My DH and I are having a disagreement and are looking for impartial opinions. Our 9 pullets (most about 8 weeks old, two about a month older) are roosting in their hen house at night, and playing in their run all day. There is a nest box opposite the roosts that is higher than the floor and lower than the roosts, but it has been closed off to them up to this point by a piece of wood. They've been in their house for about 3 weeks.
The "great debate," such as it is, is this: Do we remove the wood and let them get used to the nesting boxes, assuming that instinct will do its job, or do we keep the nests closed of until they are "of age" and avoid the issue of having them roost/poop there? If they sleep there now, will they keep sleeping their once they are all old enough to lay?
Here is a picture, just for reference. The girls are much larger now, of course, but the roosts are on the left (above the poop tray) and the nest boxes are on the right.