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Help getting chickens to roost?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mortimer, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Mortimer

    Mortimer In the Brooder

    May 6, 2008
    SW of Wichita, KS
    Hey all, long time reader & first time poster. Great group of folks here.

    We've got 11 Delawares, 5 roos and 6 hens. Yes I realize that's alot of roos but that's what we ended up with after buying fertile eggs -- I'll thin them out soon.

    They're about 4 months old now, should be ready to lay soon I think? We found an old egg-laying box (6 cubes, wire frame) in the barn and are planning on using this to collect eggs from. The problem is every time I fill the cubes up with hay for the hens, the next day the hay is all pulled out & spread all over the entire coop! Are the roos doing this? How do I get the hens to actually *use* this as their egg-laying spot?

    Thanks for the help! I'm a newbie at this!!
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Did you put a roost area in their brooder or just trying to get them to start roosting now? Our chicks usually start roosting at about 2 weeks of age, but we put the roost in the brooder area when they are 1 week old.

    Don't use hay for nesting material. Hay is feed. Use straw or wood chips instead.

    There should be a lip along the front of the nest boxes to help hold the nesting material in the box. If not, you can add one.

    Make sure the roosts are higher than the nest boxes. At night, physically put the birds on the roosts.
  3. Mortimer

    Mortimer In the Brooder

    May 6, 2008
    SW of Wichita, KS
    We brooded them in a very large plastic crate full of wood chips, no roost at all. Don't have a roost built yet just found the nest box a few days ago & filled it with hay.

    There is a small lip on the front but not more than maybe 1/2" high. I've got some pine 1 x 4's I think maybe I'll rip those in half & use thos instead, would be probably 1 1/2" lip. Would they be less likely to scratch out the wood chips if I used that instead?

    I've got plenty of lumber laying around, if the weather clears up this weekend I'll build a roost.
  4. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    The main reason to put a 'lip' on the nesting boxes is to prevent the eggs from rolling out. 1 1/2 inches doesn't seem tall enough to me...maybe go with 4 inches? I just made nesting boxes out of buckets and I used a 1 x 4 for the lip. Make sure the nesting boxes are low to the ground and they'll be less likely to climb in them and rake the shavings out.

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