Food in the nest box!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KJzCola, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. KJzCola

    KJzCola Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2015
    I have a small flock of 4 hens (RHR, BPR, EE, and a wellsummer), only two which are laying eggs so far (RHR and BPR). I see the Easter egger in the box on occasion just kind of checking things out or just hanging out. I've never seen any of them bringing food into the box, so I don't know how many of them or which ones are doing it. EVERY DAY when I go to collect eggs, there is a BUNCH of food from the compost pile rotting away in the nest box and making the eggs dirty. I pick it out and throw it aside and next day there's more there. I've never read anywhere about this kind of phenomenon, and I know I don't have a broody hen because they are all nearly always out and about when I go out to the coop.

    My coop and run are one combined unit, at first I thought maybe there were mice, rats, squirrels etc doing this because I found some small animal droppings in the coop so I finished closing off all the vents up by the roof that they may have been able to get in and out through with hardware cloth. Since then I haven't found small droppings but the food continues to be brought into the nest box! It's making the bedding in the box really nasty, dirtying up the eggs, causing insect activity inside the box, and bothering me.

    Does anyone have any idea why this may be happening? The compost pile is decent sized for four chickens to eat off of, and on top of they they also have a feeder with pellets in it. I don't know how to catch or stop this behavior, or maybe if it's something that one of my non-layers is doing, if they will grow out of it once they start laying?

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    How far is the compost pile from the nest?
    I can't imagine food, or compost for that matter, being carried into the nest.
    What kind of food do you keep in the compost pile?
  3. KJzCola

    KJzCola Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2015
    The compost pile is as far as possible from the best box. The run is 10' long and 6' wide if I'm remembering correctly from when I built it. The compost pile is in a corner of that and the coop is attached to the other end of the 10' run with the nest box at the other side of the 6' wide coop. so opposite diagonal corners, but it's not fields of space.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Fence off the compost from the chickens for a week...see if it still happens.
    I'm guessing still mice, I don't think chickens cache food...they can fit thru very, very small holes.
    Coop door open all day but locked up at night?
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015

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