chicks sleeping in nest boxes

Kakadoodledoo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 22, 2013
17
0
22
My nest boxes are built out the side of the coop level with the floor. Should I put a board between them and the rest of the coop until my chickens start laying? My chicks are 5 weeks old and some like to sleep in the nest boxes; I don't want them building bad habits that are harder to break latter. Any thoughts are appreciated.
 

appps

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 29, 2012
4,784
647
321
Australia
Mine are silkie and silkie cross but even they worked out roosting by themselves. At 5 weeks they were so cute in their little chicken pile cuddling and keeping each other warm. :)
 

Kakadoodledoo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 22, 2013
17
0
22
So one of my chickens started to lay. I didn't block off the next box, and the chicken has layed in 2 of the 3 next boxes since day one. I am using the golf ball trick, which is probably the best way to get them laying where you want. I started using the golf ball before any eggs were layed.
 

Kakadoodledoo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 22, 2013
17
0
22
I wanted to update anyone worried about their chickens sleeping in the boxes. Again my boxes are level with the coop floor. All my chickens are roosting on the bars they have been since about 7-9 weeks old. They are only laying in the nest boxes. There is only a 2 by 4 separating the nest boxes from the coop floor. I am considering nailing in some plywood to create a 6 inch barrier between the floor rather than the 4 inch barrier. The reason is to keep the chickens from kicking the nest material out into the rest of the coop and also give the chickens and eggs more seclusion.
 

Duke6017

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
54
5
43
I just got my first flock this weekend, so forgive my rookie questions. But I am having a similar problem. I have 6 chicks and 1 hen. The hen is laying and gave me an egg with in the first 24 hrs! But the chicks are not old enough to lay yet. However, they are old enough to be outside and in the coop. All seems well so far, except I have found the chicks sleeping in the nesting boxes. The first day they had knocked out all of my nesting material into the coop, so yesterday I added a kick board to the nesting box to keep the nest inside and hopefully the chicks out. However, last night I checked on them and all 6 were in one of the boxes sleeping. This morning they had it all messed up with their droppings. I did notice 4 of the chicks had moved up to the roost bar by the time I got up this morning. I don't want to create bad habits, but I also cant block off my nest box because of my hen. Thoughts/Suggestions?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,319
20,223
907
Southeast Louisiana
You don't say how old the chicks are, but obviously they are old enough to start roosting. What I suggest is that you go out there after dark and they are settled in, and move any that are in the nest to the roost. It needs to be dark in there so they have trouble seeing to get back to the nests. Use as little light as possible. Usually after some start to roost the others follow, but not always. A few may decide to not roost. I’ve had that happen.

I have had that problem before with chicks and adults in the coop together. Often it is just a phase they are going through as they transition from the floor to the roosts. But occasionally there is another problem. One or two of the adults may be brutal to them while they are on the roosts as they are settling down for the night. Those chicks look for a safer place to sleep, which used to sometimes be the nests. I put in a separate roost, higher than the nests but lower than the main roosts and off to the side. That gives them room to get away from a bully without going into the nests. It has helped me. I hatch a few times a year and seem to always have young chicks in the flock.

Look at your roost space. If you have enough for the chicks to get away from the hen, you should be OK. But if you have room it might help to put in a separate roost for the chicks.

Good luck. It’s something several of us go through.
 

Duke6017

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 13, 2013
54
5
43
Thanks for the advice I will try this. I only have the one full grown hen and she has been using the roost each night. She only takes up a fraction of the one bar, and there is a whole empty bar left for the chicks. So, at this point I think they have plenty of space, and they wouldnt even have to be on the same bar as the hen. I was optimistic when I saw them on the roost this morning.
 

Kakadoodledoo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 22, 2013
17
0
22
Don't worry about it. The chicks will slowly move to the roost bars as they get older. It's in their nature to move to the highest point to roost. I would just live with the chick poop in the nest boxes for the time being.
 

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