I have a coop that is about 8'x10' with an attached run that is about 12'x16'
I have a roost that is about 6' long and about 3' off the ground in the coop. All food and water are oustide the coop.
I have 4 nesting boxes that are located about 12" off the ground and are under the roosting area. My thought was they would feel more secluded and perhaps that would encourage the chickens to use them.
Here's my problem, only 2 of our 8 hens are getting up on the roost at night. 5 of them get in the nest boxes and one likes to sleep on the floor of the coop.
I am planning on trying to block the nest boxes in late afternoon to take the option away from them. When i go in to shut the pop door in the evening, I place all of them up on the roost and they happily stay there til morning.
The other problem is I am finding eggs on the ground, either in the coop or the run. How do I encourage them to use the nest box for egg laying??
Basic background. These are Brown ISA hens that are about 12-13 months old. We have had them for about a week. They did use a roost previously at night. I have no idea about where they laid their eggs.
here's a picture showing the roost area over the nest boxes. The roost sits over a board that is about 2' deep and 6' long. You can also see the ramp for them to get up to the roost and next boxes.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Let me know if I'm on the wrong track of if I just have to keep doing what I'm doing until they figure it out.