Chickens pooping in nesting box

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jeepers210, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. jeepers210

    jeepers210 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Hanover PA
    I purchased a coop from ebay for $150.00 a few weeks ago and purchased two egg laying red sex links from a farmer down the street. The coop is small but it said it could handle 3-4 birds. Those birds were laying an egg a day each. I have a 6ft fence around the coop roughly 25'X 25'. Then I thought I'll get another one since this is so much fun. The farmer sold me his last sex link currently laying and gave me two imature mixed ones free. Since adding the three new girls I am still only getting two eggs a day and the two imature hens wont go into the coop at all because they are intimidated. So...here is the real questions- will the imature hens ever come inside my coop to lay and also why do I have to scoop poop out of the nesting boxes every day? Is that normal? Do I have a crappy coop or is it the birds. I am starting wonder if this is for me. Im not sure what Im doing!!
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    First of all, you can never go by what someone selling a coop says the coop will hold...they always overstate. A good rule of thumb is 4 square feet per bird in the coop plus 10 square feet per bird in the run.

    Chickens actually have a quite complex social order. What you've done is forced two groups of birds that are strangers to each other to suddenly live together. Of course they're unsettled. You'd be pretty unsettled if a family of strangers moved into your house all of a sudden, too! Usually what's recommended is that you quarantine new birds (house them separately from your existing flock) for a month, so you can watch for any diseases/parasites. After that month, you pen the new birds next to the established ones so they can come to recognize them without being able to attack them. This "getting to know you" can go on for a week or two. If all seems OK, then you integrate into the same pen, watching carefully for problems.

    The new hen who's not laying may take a while to get used to her new situation. Stress depresses laying, and it's very common for hens to stop laying for a while when they move to a new home.

    The other factor here is the juvenile birds. You don't mention how old they are, but usually older hens will be very vindictive towards younger ones. Usually it's recommended not even to mix two different age groups until the younger birds are almost as big as the adult hens...close to being fully grown, in other words. Some of the older birds are probably preventing the younger hens from even going into the coop. Do watch to make sure that everyone is able to eat and drink. Sometimes established birds will prevent new ones from getting to food and water.

    Pooping in the nestbox is usually solved by making sure the roost is higher than the nestboxes. If that doesn't work, you can block the nestboxes off at night.
     
  3. jeepers210

    jeepers210 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 21, 2010
    Hanover PA
    This helps a lot. I should have researched it a bit more. I have noticed that the older hens let the younger ones eat and drink but not enter the coop. The younger hens I was told were born in April. I wonder if they will ever be allowed to enter the coop?
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    I have three hens I raised from chicks last spring, and six pullets hatched this spring that are just coming to the age of laying. I noticed that one of the older hens has been trying to keep the one younger pullet who has just started laying away from the nestbox. It's like she's jealous of the prime laying spots. Right now, I have the flock split during the daytime in two separate pens, so the younger girls aren't getting bullied, but everyone roosts in the same coop at night. Since I have portable nestboxes, I can make sure the younger hens have free access to nesting spots during the day.

    One problem may be that your coop doesn't have enough roost space. Figure on 1 foot of roost width per chicken, and even more than that wouldn't hurt. If you have plenty of roost space, and the older hens are still intimidating the younger ones from entering the coop, you could try putting the younger ones on the roost after dark. Sometimes that helps.

    Good luck! The more I learn about chickens, the more fascinating I find them. It's like a living soap opera, right in your own back yard.
     
  5. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    Seems like they've covered it all. [​IMG] and don't forget to have fun with them.
     

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