Chickshaw 2.0 - How do I stop my birds from roosting in the nesting boxes?

OPA Acres

Chirping
Jun 1, 2021
31
55
51
I have a chickshaw 2.0 with about 30 chickens. It's been working great for us for the last 2 months - with one exception -- the birds roost in the nesting boxes, every single night.

Now, I know that the reason for this is the Chickshaw design has nesting boxes higher than the roosting bars. I think this may be a design flaw, but here we are!

So, my question is - how do I/you keep the chickens from roosting in your nesting boxes?

I know that it has a built-in swivel that is supposed to stop them from roosting on the nesting boxes -- but diving into the chickshaw every morning and night to adjust that bar nullifies my love for the simplicity of the chickshaw use.

Your experience/advice is appreciated.
 

MarmaladeSings

Chirping
May 15, 2019
47
67
74
Northeast Kansas
Hello, OPA Acres!

I built a Chickshaw 2.0 in June of 2019. It has been in constant use since the young pullets were about 8 weeks old. I did not add the mild crate nest boxes until the birds were closer to point of lay.

Very shortly after adding the milk crates, I made an addition to the Chickshaw design. When raised, the nest box swivel landing bar did not cover enough of the box opening to keep the pullets from discovering they could easily squeeze past and then spend a cozy night in the nest box. The following is what I have found to work in my setting.

"Part One" of my solution was to add a hinged door that closed the open space in the back wall of the original design. This also resolved another concern I had with the original design; that of providing better security from predators and protecting the nesting area from inclement weather.

I measured the length and width of the back wall nest box opening and cut a piece of plywood a bit smaller (perhaps 1/4") than those measurements and installed the door using two hinges on the left hand side and a latch on the right side. I initially considered hinging the door to swing downward but quickly realized I would run into issues due to the corrugated panels. I wanted the door to fit inside the original opening, and in order for the door to swing far enough down so that I could still slide the milk crates in and out, the door would have to lay flush against the outside wall and the corrugated panels and metal door pulls did not allow that. I had previously added two metal door pulls placed horizontally just below that back opening so I could more easily take the weight off the kickstand prior to moving the Chickshaw.

"Part Two" involves turning the milk crates around. When doing the final egg collection of the day, which varies from late afternoon to a couple hours before sunset depending on the time of year, I turn the milk crates so that the opening faces the back wall of the Chickshaw and also raise the landing bar. The next morning, when I go out to release the hens, I lower the landing bar and turn the open side of the crates to the interior of the Chickshaw. This does not add a significant amount of time either in the morning or at coop closing. I do, however, make it a habit to release the hens from the Chickshaw and open the nest boxes just prior to sunrise every day.

The only time I had to make an adjustment to the routine was earlier this summer when I integrated young pullets into the main flock. Being smaller, they discovered they could access the milk crates at roosting time by squeezing between the top rails of the crates and the roof of the Chickshaw. My solution was to just remove the milk crates at the time of the last egg collection of the day and then replace them early the following morning. This persisted for a couple of months until the young ones were physically too big to squeeze through the space. I am now back to just turning the crates around late in the day and again in the morning.

I hope you find this of some help. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Best wishes!
 

OPA Acres

Chirping
Jun 1, 2021
31
55
51
Hello, OPA Acres!

I built a Chickshaw 2.0 in June of 2019. It has been in constant use since the young pullets were about 8 weeks old. I did not add the mild crate nest boxes until the birds were closer to point of lay.

Very shortly after adding the milk crates, I made an addition to the Chickshaw design. When raised, the nest box swivel landing bar did not cover enough of the box opening to keep the pullets from discovering they could easily squeeze past and then spend a cozy night in the nest box. The following is what I have found to work in my setting.

"Part One" of my solution was to add a hinged door that closed the open space in the back wall of the original design. This also resolved another concern I had with the original design; that of providing better security from predators and protecting the nesting area from inclement weather.

I measured the length and width of the back wall nest box opening and cut a piece of plywood a bit smaller (perhaps 1/4") than those measurements and installed the door using two hinges on the left hand side and a latch on the right side. I initially considered hinging the door to swing downward but quickly realized I would run into issues due to the corrugated panels. I wanted the door to fit inside the original opening, and in order for the door to swing far enough down so that I could still slide the milk crates in and out, the door would have to lay flush against the outside wall and the corrugated panels and metal door pulls did not allow that. I had previously added two metal door pulls placed horizontally just below that back opening so I could more easily take the weight off the kickstand prior to moving the Chickshaw.

"Part Two" involves turning the milk crates around. When doing the final egg collection of the day, which varies from late afternoon to a couple hours before sunset depending on the time of year, I turn the milk crates so that the opening faces the back wall of the Chickshaw and also raise the landing bar. The next morning, when I go out to release the hens, I lower the landing bar and turn the open side of the crates to the interior of the Chickshaw. This does not add a significant amount of time either in the morning or at coop closing. I do, however, make it a habit to release the hens from the Chickshaw and open the nest boxes just prior to sunrise every day.

The only time I had to make an adjustment to the routine was earlier this summer when I integrated young pullets into the main flock. Being smaller, they discovered they could access the milk crates at roosting time by squeezing between the top rails of the crates and the roof of the Chickshaw. My solution was to just remove the milk crates at the time of the last egg collection of the day and then replace them early the following morning. This persisted for a couple of months until the young ones were physically too big to squeeze through the space. I am now back to just turning the crates around late in the day and again in the morning.

I hope you find this of some help. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Best wishes!
Thank you so much! We have been turning 3 of the 4 milk crates 90 degrees to close off the openings.

I leave 1 facing forward because I have 1 pullet that lays right around dawn and I don't always get to the shaw before she lays.

They do roost in it, but I switched my nesting material from hay to the rubber mat style, so, I just hose it off when I'm filling my goose pools in the morming and the poop comes off easily.

It's not perfect but it works.

I have also worried about predator access through the nesting boxes... so far, the premier1 fence seems to be doing the job, but we have discussed adding a hardware cloth covered door to that area.. and likely will get it done when the chickens move to their winter coop.

Thanks again!
 

MarmaladeSings

Chirping
May 15, 2019
47
67
74
Northeast Kansas
Thank you so much! We have been turning 3 of the 4 milk crates 90 degrees to close off the openings.

I leave 1 facing forward because I have 1 pullet that lays right around dawn and I don't always get to the shaw before she lays.

They do roost in it, but I switched my nesting material from hay to the rubber mat style, so, I just hose it off when I'm filling my goose pools in the morming and the poop comes off easily.

It's not perfect but it works.

I have also worried about predator access through the nesting boxes... so far, the premier1 fence seems to be doing the job, but we have discussed adding a hardware cloth covered door to that area.. and likely will get it done when the chickens move to their winter coop.

Thanks again!
I understand about leaving one box available for the "early birds". I did that for a time when I had an early AM layer. I don't know what time you close your coop, but if it is late enough that it is almost dark or past dark, what worked for me was to check that open box and remove any hens that were there. I just placed them under the nest box area and then slid the box back into place. My hens tended to stay where I put them if it was dark enough.

I have also used Premier1 electric netting since summer 2019. It has done a great job at protecting the hens. I need to relocate the fence but with this drought the ground is so hard I am afraid I will bend the stakes trying to get them into the ground. Praying for a good, slow rain.
 

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