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General problems

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nhorrin, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. nhorrin

    nhorrin Chirping

    Mar 12, 2011
    In early May I purchased some straight run bantam chicks from Ideal Poultry. I culled out all the roosters and kept 4 Brahma, 4 Cochin and 4 NH Red hens. These birds have been a problem all along. None of them would roost, instead they pile into the corner at night. When they started laying most would not lay in the nests, but instead in the litter here and there. This ended up with some very dirty hens and eggs. I did not get these birds as egg layers, but thought the eggs would be a good byproduct to having the flock. I tried many different things to get them to roost and use the nest boxes to no avail. I don't know whether the problem is with the birds or my managment skills. I have dispossed of the birds for the winter and will reasess the situation early in the spring. In the mean time I hope to study the problems to make sure I can be successful if tried again. I have an 8' by 8' coop with plenty of ventilation, an 8' by 12' run and 4 nest boxes. ANY ADVICE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED! THANKS!

  2. darin367

    darin367 Songster

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    check your roost height/dimensions ect... go in after dark and place them on the roost, might take a few days till they get it........ sometimes after they start laying, maybe up to a month, before they start using egg boxes to lay in.... my egg boxes are 14x14 and 8 inches up off the floor with a 4 inch board in front so it creates a lip...... i've had them lay eggs all over the place for a week or 2 before deciding the box was better...... basically evaluate your set up.... lots of info in the coop design section...
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    You might want to try to get some pictures of the inside of your coop. There might be some things you can adjust, to make your next experience more successful. Maybe they had a hard time getting up to the roosts. Sometimes roosts can be too close to a wall or in a draft. They might not like a particular material or size of material used for a roost.

    Some nest boxes are hard to get to or have some other problem. Chickens can have preferences with those, too. Putting fake eggs or golf balls in them can encourage beginning layers to lay there.

    Most chickens start out sleeping on the floor in the brooder and start roosting as they get older. As long as there aren't any glaring problems, accessibility is usually the biggest obstacle to them not using roosts or nest boxes. Some chickens are just a bit pickier, though.
  4. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    yes, let us see the inside of the coop....the roosts have to be higher then the boxes..I use golf balls to get mine laying inside, I also have a curtain tacked over the front of the boxes, they wanted privacy...I still have one Australorp that insists on laying in the corner on the floor under the roosts...
  5. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Could be any little thing putting them off the roosts or the nest boxes. The roosts should generally be higher than the nests, and the nests should generally have a darker, secure feeling about them. Mine are built off of the south wall of the coop, so the sun from the window (also on the south side) won't shine into them.

    Are you providing artificial light? What hours do you keep the light on? I'd suggest only in the morning. I set my timer so that the light comes on only in the early morning, shuts off about 8am. Timer adjusted as fall progresses to give them about 14 hours of light each day. In the afternoon, I don't provide any light, so that they go to roost as the natural sunlight diminishes. If you were providing light in the evening that suddenly turned off while they were still on the floor of the coop, they wouldn't be able to see to get onto their roosts.

    I screened off my nest boxes until the current flock began laying, just to keep them form treating it as living space. Three nests cantilevered off the south wall, with a hinged pitched roof for collection. Once the barrier was, down, golf balls for encouragement. The golf balls did the trick as far as them getting the hang of it. They've only ever used the center nest and the one furthest to the west. Not long after they started laying, I had to start heating the water and, ever since, they've only used that one westernmost nest, the one nearest the warm water.

    When they first started up laying, we would occasionally find an egg out on the coop floor. They pretty much keep to the nests now. In fact they've turned a corner. I never did take the golf balls out, and dearest reported only this morning that she durned near broke her neck. Seems one of the ladies pitched the golf ball out of the preferred nest and out onto the floor, for her to step on. I'd have liked to have a game camera on the action it took to get that golf ball out over the lip on the frnot of that nest!
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  6. Hiram

    Hiram In the Brooder

    May 18, 2011
    About the nesting, it sometimes takes time for them to get it right. I had one hen who was dead last in pecking order who laid on the floor for quite some time. I couldn't figure it out and I tried everything that has been suggested. what I found was that the other hens weren't letting her nest. they were forcing her away. Just lately she started to fight back and now they let her. So...
  7. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Crowing

    Apr 13, 2011
    Fox Valley, IL
    My Coop
    I have the same problem, the girls sleep on the floor with the rooster standing over them. Every once in a while he'll hop up on the roost for a few minutes, but that's it. I've tried different locations and heights, even tried giving them a ladder. The current roost is a 2x2, about 30" long, but I've tried longer 1x1's and 2x3's, no luck. Several times a week I'll put several of them on the roost, but they complain and struggle when I do, then they hop down.

    They do like to stand on branches out in the run, so they do know how to get up there and balance on it. One or two of them sometimes uses the upper nesting box, so there's clearly room to jump up there. BTW, the caged in thing in the background is a heat lamp to keep their water from freezing.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

  8. darin367

    darin367 Songster

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    maybe they won't roost on that cause it's close to the heat.... that's a short roosting bar also..
  9. nhorrin

    nhorrin Chirping

    Mar 12, 2011
    I have some photos of the inside and outside of the coop stored on the computer, but don't know how to post them. They are stored in Kodak Easy Share albums. If someone could give me posting directions for this forum I will try to get them up. THANKS!
  10. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Songster

    Sep 21, 2010
    [​IMG] You didn't just get rid of your birds because, they wouldn't roost or lay in the nesting boxes, right???? [​IMG]

    Sorry, don't mean to be mean it just seems like a mean reason to get rid of your birds. I could understand if they are mean or something or if you are culling em because, you are raising them for food. To get rid of them for that reason just seems wrong. I mean you can wash the eggs, I wash ours anyway and chickens are gonna get dirty ( they are chickens )

    Different kinds birds will roost at different heights. When I didn't have an appropriate roost they huddled on the floor to roost. Now my EE an Ameraucanas roost on a high roost, I guess it is about 5 foot high. They will use a roost up to about the height of 6 and a half foot. If it gets taller them that they start having a problems get up to it unless you have something they can just on then jump to it. Some birds do not like low roosts, my EEs and Ameraucanas will not use roosts that are about 4 and half foot or lower.

    Now there are some birds that are heavier and don't get up as easily ( for instance my Orpingtons ) I imagine they prefer 3 to 4 foot high roost. What I have found works well for my heavier breed is a wooden ladder. I laid it at a slant against the wall. I leaned it over really far. They will hop from one step to the next until the get close to the top.

    I think they continue to lay wherever they get used too. Wherever they find that they are comfortable laying. I have heard they like it dark, so having the nesting boxes in the darkest quietest spot you can find is good. I have also heard you can buy fake eggs and leave it in the nesting box and that helps. Good luck.

    I think birds will roost if the accommodations are ones they are comfortable with and I really think they will use the nesting boxes if you provide ones in a quiet spot or to the side of your coop.

    Don't get rid of your pets for that reason though. [​IMG] Or if you have to maybe you could find a good home for them with someone on the BYC.

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