Chickens sleeping in nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cooleydooley, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. cooleydooley

    cooleydooley In the Brooder

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    Just brought home my 4 Rhode Island Reds yesterday. They seemed to have a good first day getting used to their coop and run. When I checked on them before bed they were all in a row inside the 2 nest boxes - they looked so scared. So this morning I check and of course they also crapped all in the boxes too. Being s super newbie - first time chicken person my guess is they will take some time to adjust and to lay again - they are 1 1/2 years old and came from a flock of 25 where they free ranged during the day. So I guess I just clean out the boxes and keep putting in free straw till they get more comfortable and will stop sleeping in there - maybe put a couple golf balls in there too?
     
  2. card5640

    card5640 Songster

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    After a few days when they are settled, cover up the boxes at night if you have to place them on the roost bars. Golf balls do work you can also find eggs in the childrens toy section, cheaper than the farm store.
     
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    What I would suggest is that you cover the nest boxes at night to keep them out and open them during the day. You will be much happier if they don't sleep in the nest boxes. If sleeping was all they did it would be bad but their droppings will soon make the nests a place you wouldn't want to collect eggs from.
     
  4. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

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    Quote:I have that same trouble with juveniles being introduced to the flock, they will roost in the nest boxes rather then join the adults on the roost------I have a cover for my nest boxes that I cover the nest boxes at night. In the evening I will toss the nest box roosters out and cover it so they can't get back in and have to roost on the bars. After a couple weeks roosting where they're suspose to, you can stop covering the nest boxes at night.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Are your roosts clearly higher than the nest boxes? Chickens usually like to sleep as high as they can. Something about their survival instinct. If your roosts are not clearly higher than anything else you want them to roost on, you need to make some changes.

    If your roosts are already higher, I would be very careful on closing off the nest boxes. You do not want to train them to lay anywhere other than the nests. Not that I disagree with Opa, just be careful on your timing. Make sure they are open when they want them to lay. And I like a fake egg in the nest. Not that it will stop them from roosting in there, but it does show them where to lay.

    Even if you change the roosts to make them higher than the nest boxes or they are already higher, they may already be in the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes. If you go out at night after they are settled in and it is too dark for them to see to move, you can physically take them out of the nests and put them on the roosts. Use as little light as possible so they have a hard time seeing to move. They should soon get in the habit of sleeping on the roosts.

    Good luck! I think you will soon have success.
     
  6. cooleydooley

    cooleydooley In the Brooder

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    Thanks everyone! They started laying the next day in the nest box. I started getting 1 egg/day for 3 days, then 2/day now 3/day. There is one that seems to go in the box at night but the last 2 mornings the box is clean so not sure if she moves before it is really dark. My roost is higher than the box but overall the coop is not that large so not sure if all 4 will fit on the roost - I think I will make it a bit longer and run the full length of the coop.
     
  7. Min Lille Norge

    Min Lille Norge In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2010
    Being new to chickens, and as I read these replies, are you saying that I need to close the nest boxes until the 'girls' are ready to use them? My Buff Orps are only about 7 weeks old, and I do find them sitting in the nest boxes when I go out to the coop. And can anyone tell me when I should start filling them with straw? I have not had so much fun in my life as I've had since getting these little chickens. By the way, I have 26 little gals, but half of them will go to the freezer come October.....
     
  8. card5640

    card5640 Songster

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    I would close them up as there is no need now and you dont want them in the habit of thinking they can sleep there.
     
  9. Min Lille Norge

    Min Lille Norge In the Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2010
    Thanks 'Chillin'!
     

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