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What to do about chickens roosting and pooping in the nests

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello,

I put a homemade box with 3 nests with a roosting bar across the front so they can step from that into the nest. The barred rocks have taken such a fancy to it that they use it to sit and roost overnight. In the morning the nests are full of poo. They are nearing 3 months old and the RIRs are about 2 months old and showing very little interest in the nesting boxes. There are also roosts with plenty of room for all (16 chickens in all; 8 of each).

Did I put the nesting box in too soon? What might I do to correc this behavior and encourage them to use the regular roosts over night.

Sfmac

post #2 of 23

Move the roosting bar out farther from the nests. Or remove it and put the roost away from the nest boxes.

It must be too close if they can leave droppings in the nest boxes.

post #3 of 23

Maybe build a ramp to your main roosting bar. We have an older BR hen who would roost on our nest boxes (they are on the ground due to our A frame coop). She faces inward as she roosts. Well today I built a ramp up to the lowest of the 2 roosting bars and sure enough she is on it sleeping on the lower one now. I was so happy with no more poo on the front of the nest box.

Craig, Chilisweet's husband.
Poo disposer and general chicken maintenance

::Eat::Sleep::Play Guitar::
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Craig, Chilisweet's husband.
Poo disposer and general chicken maintenance

::Eat::Sleep::Play Guitar::
Reply
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

Likely the roosting bar is too close. I will adjust that, but it seems I need to clarify. Some of the BRs are roosting on the bar overnigh but some are actually settlng down in the nests and leaving their poo.

I wonder if I put the nesting box in too soon?

Would it be sensible to remove the nesting box altogether for a few more weeks? It's not likely any of them will start laying for at least another month and hopefully by the time I return it to the hen house they will have taken up the habit of using the regular roosts?
I have three roosting bars on the opposite wall with more than enough room for 16 hens since I put them in planning ahead for 8-10 more hens next spring.

sfmac

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmac 

Hello,

I put a homemade box with 3 nests with a roosting bar across the front so they can step from that into the nest. The barred rocks have taken such a fancy to it that they use it to sit and roost overnight. In the morning the nests are full of poo. They are nearing 3 months old and the RIRs are about 2 months old and showing very little interest in the nesting boxes. There are also roosts with plenty of room for all (16 chickens in all; 8 of each).

Did I put the nesting box in too soon? What might I do to correc this behavior and encourage them to use the regular roosts over night.

Sfmac


I have  8  nesting boxes  across one side of  the coop  .  I  put  pine shavings  and   2  golf balls inside  each  nesting box    the roosting  area is on totally opposite  side of the coop .   they  do not  poop  in their  nest  at all .

Thanks : 

  Liz
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Thanks : 

  Liz
Reply
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmac 

Hello,

I put a homemade box with 3 nests with a roosting bar across the front so they can step from that into the nest. The barred rocks have taken such a fancy to it that they use it to sit and roost overnight. In the morning the nests are full of poo. They are nearing 3 months old and the RIRs are about 2 months old and showing very little interest in the nesting boxes. There are also roosts with plenty of room for all (16 chickens in all; 8 of each).

Did I put the nesting box in too soon? What might I do to correc this behavior and encourage them to use the regular roosts over night.

Sfmac


how high are your roosts and how high are your nest boxes. putting the boxes lower than the roosts is a good first step. another one is to make the perch outside the nest boxes too small to be comfortable, maybe a 1.5" dowel or something else that's no fun to grip while sleeping. also, as someone above said, it sounds like you might want to move your perches out a bit. that way, even if all your other adjustments don't work, the poop will at least fall on the floor instead of in the nests.


Edited by ravenfeathers - 8/23/08 at 8:34am
libra, provocateuse, mother, vegan, mother, aesthete, nerd, socialist, pacifist, iconist, opinionatrix, animal lover, atheist, birder, know-it-all

the story of my life so far with chicken(s)
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libra, provocateuse, mother, vegan, mother, aesthete, nerd, socialist, pacifist, iconist, opinionatrix, animal lover, atheist, birder, know-it-all

the story of my life so far with chicken(s)
Reply
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmac 

Likely the roosting bar is too close. I will adjust that, but it seems I need to clarify. Some of the BRs are roosting on the bar overnigh but some are actually settlng down in the nests and leaving their poo.

