Girls started to sleep/pool in the nest boxes!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by egghound, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    Hi everyone. I'm a newbie. We have four chicken, (Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Delaware, and Plymouth Rock) that we got about 5 weeks ago. Three of them are about 17 weeks and the fourth one is about 19 weeks old now. They have always slept on the roosts (plenty room on 2 X 4 boards and higher than the nest boxes), and occasionally on the coop floor (covered with wood shavings).

    About a week ago, one of them started going into the nest box at night and sleeping and pooping in there. Now, it seems at least some of the others are doing the same thing. I don't mind cleaning the poop from the nest boxes as I clean the coop daily. But, what does this mean? Are they getting ready to lay? Is this a problem? Should I be concerned or do something to change their habit? They have no difficulty getting on the roosts when they want to.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    One more quick update. The two nest boxes are about 12" W X 14" deep X 14" tall, covered with straw and have two fake eggs in each.
     
  3. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    One more question. Will the girls sleeping in the nest boxes in any way effect or interfere with them laying eggs when they start to lay?
     
  4. kdwag

    kdwag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MIne did the same thing, at first I think it was warmer when they slept together inside the box but as they grew, I put a divider in the box and made it smaller and less accommodating. They tried to continue sleeping in it but then they just gave up I guess and went to the roosts for good, that was around 18 weeks or so. They had no trouble going there to lay when it was time. At first I was crazy about keeping them out of the boxes and then I gave in and just kept them clean. You could try removing the bedding from the boxes to make them less comfortable but if you don't mind cleaning them, I wouldn't worry about it. They'll figure it out.
     
  5. bcmama

    bcmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of mine also did the same thing but I noticed as all of the girls started to lay she grew out of it. The one that was sleeping in the box was the first to lay and she was sleeping in the box she would lay in. The second to lay would allow her to sleep in there and she would guard the entire hen house at the door at night not allowing the other four girls to enter. The other girls would roost outside or on the ladder until us humans would go outside and put them in. It was a mess in that coop socially speaking until more of my girls started laying but as they did they all figured it out and the one girl that would sleep in the box no longer does and everyone now sleeps on the roost together. It seemed to me that there was definitely a hierarchy going on that they all had to work through.

    Maybe it's your girls way of saying this is my box and you can't use it!

    From my experience I wouldn't worry too much about it. It seems to work itself out. None of my girls even lay in the original sleeping box. All six lay in the opposite box and no one touches that box even the girl that used to sleep in it.

    Maybe you are going to get an egg soon? Good luck
     
  6. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    Thanks for the great comments! From all I've read in this thread and others it seems its not a real big deal other than the pooping in the nest boxes which I don't like but can deal with it since I clean daily.

    I checked the boxes last night at 9:00 when the coop light timer goes off and two of them had squeezed in one box and one in the other. The fat one (fat Annie!) was sitting on the perch in front of the box!

    I picked them all up and put them on the roost and they all spent the night happily up there! I guess I'm not worried anymore if they want to sleep in the boxes. At least I know they'll probably use them when they get ready to lay. My wife thinks the one that started this (RIR) is probably a little broody. They always mimic what one of them does! anyway, as long as occasional (or more often) sleeping in the boxes is not a problem then that's fine. They're all good girls and get along great. Who knows what goes thru their little heads! I think hopefully they're getting pretty close to supplying our breakfast and cake ingredients!
     
  7. cmoore333

    cmoore333 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 28, 2013
    I have started kicking them out if the nesting boxes at night, I just don't like cleaning them out every morning... So I put thier food and water in the nesting boxes and that saves me the dean up every day...:)then I just take them out in the morning and they use the boxes for laying eggs...
     
  8. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    cmoore333, That's an interesting idea. How many nest boxes do you have? What if they need to lay while the water and feed is in the nest boxes?
     
  9. cmoore333

    cmoore333 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been doing it since I recently adopted four hens who came from a home that didn't have any roosting bars or coop like mine and they kept sleeping in the nesting boxes.. Usually I don't put the food in there till about six, just when it starts to get dark.. And I open the coop at six am and remove the food and water then.. I haven't found it to be a issue, mine are usually done laying by four pm, and my earliest layer is usually around eight am (yes I did alot of watching them this winter,lol) I only have two nesting boxes for 7hens that are laying and one that is due to any day now.. So it's a busy area during the morning and late mornings...:)
     
  10. egghound

    egghound Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2013
    Well, coming from a home with no roosts and sleeping in the nest boxes probably had a lot to do with it. Sounds like you didn't have too much trouble breaking them of the habit. I'm about to go out to check and see if they slept in the boxes last night.
     

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