Category Archives: Fixtures and fittings

What you might find Inside a chicken coop (other than chickens) – roosts, nest boxes, feeders, dust baths etc.

Chicken Nest Boxes and Egg Baskets

President Grant's house is an important U.S. historical site for the backyard / small-farm chicken raising community.

Today - I want to show you a couple of things I thought were interesting there...

Most importantly -

The technologies have not changed a whole lot. Here is a picture of the egg baskets they used back then:

chicken egg baskets

Today, you can still find the same baskets, usually coated with a plastic coating so they're softer on the eggs but still able to dunk in water to clean the eggs. Today pricing starts at around $27 for a 6-inch high, by 8-inch wide - 3 dozen egg capacity sized basket.

Additionally, here's some shots of the raised nest boxes. There used to be several rows of the hens nesting boxes, but for now they just have the 3 nests remaining.

chicken nest boxes

more chicken nestboxes

This is the same basic design and size that is still recommended today :

  • About 1 cubic foot - (12-inches wide, by 12-inches tall, by 12-inches deep)
  • Raised off the ground about 24 inches
  • Front ledge piece to hold in the bedding material, and also provide a little more protection for the hen.

And I wanted to note a few things about this set-up, just in case you might be wondering:

  1. If your nesting boxes are at 24 inches high, it is recommended that your roosts always be higher than that. Chickens almost always roost in the highest spot they can find - they feel safer there. So if your roosts are at the same height, or below your nesting boxes - your chickens will roost in (and soil or dirty up) your nest boxes.
  2. There is no hidden latch or outside access to the nest boxes. You have to walk inside of the coop to gather the eggs. Many chicken house designers today swear by having outside, quick, and easy access to the nest boxes. You might keep that in mind when you are building your coop.

An Important Tip About Chicken Coop Roosts

Roosts - you don't want to build them one on top of the other.


Well.. See for yourself.

chickens on the roost

As you can see here, only the top dog (or chicken in this case), will be happy and healthy. This pecking order is not one you or your chickens want to live with...

SO... instead we recommend, that if you have roosts that are at different elevations, you stagger them - or stair-step them up - so that no roost is directly above another one (it should look like a ladder leaning against a building). A recommended spacing between each roost is at least 12 inches, if not 18 inches.

Another option (beside the stair-step design), is to put all the roosts parallel, or on the same level. This can also cause less pecking order problems between your chicks. If you only have 2 chickens this would be pretty easy... even in a small coop you could just have 1 bar for both chooks to roost on. On the other hand, if you have several chickens, you might also need several roost poles. Or at least 1 long roost that they can all fit onto.

Also bear in mind that the higher your roosts are the more room you need to allow for your chickens to gently swoop down.

I hope you enjoyed this quick little chicken coop tip.