Choosing a nest box for your chicken coop is an important decision to make. There are quite a few choices these days from the nest box built into the coop, DIY nest box and of course various types of nest boxes that can be purchased. If you are able, it is great to invest in a roll out nest box.
A good roll out nest box eliminates broken, eaten or dirty eggs, offers very easy collection, and solves the problem of broody hens when you don't want them.
There are a couple of choices within the roll away nest box:
-Individual nest or hole nest boxes as pictured just above or the
- Communal nest box as shown below
A communal nest box means one large open space for hens to lay their eggs. The big advantage of a communal nest box is that it can support a lot of laying hens at one time. For example with a 4ft width a communal nest box can handle 60-70 hens. Larger operations with several hundred to several thousand hens or more often prefer the communal nest box as it offers the most bang for the buck.
There are a few key disadvantages to the communal nest box that you should keep in mind such as
-Less privacy and crowding causing undo stress
-Usually outfitted with nesting pads on the floor inside the box creates an attractive place to roost and spend the night meaning a lot of poop so they become incredibly dirty in a short amount of time.
For the backyard chicken coop and even larger farms that want to provide more privacy and a stress free environment the individual hole roll out nest box system is the way to go. As a rule of thumb, "one hole" or nest can support up to 5 laying hens. So for example a "3 Hole" Roll Away nest box will support up to 15 hens. Urban-Egg offers the following sizes to meet any need:
Another advantage of the roll out nest box is that when you do want a broody hen to sit on some eggs, simply remove the black nest insert, putting bedding down on the floor of the hole. Once the hen is finished, simply clean out the hole and re-insert the roll out nest insert. This functionality is not possible in a communal nest.