NEST BOX DESIGNS FOR OUTDOOR PENS / SINGLE MATINGS

Posted by: Theropod

NEST BOX DESIGNS FOR OUTDOOR PENS / SINGLE MATINGS - 12/29/13 07:26 AM

Any effective nest box designs out there? I intend to up grade making 36 new nests, each for a different pen. I have a couple designs that work OK but are either heavy or hard to clean. A key concern I have is keeping rain and direct sun off eggs. Eggs to be hen hatched.
Posted by: CJR

Re: NEST BOX DESIGNS FOR OUTDOOR PENS / SINGLE MATINGS - 12/29/13 01:53 PM

If you have a roof over them, you could use cardboard boxes for nests (hole in the side, so they have a top). I never use wooden boxes, that can harbour mites and are hard to clean. After a hen sets and hatches, they can be shelter on the ground for the chicks until feathered, then dumped and new ones provided for laying again.
Posted by: Theropod

Re: NEST BOX DESIGNS FOR OUTDOOR PENS / SINGLE MATINGS - 12/31/13 07:59 AM

Pens used for breeding are 4' x 4' and 4' x 5' with covers set to block direct sun from 1000 to 1600. Covers are not reliable for protection against rain. Wood is used on one of the favored designs but only as the cover. Most components are plastic, at least with respect to actual nest and one I really like owing to weight are milk crates. Biggest limitation with milk crates is tendency for eggs to get displaced from nest. Last year coop wire was used to form a nest but basin too deep for hens to roll eggs properly. I have found hatch rate is better when eggs are in contact with almost dry soil so want nest to be able to contain that as well. It is interesting to note not all soil types are equal in promoting hatch.

Nest already used to for roost until broods about 5 to 6 weeks post-hatch. This helps with keeping broods separate at least at night owing to free-range keeping.
Posted by: Theropod

Re: NEST BOX DESIGNS FOR OUTDOOR PENS / SINGLE MATINGS - 12/31/13 04:09 PM

Four types of nest boxes used over last couple of seasons.


Preferred hands down is on left which has two plastic tubs (inner 1/3 filled with soil) and plywood top. It is also most expensive. Second has egg escapement issues which can be resolved by linining with plywood or shingles. Buckets the hens tend to kick soil out and hatches are not good when temperatures are extreme. Last is simply milk crate with chicken wire intended to keep eggs from rolling out. Hens could not roll eggs properly with that arrangment.