I wonder if I put the nesting box in too soon?

Would it be sensible to remove the nesting box altogether for a few more weeks? It's not likely any of them will start laying for at least another month and hopefully by the time I return it to the hen house they will have taken up the habit of using the regular roosts?
I have three roosting bars on the opposite wall with more than enough room for 16 hens since I put them in planning ahead for 8-10 more hens next spring. sfmac


Distruptions in the hen house can stress the chickens. Even something as simple as removing the nest boxes can upset the flock and delay/postpone laying.

I would leave the nest boxes up.  Try putting fake eggs in the nest boxes now so the ladies get the idea. And everytime you see one sleeping in the nest box, pick it up and put it on a roost farthest away from the nest boxes.

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfeathers 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunlizz 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmac 

Hello,

I put a homemade box with 3 nests with a roosting bar across the front so they can step from that into the nest. The barred rocks have taken such a fancy to it that they use it to sit and roost overnight. In the morning the nests are full of poo. They are nearing 3 months old and the RIRs are about 2 months old and showing very little interest in the nesting boxes. There are also roosts with plenty of room for all (16 chickens in all; 8 of each).

Did I put the nesting box in too soon? What might I do to correc this behavior and encourage them to use the regular roosts over night.

Sfmac


I have  8  nesting boxes  across one side of  the coop  .  I  put  pine shavings  and   2  golf balls inside  each  nesting box    the roosting  area is on totally opposite  side of the coop .   they  do not  poop  in their  nest  at all .


how high are your roosts and how high are your nest boxes. putting the boxes lower than the roosts is a good first step. another one is to make the perch outside the nest boxes too small to be comfortable, maybe a 1.5" dowel or something else that's no fun to grip while sleeping. also, as someone above said, it sounds like you might want to move your perches out a bit. that way, even if all your other adjustments don't work, the poop will at least fall on the floor instead of in the nests.


my nesting boxes are all on the floor  ,  side by side  .   BUT  Roosting area is across the  coop  ....   DH  built them  a roost  that is 8 ft.  high  ,  looks like a trellis  made out of 2x4's .   they  love it .

Thanks : 

  Liz
Reply
Thanks : 

  Liz
Reply
post #9 of 23

I had this problem too.  The nest boxes were NASTY!  My girls aren't old enough to lay yet, so I cut up feed bags and stapled them over the nest boxes for now so they'll learn to roost where they're supposed to!  I also used an old saw horse and built MORE roosts on it just to be sure they all had enough room.  You should have seen them last night... They wanted their bedrooms back!!  But, I'll have nice clean nest boxes and when they get older I'll uncover them and hope they like roosting on the roosts by then!

Owned by one Chihuahua, an ornery little parrot and a GIANT black cat.  Hoping to get a few laying hens this spring to re-start my chicken adventures on a smaller scale (for now).


Check out my chicken blog! http://kellygwensfarm.blogspot.com/
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Owned by one Chihuahua, an ornery little parrot and a GIANT black cat.  Hoping to get a few laying hens this spring to re-start my chicken adventures on a smaller scale (for now).


Check out my chicken blog! http://kellygwensfarm.blogspot.com/
Reply
post #10 of 23

It is in most chickens nature to roost as high as possible.  The exception seens to be in silkies...and I won't go there smile

I for years used my nesting boxes for a dual purpose.  The nest were located at the bottom of the roosting poll just high enough for the chickens to fly up onto them and then go higher from roosting pole to the higher roosting pole.

Roosting time at night is a trama for any chicken that is low in the pecking order.  The ones higher up get to roost higher up and they peck at the others that roost lower.  It's very important to make sure there is enough room between each roosting pole where they ones higher can not reach the ones lower. 

Most likely, when they first began to roost, they settled down in the nest because that is where they were located when they felt like they sould be settled, and they have come to see this place as their roosting sight.  If you do not want to move the nest to another location, then go down 2 or 3 days  when you can just see how to move them, and place them as high up on the roosting pole as possible.  You  might even have to do this for a week.  But one night you'll go down and they will all be up!

Chickens are trainable!

Virginia is for Lovers!
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Virginia is for Lovers!
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