How Many Nesting Boxes do your Chickies Need?
I get this question all the time...if I have 4 birds or 6 birds or 10 birds...how many nesting boxes do I need?
When I first started with chickies, I did not know either. The first coop we built we called the chicken condo. It was gorgeous (we still have it and use it). It was easy to clean, walk in, automatic chicken door, roosts that lifted up for easy cleaning, windows and .... 10 nesting boxes!
The nesting boxes were perfect, cozy little areas where each hen could luxuriate in the sweet smell of pine shavings, lavender and herbs while she laid her precious egg.
Will that be enough nesting boxes, asked my husband. We had 16 hens at the time. I hope so, I said. Perhaps they will take turns and they probably don't all lay at the same time.
We moved the chickies in to their new palace, the Chicken Condo, and the next day we excitedly went out to see if we had any eggs. Opening the nesting box lid, we were shocked to see 3 full size hens jammed into one nesting box with a 4th pacing on the wood rail outside wanting to get in. We quickly learned, that if one hen thinks a box is perfect for an egg, the others all want to lay in the same box.
We have had the coop for over a decade now. No matter how many chickens we have in it (right now there are about 20ish), they always only lay in 3 out of the 10 boxes. Those 3 boxes can change, (especially if we move around the eggs), but never more than 3.
Today I went out to what I call my 'super sweet bantam coop'. It is filled with Silkies, Polish, D'uccles, Cochins, Crèvecoeurs, both hens and roosters, and one Splash Laced Red Wyandotte hen. Opening the nesting box lid...what did I find? Well, I went back to the house to grab my phone so I could get a video for you. A few nesting boxes empty, some with eggs, but most with 3-4 bantams squeezed in there with no extra room at all for the one pacing waiting for that box. Chickies are so fun and funny. When you are planning out your coop, just keep in mind, 2-3 chickens sharing one nesting box is normal.