Chicken Coops, Nest Boxes and Fresh Eggs

15 hole simple nest boxes

Make mine an omelet. Unless you have a large family or you are trying to feed all  your neighbors, you do not need as many laying hens as most people think they do.

Todays families it seems can never find time to all set down as a family for a hot home cooked breakfast. Unlike my early days being raised on a small farm. In those days everyone was seated the kitchen table at 6AM and we had one of mothers hot good tasting and good for you breakfast consisting of fresh eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, biscuits and gravy. When in season we had a special treat of home fried fresh dug potato’s with bell pepper and onions.

In those days each person eat 2 eggs a day, 12 to 14 eggs a week. I don’t think most families of 4 will eat a dozen eggs a week now days. Our kitchen had to seat 7 kids, mom, dad as well as grandma and grandpa. With 11 hungry people we eat 2 dozen eggs a day. This required a rather large flock of hens. We aways had 50 or more hens roaming around the homestead.

Fast forward to 2010. Year round you can expect to get one and a half eggs every other day per hen, providing you with about 4 or 5 eggs per week per hen. If your family eats 1 dozen eggs or less per week then you only need 2 or at most 3 hens to provide all the eggs you will eat.

4 hole simple nest box

Brown eggs are better than white eggs. Thats a myth. The only difference in a white egg or a brown egg is the breed of hen you have, some are brown layers others are white egg layers. In general white layers are better layers than brown layers. Most duel purpose hens, that is hens raised for both meat and eggs, lay brown eggs. White egg layers are generally more productive but are poor meat birds.

What breed is best for you? This is not an endorsement but McMurray Hatchery has many pictures and a lot of very useful information on many chicken breeds that will help you decide what breed is best suited for your needs, facilities and climate.

I require few birds every year so I am willing to pay a bit of a premium price for sexed birds and purchase them from a local store {Atwoods Home, Farm and Ranch Store} as needed. I’m not concerned about what breed I have and always buy them when they are on clearance sale.  **By the way, if you don’t already know, you don’t need a rooster unless you plan to hatch a few replacement chicks.

Even with range raised hens it is very useful to provide them with supplemental high quality lay mash.  This supplemental feed provides all their required nutrition needs even when green and insect forage is in short supply.

Yea Old Nest Box. You will need a nest box for your hens, they really don’t like being out in the open when laying. It need not be fancy. The most important thing is to build and place the nest where it is easy for ‘you’ to collect eggs and clean out the box when replacing nesting materials.

I have used everything from 5 gallon plastic buckets on their side to larger more expensive factory build steel boxes. I’m getting older and now place nest boxes at a height easer for me to see into and collect eggs from them. The only real advantage of the metal boxes is they are easier to sterilize should you get a disease introduced into your flock.

News Flash: Salmonella Outbreak Leads to Egg Recall August 18, 2010
Health officials recall 380 million eggs after hundreds of people are sickened in a salmonella outbreak linked to eggs in three states.

Another good reason for keeping a small chicken flock and producing fresh, safe eggs for you and your family.

Why is Common Sense so Uncommon?
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24 responses to “Chicken Coops, Nest Boxes and Fresh Eggs

  1. Wonderful and informative article! We found to increase egg-laying turn on the winter lights. We keep our birds light 24-7. Also, be sure they have ample water because water is necessary to produce eggs. Egg production will always also depend on your breed of chicken. We have hatchery Jersey giants which are great production birds. They don’t stop laying in the winter and lay all year. They are a triple purpose bird which means for production, meat, and sustainability. They are a large chicken, mature slower than other breeds, but produce amazingly. They do consume more feed, but as a meat bird, you get a bigger carcass. They also take the heat pretty well and production only seems to slack if something causes stress which might indicate a predator has passed their coop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have my lights on a timer keeping the hen house light 16 hours a day by artificial light and natural sun light. My timer turns on about 3AM and off about 8AM(Saves electricity).
      Chickens won’t go to roost if the light turns off and the hen house suddenly go’s dark. Chickens don’t feel safe roosting on the ground(floor) of your hen house.
      I don’t recommend more than 16 hours a day lighting. Chickens need sound restful sleep as much as you and I.
      Good luck and Happy Gardening

      Liked by 1 person

      • The way it is set up on our coop, they can sleep in the darker boxes. The light does not actually light their entire palace, so it’s okay on the 24/7 for us and they rotate their spots pretty good.

