5 1/2 week old chicks sleeping in nesting box


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jan 5, 2009
Any problems with them sleeping in the nesting box? It's their second night in the coop and I went to check on them and found half of them sleeping in the nesting box. It's cute but I don't want them thinking that's the sleeping bunk and laying eggs elsewhere.

BTW these are my first chickens... Doing well so far, they even went right into the coop on the first night...

you'll end up with a lot of extra cleaning if the start sleeping there. i'm keeping mine out of the nest boxes with some chicken wire until they are starting to lay.

if the boxes are higher than the perches, they'll try to roost there over the perch.
Mine did that for about a week until they started roosting. It's just safer down lower so they are probably sleeping there. They will get more confident and start roosting soon. My 9wk olds just started yesterday. My 13 week olds just started about three weeks ago too doing it consistently. Prior to that, I would only catch maybe 4-5 roosting and the rest in the nestboxes. Now they all roost all night!
When I got my first chicks last spring I read somewhere to put empty milk jugs in the nesting boxes at night to keep them out. That way they learn they're not for sleeping. My boxes have tops so I'm not sure that would work with your boxes. They might just sleep on top of the milk jugs. Also we picked them up and set them on the roosts until they got the idea. It didn't take long.
Well I just finished the coop and only have one temporary roost in there and it's lower then the nesting box. Guess building proper roost is my next task...

As for milk jugs I think they would work. The nesting box sits on the side of the coop with a roof/lid that can be lifted from outside to collect eggs so there wouldn't be any room for them to get on top of the jugs. I'll have to try that or just wire to make them off limits. I think they are just trying to find a comfortable and safe spot. The first night they were scattered around the coop and started complaining when the light went out; it's on a timer. It's the first time they've been in the dark as I used a 100w light in the brooder. They settled down after a bit and tonight they were quiet as church mice.

Here's an inside picture.


The ramp is temporary, just wanted to make sure they could get out ok. The coop's set up for DLM. I don't know if I'll get a year out of litter with a small 4x6 coop but 3-6 months would suit me fine. 6 months is really my goal.
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I would take away the ramp to discourage them from sleeping there and place them on the roost nightly. My babies were like that when I first got them, I just moved them. Then when my new ones went out in the coop, most of them slept on the roosts but two have been trying to sleep in the nest boxes. I move the two other babies now.
Your pop door is in a bad location . Having a ramp for them to get in & out of the coop is a good thing. The way you have positioned the door right next to the boxes makes it easy for them to jump into the box's. Put the roost on the opposite end away from the boxes & make the roost higher than the boxes. I wouldn't close the boxes. Their young birds & their very curious at that age. My young birds always check everything out. Put some fake eggs in the boxes. They will get in the boxes & scratch around that's what they do. But they will learn that this is where we lay the eggs. That's what you want.
Fake eggs... I like that.

As for the pop door - I basically tried to stuff 10lbs of poo into a 5lb coop...

The plan was to remove the ramp pretty soon, I just want to make sure they know where the door is.

As for roosts I'm planning a ladder type with the upper roost higher then the nesting box so that should solve that problem. It sounds like it's not that bad as they're just sleeping on the edge and not in the box itself so they're probably just looking for the highest roost.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

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