Close nesting boxes at night?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by olympiashorts, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. olympiashorts

    olympiashorts Hatching

    Sep 21, 2016
    I just started raising 4 chickens (2 barred rocks, 1 blue W., and 1 Golden Laced W.) that are now nearing egg-laying age (they are 17 weeks old). I purchased a coop from Precision Pets. I have a large fenced run around the coop and also let them free-range when I can supervise (my wife doesn't like poop on our deck...go figure). The coop looks like this:


    The 3 nesting boxes are at the far left in the upper enclosed area of the coop. There is a "poop drawer" right next to the boxes as shown. There are 2 roosting bars that are mounted just above the poop drawer.
    My question: The chickens have been sleeping and pooping in the nesting boxes and I am told that this is not a good thing. As you can see, there is a small sliding door at the top of the ramp inside the coop. Should I be closing this at night? There are 2 roosting bars just above the lower part of the ramp (only one visible in this photo). Also, what should I line the nesting boxes with? I have used both straw and wood chips...I didn't notice a difference in the amount of poop between the two. Should I line the poop drawer with anything? Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Olympia, WA

  2. map849

    map849 In the Brooder

    May 6, 2015
    North East, PA
    Last year I bought a coop very similar to yours for my 5 BRs and I could not get 3 of the girls to go inside at night so they slept on the roost outside, one used the inside roost and one slept in the nest. Every morning I had to clean out the nest so the eggs wouldn't get poo on them and the hen always had a very dirty butt from laying in it. It has been a year since they moved into a larger coop and I still have to block off the nests or she is back to her old trick of soiling her bed/nest.
    I never shut the sliding door as it seemed too small. At first I locked the coop door at night, but they started pecking each other so I left the door open to the run giving them more room.
    I used wood chips and straw in the nests and drawer.
    Not sure where you are located, but we get abt 100 " of snow in the winter and strong winds across Lake Erie. I couldn't figure out how to winterize the coop so we will be using it for the chicks I am getting in the Spring.
    Back to sleeping in the nests...It is a habit tthat was hard for my girl to break, but not sure how you can block off your nests so no help here...just my experience.

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