The hens will be loose during the day when I am here. They will be locked in at night to keep safe from critters, through midmorning and let out around 10 am each day. The hens I had years ago used to go in on their own each night to roost, but I can't remember if I had to teach them that or if they did it on their own. My dogs are herders and were started on chickens so I figure I can use them to give me a hand if the chickens don't want to go back in the coop! (the dogs will never have unsupervised access to the chickens, though, dogs have their own fenced backyard and the chickens are on the front/side of the property).
But I had a question about nest boxes, because I honestly can't remember. I salvaged the old nest boxes from the old henhouse, and added another row of them, so that gives me a total of 18 boxes. I can add more if needed, but I don't need to do I? I don't need to have the same number of boxes as I have chickens right, they are somewhat communal about it? I don't think I had but maybe 10 boxes with my chickens before, but I know sometimes they would lay on the henhouse floor.