chickens roosting in nesting boxes--Help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Barnrat, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Barnrat

    Barnrat Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I have 3 RIR and 3 Leghorns, all 7 weeks old. They've been living in a temporary coop inside their 8x8 run, but at the end of the weekend were moved to their new 8x4 coop (now attached to the run) complete with a lovely roost, lots of pine shavings on the floor, and 2 nesting boxes. The first night they slept on the roost or on the floor, but the next night they all crammed into the 2 nesting boxes. I don't think I want them sleeping in the nesting boxes, so I put an empty plastic tub in one and created a temporary barrier of wood in the other, and tonight I found 2 stuffed in on top of the tub.

    Am I right in thinking that I should keep them from sleeping in the nesting boxes and if so, what's the best way to accomplish that?

  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    It is unnecessary for 7 week old pullets to have nest boxes. If you can remove or completely close them off, it would be best. Your plastic tub seems like it should be a good idea.

    Many people like elevated nest boxes. It gets the eggs above the poop. One problem with those is that chickens may consider them roosts. Another problem is that, they may lay eggs on the floor and not in the nest boxes. Certainly, never expect that they will nest above their roosts.

    Your pullets are young and probably a little frightened to be in their new coop. In time, they will behave more sensibly, perhaps. But, no one ever got in trouble by underestimating a chicken [​IMG].

    Just a few thoughts . . .

  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Are your nest boxes higher or at the same height as your roosts?

    If so, move them down below roost level.
  4. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    I also vote for removing the nest boxes, at least for a few weeks. That way they can get accustomed to sleeping elsewhere.
  5. Barnrat

    Barnrat Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Unfortunately, given the responses (which I greatly appreciate!) the nest boxes are built in. I think, however, I can remove a couple of screws and take them out, then re-install them when we get closer to egg-laying time. I'll do that tomorrow! Thanks for your advice! They are at the same level as the roost, and since I have an egg removal door cut in they have to stay there, but perhaps by the time they are laying (early-mid November by my calculations) they will be accustomed to sleeping on the roost and will use the nesting boxes for their original intent!
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    At 7 weeks, depending on your climate I might also wonder whether they're getting kind of cold at night and huddling together in an enclosed space for warmth? Is there by any chance an open vent or window next to their roost that might be chilling them?

    Quote:Um, I know you do not want to hear this but that may cause ongoing problems with pooey nestboxes (and thus pooey eggs) in the future. You may want to start mulling over ways to raise the roost, or lower (or relocate) the nestboxes...

    Good luck,

  7. Barnrat

    Barnrat Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I thought of the draft possibility, and I covered the window that is in front of the roost.

    I think what I'm going to do is first remove the nest boxes for now; they won't need them for months. Then I will start working on a plan to change the roost configuration. I think that will be easier than relocating the nest boxes, because the egg door is already built in. But I may have put the nest boxes too high--they are about 18" off the floor.

    I appreciate all of the advice.

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