        Someone asked if hens are noisy…yes they can be. They will give off a proclamation after laying an egg and can be as loud as a rooster, but both sounds are something you can grow accustomed to as you will learn what sounds they make when all is good and all goes bad. Some hens are actually pretty good at crowing like a rooster, but that seems to only happen when the flock is roosterless. Although I have heard that they can also turn transgender once they started the crowing. It’s a weird phenomena but happens none the less. Just a girl singing like a boy and I believe they may also quit laying if they do it after puberty. Only had one do it so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is not uncommon for the dominate hen to take up a roosters duty of defending the flock.

          Grin…. a clacking hen won’t wake up your neighbors at 3 or 4 in the morning like a rooster.

          Happy Gardening

          Liked by 1 person

    • Aaah yes, but for the crazy chicken owner, that sound is a good time to get up, start the day, grab a cuppa and a blog and relax because you know he is telling you all is well.


  2. That was and informative. I have a couple of questions. Are hens noisy? I mean would they disturb the neighbours? Do they attract foxes? Thanks. Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was interesting and informative. I have a couple of questions. Are hens noisy? I mean would they disturb the neighbours? Do they attract foxes? Thanks. Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • In general hens are a pretty quite group until they are threatened by some predator like a fox or large egg eating snake.
      It seems that every predator likes a easy to catch and kill fat hen.
      Yes dogs, foxes and weasels can be a real problem around your hen house.

      Good fencing of outside areas is a must, Chicken outside runs need to be wire covered to keep chicken eating predators out of your coop.

      Good luck and Happy Gardening


  4. I find it very informative. I am raising 400 hens now and have a difficult time choosing which nest box to use much more source one. The hens are located in an urban setting and are cage free. We feed them them lay crumble, some grains, and occassional manggo and moringa leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With 400 hens you will need a lot of nest boxes. Most chicken experts recommend an average of one nesting space per five birds. On the other end of the scale, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs advises a ratio of one nesting box to seven hens.
      Any way you add this up you will need about 50 to 80 nest boxes.
      The good news is chickens ate not picky about where they lay. I have attached a link for a site that may give you some ideas for getting/building cheap nest boxes.
      Good luck and Happy Gardening


  5. Very useful info. We would like to have a small flock next year but the decisions about which would be the best kind for us has been a bit confusing. I also like your nest box suggestions!


    • Re: Lloyd’s of Rochester – This is not an endorsement but McMurray Hatchery have many pictures and a lot of very useful information on many chicken breeds listed in their catalog and blog that will help you decide what breed is best suited for your needs, facilities and climate. Look for key words like quite, gentle, docile and non-setters.

      Grin, Heres to a happy, quite hen house


  6. I’ve enjoyed fresh (brown) eggs this season because we joined a crop share farm. Love them and all the produce. Chickens are so funny to watch! Thanks for all the great info.


  7. My favorite random factoid is on most occassions, you can tell what color eggs a hen lays by the color of their ears. White ears=white eggs. Red eggs=brown eggs. (Of course there are green/blue egg layers. Not sure the color of their ears!)


    • We have green egg layers ( Big hit at Easter) I’m not sure about the ears, but they look like they have a sort of beard of feathers around their beaks. Just an extra bit of fluffiness really, but I can spot future green layers soon after they get their feathers in.


  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog–glad to learn some useful home gardening and sustenance wisdom from you!


  9. what a find your blog is…vey interesting and informative, I dont have chooks myself bu have afriend who has some rescued battery hens (which i will blog about at some time……)so will pass this one onto her.. And thanks for liking mine


  10. We love the green/blue eggs we get from the Americanas. I know they all taste the same, but its great having a carton with white, brown and green! If you have a few too many hens friends love receiving farm fresh eggs.


    • Re: annmcferron
      Hello and thanks for your visit and comment(s).
      It has been a hard year on poultry. Long hot dry summer, so we have few mice, rats and rabbits for the predators to feed on this winter. Skunks and coyotes have taken a toll on my hen coop. Hens are over 2 years old, need to be replaced.. Grin.. I’m now down to mostly 1 turkey egg a day.

      Happy gardening


  11. I love your blog! You’re living my dream. And I did not know the difference in brown and white eggs were the difference in the breed. I’ve always wondered about that! So much information on here!!


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  13. Man who wears garden boots.

    That looks great, your site is very nice. Here in Dallas TX the hens are not very consistent with the 100 degree weather. I am glad when it gets cool the birds will be happy about that also.


    • Yes, I know what you mean I live near Lawton Ok and we have had something like 20 or 25 days in a row over 100. Rabbits won’t breed and chickens seem to saving up their egg supply.

      Thanks for visiting my humble little blog

      Liked by 1 person

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