Arguing over nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Phisch, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. Phisch

    Phisch Chirping

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    Our girls (12 layers) are spoiled with 5 nesting boxes. They have privacy and lots of straw, three of the boxes have fake eggs to help cue them. A couple of weeks ago, they mostly used four of the boxes though they'd still argue a little when a favorite box was occupied.

    Because the babies in the flock, 2- and 4month olds, were sleeping in the nesting boxes, we made some changes we hoped would discourage that sleeping habit because there was too much poop in the boxes in the morning.

    The changes didn't work as well as we wanted but it did help some. But the hens have decided they have *one* favorite box and like to argue over it. A lot. They have clean straw, they have the fake eggs and we even added privacy curtains. The one favorite box is only different in that it's a grey plastic milk crate instead of black.

    What on earth could be the reason for their weirdness? What could we be missing that they want?
     
  2. Henry&Friends

    Henry&Friends Songster

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    One nesting box will always be supreme over the others. They will figure it out amongst each other— some birds will wait in line, and some will use other boxes, and some will pile on top of each other in the box. As long as they’re not pulling feathers or breaking eggs, they’re alright.
     
  3. Phisch

    Phisch Chirping

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    Pulling feathers has happened. How do we stop that?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    How long ago did you make the changes of new straw and curtains?
    Pics of nests would help here.

    Why not...what did you try?
    Do you have enough separate from main roosts for the youngers to use?
     
  5. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    They do have favorite boxes, that’s for sure. We have 2 roomy nest boxes, nice and private, and they both get used, and they can easily fit 2 hens comfortably in each of them - we did that to try to alleviate the “favorite” fighting. Then we have two Kitty litter buckets-on their sides (tall side up so they can stand). As you know, kitty litter boxes are not wide, but will comfortably fit a regular to small sized hen. Yes, it is the kitty litter box that is the fave of several girls. We have come in to find one hen peacefully on top of another in the kitty box .... we have come in to find zoned out broody hen with another hen on top, and a new egg underneath... really seems uncomfortable, but they make it work, and oddly don’t seem to fight about the kitty boxes. However, in the roomy and private Boxes... there can be growling and some mild disagreements between some girls.
     
    Willowspirit and igorsMistress like this.
  6. Phisch

    Phisch Chirping

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    We doubled the amount of roosting space, if not more. Photo of nesting boxes is below. This is how they were to begin with, then we tried setting them so the opening is sideways but with a bar across the front to keep the straw inside. The youngsters still slept and pooped into the boxes so we flipped them back up.

    50AB5C01-30B9-4423-A2ED-6061BFE3C56C.jpeg
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Covering the nests at roost time is about the only way to keep birds from sleeping in nests.
    But adequate roost space is essential too.
    How much roost length do you have?
    How many youngsters do you have?
    Having separate roost for the youngsters can help immensely.
     
  8. Phisch

    Phisch Chirping

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    We have 18’ of roosting area for 35 birds which is a lot. We move the youngsters to roost every night. I guess we will just have to and make sure we have adequate straw for them.
     
  9. Phisch

    Phisch Chirping

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    I just really don’t like that they fight over the middle box and only one out of six Easter egggers is laying!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    How many feet of actual roost length?
    Pics?
    Looks like you have a nice hoop coop...would love to see more of it.
     

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