When chicken keepers go out to collect eggs, they head to gather them from their chickens’ nesting boxes.
If you’re planning a space for your chickens, you might wonder how many chickens per nesting box is appropriate.
A single nesting box can accommodate up to four chickens. A chicken keeper doesn’t need to provide a separate nesting box for every chicken in the coop. These birds can share their nesting materials and space.
Nesting boxes can help give your backyard chickens a safe and secure location to lay their eggs.
Keep reading, and we’ll look at exactly what you need to cater to your backyard flock.
How Many Chickens Per Nesting Box?
Luckily, you won’t have to worry about finding the space or materials to offer an exact match in your boxes per chicken ratio.
The total number of chicken boxes you’ll need will vary depending on the size of your flock of chickens.
Generally speaking, a single nesting box is suitable for about four standard chickens.
Your chickens can share this space easily because it’s simply where they lay their eggs.
This isn’t where you’re chickens are going to sleep, so you don’t necessarily need the same “one per chicken” approach.
On the other hand, you won’t want to overcrowd your chickens either.
Even though they can and will share to a certain extent, not providing enough nesting boxes can lead to conflict within the flock as hens fight for nesting materials and space.
As far as egg production is concerned, this increases the risk of breakage.
Chickens without space may fight and kill each other too; read more in our article at the link.
Can You Have Too Many Nesting Boxes?
If you have more nesting boxes, odds are your chickens will use the ones they need.
With enough boxes, your chickens may not share as much simply because they don’t have to.
More boxes usually mean more personal space for your chickens.
However, more nesting boxes take up more space and require more resources.
If you add more metal nesting boxes than you need, you’re using more space and nesting materials than you need, whether you’re using a spare metal or wooden nesting box or more.
It’ll also call for more upkeep as you must add more nesting boxes to your cleaning routine.
What Size Should a Nesting Box Be?
To properly accommodate your chickens, you need to make sure you have the proper chicken nesting box size.
So, you’ll need to grab your measuring tape before your pine shavings!
The size of your nesting box can depend on the breed of chicken you have as well.
Standard-sized chicken breeds like Leghorns must be 12″ inches deep and 12″ inches wide.
If you have larger birds like a Jacket Giant, they’ll need more room to move about.
Adding an extra 2″ inches to the depth of your box compared to a nesting box for a Leghorn can help offer this necessary extra bit of space.
Smaller breeds don’t require as much space in their nesting boxes.
If you have small backyard chickens like a bantam chicken, backyard farmers can get by with a nesting box of 12″ inches across and only 10″ inches deep.
Read more about whether or not chickens make their own nests in coops and in the wild.
Do Chickens Need a Ramp to Their Nesting Boxes?
When you install nesting boxes, location is important, and they don’t sit directly on the ground.
You don’t need them too high; for instance, nesting boxes don’t need to be quite as high as where your roosting bars start.
However, these boxes shouldn’t sit at ground level to protect your hen, their privacy, and their eggs.
Usual box locations are about 1.5′ to 2′ feet off the ground.
In general, when considering a ramp for any part of your chicken houses, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
- The breed of your chicken
- The size of your chicken
- The height of the nesting box
- Whether your chicken’s feathers are clipped or not
All of these factors play into whether your chicken can reach an area or not.
Usually, ramps in chicken coops are placed leading into the chicken coop if the entrance is 2′ feet off the ground or higher.
For larger breeds, this height is reduced to only 18″ inches.
This is because large-sized chickens will have a hard time navigating high obstacles.
By these rules, larger chickens may need ramps into their nesting boxes.
For the most part, these chicken nests don’t call for ramps.
How High Should Roosting Bars Be?
As mentioned, your chickens need their nesting boxes below roosting bars in suitable locations.
This is because the higher areas are where your chickens will flit for a rest rather than lay their eggs.
However, how tall do the roosting bars for your chickens need to be compared to your nesting boxes?
At the very least, your chicken roosts should be 18″ inches off the coop floor.
At the highest, conversely, some backyard chicken enthusiasts can place these roosting bars 18″ inches down from the ceiling of your chicken coop.
This will partly come down to how agile your chickens are, which can relate to various factors, including age and breed.
More agile birds can have higher roosting bars, while birds who are particularly poor flyers, even chickens, will need roosting bars lower to the ground.
Does a Nesting Box Need a Roof?
This depends on the personal choice of the farmer.
However, your chickens will likely feel safer and more secure with a roof over their head.
Ultimately, there’s likely to be a roof over your chicken’s head anyway.
This is because chicken nests boxes are usually placed in the coop, giving them a roof over their heads anyways.
Either way, as the name suggests, chicken nests in a coop are usually called nesting boxes for a reason.
As the name suggests, these chicken nests are usually enclosed boxes for chickens with an opening in the front.
This design naturally gives them a roof for extra security.
In all, your chickens don’t necessarily need a box design with a roof, but this classic design gives your chickens a bit of extra security and comfort.