground and putting your perches that they sleep on much higher they’ll always go for the higher roost to sleep.
if your boxes are really high off the ground then they’ll think that that’s a good spot to sleep on so keep the box is always lower than your roosting perches
for nighttime sleeping looking at the boxes you’re going to see that there are eggs in each box while those eggs are ceramic eggs dummy eggs that I ordered online off of ebay
I’ve placed one egg in each box and that way when these girls start to lay it’s going to inspire them to lay in the boxes and give them a point of reference if you will on where to go to lay the eggs they will get in there
it’s their nature to kind of nestle the eggs. I’ve watched them and if you’ve ever seen yours, they will get in the box and before they start to lay they’ll kind of start to pretend to lay they’ll get in there and they’ll kind of hollow out the nest a little bit and if there’s an egg in there they’ll kind of push it underneath them and kind of nurture it a little bit
it’s all part of their instinctive act of being in the nest so then they’ll kind of get out of the nest and then it’s not time for them to lay yet but they’re kind of getting close to the point of lane so I put a ceramic egg in every nest and it looks like a real egg
it’s a little weightier than a real leg but I always make them white when I buy the artificial eggs because my hens will a green or brown eggs. I don’t have any hens that will lay white eggs so it will be easy for me to distinguish the fake egg from the real eggs
they do sell the artificial eggs in brown and I’ve seen where some people use golf balls painted Easter eggs. you know like the plastic colored Easter eggs. if you have success with those you can try it
I opted to use something that looks a lot more natural so I ordered the ceramic eggs online. I got some nice signs to put above the nest boxes and just for decoration and in addition to the signs I put my grandmother’s washboard they are too
so you could put some antique e-type things and just something decorative like that above your nest if you have a wall that you can hand them on having some nice nest boxes. It’s worth spending time to either build or buy proper nesting boxes for your hens
you’ll see online or hear different places that you only need one box for every three to four hens. I have seven hens and I opted to have six boxes
I’ve had times where four of the girls will get in there at once and I’d rather have too many nest boxes than too few
so technically if we were going by the rule for my seven hands, I would only have one nest box or two at the most probably two nest boxes. I felt like twos not enough so I just gave six nest boxes
and I feel better about it and they don’t have to crowd and stand in line waiting to lay an egg . if you have Bantam chickens you could do half the size nest boxes.
you don’t have to do the twelve by twelve you could probably do six by eight, six by six. You could do the twelve by twelve just to give them extra room but if they’re really small bantams , you won’t need that much room
and it’ll take up less space nesting material. I use hay that I get at the feed store. they sell it in bags instead of buying a whole Bale, I can get a bag of hay for a dollar
and I usually get two or three bags just to keep it on hand and the girls love it. Some people again they will use shavings pine shavings in the nest boxes.
I don’t like that because I use pine shavings on the bottom floor of the coop as you can see and I would rather break it up and not have the same thing in the nest boxes plus the hay is a little more natural to the hand
when they’re in the nest boxes lane, they pull the nesting material around them and on to their back and the hay you’ll notice they’ll just kind of bring it in closer to their body to feel more nestled and secure
and I like the hay for that reason as well and plus it’s easy to clean the nest boxes again my girls do not poop in the box the eggs that they lay stay very clean in the box
Another good reason to invest in setting up the right nesting area because your eggs will stay clean and then you do not have to wash the eggs to get poop or dirt off of them and that’s really important because eggs are coated with a natural film that the chickens body produces. it’s called a bloom and if you wash the egg, you’re taking that natural barrier off the egg
and eggs that are laid fresh like this, you do not have to refrigerate for up to two months. You can leave them out on your counter room temperature in a basket like I do for up to two months
You do not have to put them in the refrigerator if they’re laid fresh if they’re already refrigerated like from the store then you’re going to need to refrigerate them when you bring them home
but if they’re laid fresh you can keep them on the counter for up to two months our eggs never last two months so it’s really easy for us to go through the eggs in a week at most maybe two so they’re always fresh
and on the counter most people don’t know that that you don’t technically have to refrigerate eggs because you usually eat your eggs in less than two months.
it doesn’t take that long so it’s important to you know to give them a nest box where they can lay the eggs that will stay clean and by not washing that bloom off you’re preventing bacteria from getting into the egg and that keeps your egg a lot fresher
and it’s going to keep it tastier as well . Nothing better than a fresh natural egg for breakfast or dinner
My girls are 12 weeks old now and I’ve noticed that they’ve started to get up in in front of the nests and kind of just kind of look a little bit when they get to be four five months old they’re going to start to kind of jump onto the perch in front of the nest you always want to give them a place to stand so that they can choose which nest box they want to go into as I did above as well
and they will start to look into the nest and get inquisitive about the nest as they get closer and closer around anywhere from five to six months you could get your first egg
and then you’ll notice that they may get into the box and what I call play get in there and kind of move around and hollow out an area and I can kind of tell and then they’ll get out they were they’re not actually laying the egg.