Chickens sleeping in Nesting Box instead of on Roost

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dgilmore, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. dgilmore

    dgilmore Hatching

    Sep 27, 2016
    Howdy! I have been lurking these forums since we got chickens in April. First time poster.

    We built a coop over the course of several weeks this summer. Once we finished the nesting box, the girls starting sleeping in there. Now that some of them are laying, I don't like collecting their poop-covered eggs.

    I built a roost a couple of weeks ago, but they are not using it. It is about 12" above the floor. It is an L shape. One section is 22" the other is 10". It is about 3.5" wide with rounded edges.

    I read about blocking off the nesting box at night, but that didn't work. I tried it for about a week. Two birds slept on the roost only one of the nights. I had to stop because I kept forgetting to unblock the nesting box during the day. I put up curtains on the nesting box, but they don't care. All four of them just keep snuggling up inside the box at night.

    How do I get them to start using their roost to sleep at night instead of their nesting box? I will include some pictures, so you can see what I am talking about. If you see anything else on my coop that could be improved, please let me know. I greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks!




  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Your bar might be set too low in comparison to the nest box. You look like you might have the head room to raise it a little. You can also try a straight bar instead of an L shape (because that might be crowding them a bit, they might not want to sit face to face or tail). Also, and I don't know if it's just my chickens, but mine seem to like sitting in such a way that they can look out a window. Could you possibly put the roost bar across where that window is on the left in the first photo?
    1 person likes this.
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    First off welcome to BYC former lurker.
    Chickens have a natural instinct to roost up high to avoid predators. Your problem maybe solved by simply adjusting your roost so that they are about a foot or so higher than your nest boxes.Since we do not live in a perfect world you may end up with one bird who repeatedly sleeps in the nest box. You may find this happening to the hen who is at the bottom of the pecking order.

    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 66 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  4. If possible? Block the nest box off for a few nights....Open it in the morning...Chickens are creatures of habit...

  5. MoffatChicken

    MoffatChicken Chirping

    Jul 23, 2014
    Problem could also be not enough room on the roosting bars and they can't find a good spot until its too dark. Or could be the chickens are staying in the run too long and by the time they get into the coop its too dark. I had that problem and I put a cup of treats in the coop towards dusk and closed the coop door.... they figured it out :)
  6. Daox13

    Daox13 Chirping

    Jan 17, 2014
    Richmond va
    My Coop
    I'm going to go with the roost bars are too low. chickens prefer height for protection, they just feel safer the higher up they go. I would imagine those white 1x4s are the roost... I would suggest two things.. one raise it another 6-10" and block off the nesting box for a few weeks during the nights with a wooden insert ( yes I understand its frustrating to remember) but this will ensure they can not just push past the curtain. chickens are smart and habit forming, breaking them of a habit is near impossible unless you just completely take it out as an option. Good luck to you [​IMG]
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    Roosts need to be about 12" higher than nests.
    1 foot of roost length per bird is best, 1 foot away from wall.
    Yes, they can and will sleep on less length, but need to 'extra' room to get settled.....the Roost Time Rumble can be Raucous.
    'L' shape is inhibiting usage.

    Covering nests might be necessary during 'training'......
    .....yes, you have to remember to uncover them, either after dark when locking up (my preference) or early in the morning.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016

  8. Tlmcq

    Tlmcq Songster

    Mar 17, 2017
    Pomeroy, OH
    I'm having same problem...They all 6 sleep in one nest box in very back of coop...Not sure how they even fit..All on top of one another. My roosts are bout a foot or touch more higher than nest boxes and in different area of coop. Also near window. I was afraid they were too high but I saw one on them. And a rooster that we used to have much larger than my girls slept on them but none of these ladies will. There are 2 bars one higher than the other that are about 3 ft long...Do you think it's not enough space or they have just formed habit of sleeping in boxes. My roosts are tree branches that are approximately 3 inches diameter.
  9. BDs

    BDs In the Brooder

    May 22, 2017
    Mine do the same, but I have been blocking it off with a piece of cardboard. They also choose not to sleep on the rails, and stand on the floor of the coop. Very strange.
    Tlmcq likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sometimes the height of the roost is too much for the width of the coop.... pics of your coop/roosts/nests with coop size in feet by feet.

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