Big Coop with plenty of Space but...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JayJayAre, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. JayJayAre

    JayJayAre Hatching

    Oct 5, 2011
    Hi y'all,

    I have ten 16 week old hens of various heavy breeds. Up until recently I had them in a small tractor type chicken coop
    out on the lawn with a small run. Knowing they needed more room I upgraded to a large coop with 4 nesting
    boxes and a huge 200 sq/ft run. So my family and I were super stoked about being able to give our chickens
    all this space to hang out and sleep.

    The problem? At night all ten of our girls are cramming themselves into two of the nesting boxes to sleep.
    So five heavy breed chickens literally stacked two high in a 14"x12"x12" nesting box. They sit on their roost intermittently
    during the day and they are outside most of the day unless its too sunny or warm...and the nights aren't very cold.

    Is there any way to discourage them from sleeping so many in one nesting box? Is there something i should do to
    make the rest of the coop more attractive for sleeping?

    thanks in advance.
  2. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    At 16 weeks, they're still a few weeks from laying, probably. I'd close off the nest boxes for a couple weeks until they get accustomed to sleeping elsewhere. You don't want them getting into that habit because when they start laying, the eggs will get poop on them if they're sleeping in the nest boxes.
  3. the Pollo Loco

    the Pollo Loco Songster

    May 27, 2009
    Santa Cruz,CA
    since they are not laying yet, I would find a way to prevent them from even getting in the nesting boxes and have them get accustomed to resting on the perches, then when they do start laying, make the nesting boxes accessible to them... my 2 cents...
  4. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen

    May 18, 2011
    I would maybe block the nesting boxes off. They are too young for them it sounds like. The first time I put the coop up and the nest boxes at about the same time and they used the nest boxes too, but now they go in the coop. I did not block it off because they were laying age. I did lock them in the coop overnight a few times.

    That was my first set up pullets. The second set I put the coop up and encouraged them with treats into the coop. Eventually they caught on and now use the coop. THEN I put up the nesting box. Just hoping they will figure that one out soon [​IMG] Good luck!
  5. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Songster

    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    as the others have said, block off the nest boxes so they cannot access them- then at night move them to the roost, it may take several nights of placing them on the roost (with the boxes blocked) until they start roosting on their own. Good luck!
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Make sure your roosts are set higher than your nest boxes in the coop...the higher the better with a nice access ladder to them. Birds will naturally roost at the highest point in the coop. You might have to place them on the roosts a few nights but they will eventually get the concept.

    Here's another tip....if ten heavy breed chickens of 4 mo. of age can fit into one of your nest boxes, they might be just a little too spacious. Chickens like a snug, private place to lay, if possible. Raise your roosts, decrease your nests, train the birds to the will all happen eventually with the right setup.
  7. florida lee

    florida lee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    BeeKissed made all my points, well said.
  8. JayJayAre

    JayJayAre Hatching

    Oct 5, 2011
    Okay so i rigged it where they can look into the nesting boxes but cant get in. Just so they can be inspired by the nests and the golf balls. LOL. And 8 girls are using the perches at night when i looked so im hoping all of them are taking advantage of it. Thanks you guys!!!

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