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Chicken's pooping in nests

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickartforever, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. So we have four chickens, and they are around two to three years old. A little while ago our chickens started to poop in the nests. It's really frustrating. Any idea's on how to make them stop?

  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Sorry, I just can't resist teasing you just a tiny little bit... let them eat it! There, now I've got that out of my system! Are they sleeping in the nest boxes? That's the most frequent cause of poo in the nest boxes. I'd suggest that you block the next boxes off late afternoon, and open them up again in early morning.
  3. Ok. We usually close the doors of the coop after the chickens have been to the nest box once each. What's confusing is they all end up on the perch at night. So I know they aren't sleeping in them. Could it be that I'm not letting them out early enough?
  4. They do poop as they get ready to lay an egg, after they lay an egg....Are you sure no one hops off the roost to sleep?

    I clean my nests out once a month...Some poop but nothing to bother me.......

    Blocking the nests after laying will help......

  5. Thanks. We really have no idea what they are doing. Checked last night and all chickens were on the perch.Going to try to find out.
  6. I am sure it will be an easy fix.....

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for the advice!

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You’ve eliminated them sleeping in the nests which is a huge help. Do you only have the four hens? Have the numbers or flock make-up changed recently? That could affect the pecking order which could be important.

    How long has this been going on? Is it a new behavior? How consistent is it? Every day without fail or every once in a while? Are you seeing large volumes of poop or just a bit on the egg? If you can tell differences in the eggs and which hen lays it, is it the same hen?

    You imply you don’t let them out very early, what does that mean relative to when the sun come up?

    If this is a recent development, what has recently changed? Is weather keeping them in the coop more than normal or have you adjusted letting them out so they are spending more time in the coop during the day?

    Broody hens and hens laying eggs instinctively know to not poop in the nests. But a hen that is not in the act of laying an egg doesn’t really care, she’ll poop anywhere she happens to be. If something has changed so they are spending more time in the coop maybe one or more likes goofing off in a nest when she is not laying.

    If you have changed the flock make-up recently there could be pecking order issues. I see this a lot when I’m integrating younger chickens. The weaker hide from or avoid the stronger. Usually this means the younger ones are on the roosts when the older ones are on the floor. Or they hide under my nests which are quite low. But sometimes they hide in the nests, just to avoid the adults.

    The egg and poop both come out of the vent. When a hen lays an egg the plumbing the egg comes in protrudes a little outside the vent to protect the egg from coming in contact with poop. Not very far but a little. That’s why the eggs are normally so clean. But over the years I’ve had a couple of hens that did not get that right. An occasional oops can happen but for some reason certain hens’ eggs often had a dab of poop on them, fairly consistently. I don’t know if that part didn’t protrude enough or if something about it squeezed a dab of poop out. That was frustrating, it did not happen every time and it was very difficult to determine which hen it was.

    As some of us that have been around several decades know, our body changes as we age. Your hens aren’t really that old, it should not be this if it has recently started. But it is a possibility.

    Are any of your hens acting sick? Basically are they fluffed up and acting lethargic? A sick hen may try to hide. A nest would be a logical place.

    Is one of your hens in a heavy molt? Usually it’s not a factor but I’ve had hens in a real heavy molt, almost bare, act kind of lethargic and want to stay on the roosts or away from the other chickens. They act like they don’t feel good. Sometimes they lose status in the pecking order, instead of sleeping in a normally preferred location they move to a less desirable place on the roosts.

    There are lots of things that could have an effect on this, I’m sure I’m omitting several. Most of these things will probably be temporary. What has changed to alter normal behavior?

    Good luck figuring this out, a lot of times it’s not easy.
  9. You lost me totally this time............Simple fix is block off the boxes over night.....

  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Read post #3. They are not sleeping in the nests.

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