Chicks sleeping on the ground not in their house. why

Red Nugget

Chirping
May 6, 2015
246
14
68
Garden City Georgia
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My Chicks are 9 weeks old. I built the run and house myself when they were about 3 weeks old. It's very safe for them so not too worried about predators. But they kick all the hay out of the house and make nests under it .I've even found them sleeping in a hole they dug in the dirt out in the open part of their
enclosure. The total size of the enclosure is 14' x 22'. The house is 3'x 3' with 3 levels and 3 boxes. Did I do something wrong. All they do is poo in the house
 
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SnowPeeOstrichU

Songster
7 Years
Hi,

How warm is it in your area? It may be that they prefer the temperature outside and just sleep outside for that reason. My adult hens only sleep in their henhouse during very very cold times and it probably is only a week or two all year. The rest of the time, they dustbath in pine shavings there and lay eggs but that's all. Doesn't sound like you have a problem..

:)
 

Red Nugget

Chirping
May 6, 2015
246
14
68
Garden City Georgia
Ok. Sorry if it sounded dumb. This is my first flock. I didn't even want to put them out side at first but the 4 Leghorns got too big to keep in the box in the house. They started jumping out. They have been out side for 2 weeks now.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,203
491
Long Beach, WA
Do you have any roosts in there? It looks like the 'house' part is taken up entirely by the nest boxes. Raccoons can reach right through your fencing choice, and can shred that chicken wire you used.
 

Red Nugget

Chirping
May 6, 2015
246
14
68
Garden City Georgia
no roosts yet. It's a chain link fence that is cemented 2 feet into the ground. The chickens wire was just to keep my Silkie and Sumatra from getting out. I don't have a racoon problem out here. But I do worry about my 6 cats and Wendy's 5 big dogs. I know there are field mice. My
Cats
Bring them to me a lot. Wendy has 2 ducks about a year old and the cats don't mess with them but one of her dogs broke the male ducks beek. What should we do to make it safer for them. I thought they slept In the nest boxes. And what is a roost and how do you make them.
 
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junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,203
491
Long Beach, WA
Nest boxes are for laying eggs in, not sleeping in. Roosts are where they will sleep when they get a bit older. They are basically a way to mimic a chickens natural instinct to sleep up in a tree. Chickens prefer flat roosts to rounded. They need to be about 2 to 4 feet off the ground and the roost 'bars' need to be about 3 or 4 inches wide. Varying heights is a good idea, plus they like to play around on them during the day. Just be sure place them so that the chickens on the lower roosts aren't getting pooped on by the ones higher up. Chickens poop a lot while they sleep, it's not very good for their health to sleep in their poop long term.
 

SnowPeeOstrichU

Songster
7 Years
For fencing, I use half inch hardware cloth for my coops because they go in there at night but for daytime I just have chicken wire to keep them in. Roosts are just perches, like @junebuggena said. I haven't noticed mine prefering squared off versus round. Make sure you have plenty of perch spots because there will be a prefered spot and you want to have enough that a hen lower on the pecking order can still perch happily.. What I mean is don't put only enough space for them all to fit right near eachother.
 

Red Nugget

Chirping
May 6, 2015
246
14
68
Garden City Georgia
Thank you. So if I make 3 roosting planks all at different levels under the tarped half of the enclosure how long should each one be? Or should I be thinking of 6 smaller ones. Same with nest boxes. Do I need 6 of those as well? I have 5 pullets and 1 roo.
 

junebuggena

Crowing
Apr 17, 2015
23,102
8,203
491
Long Beach, WA
I think you would be fine with two 6 foot long roosts. Make one about 3 to 4 feet high, and the other about 2 to 3 feet high. Space them about 6 inches to a foot apart. Chickens of similar rank like to sleep together. You want enough room for them to spread out on really warm nights. They will probably all pile onto the same roost in cold weather. For nesting boxes, you only need one or two. Hens tend to all lay their eggs in the same box. But having a spare or two is not a bad idea if one hen goes broody. One thing to watch for since you only have 5 hens, is to keep an eye out for signs of overbreeding from the rooster.
 

MANNA-PRO

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