help.. hens are sleeping in nesting boxes

Minnie417

Chirping
Aug 24, 2019
29
18
54
first time chicken owner. we have 4 hens. we have a coop that has 3 nesting boxes inside. then attached we built a big run for them to have more space along with letting them free range everyday for a few hours. they always sleep huddled together in the back corner of the coop in the far right nesting box.. also the only square/box they have started to lay their eggs in. there are two roosting bars inside along with one outside. everyone knows how much chickens poop so need any tips/advice to get them to stop sleeping/going the bathroom where they lay their eggs. we are open to adding onto the coop or any reconstruction needed. they are 4 1/2 months old
 

Matilda Belle

Crowing
May 16, 2018
2,016
3,036
346
SE Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
My hens sleep in the nest boxes when they are broody and sometimes go to the bathroom there. Not sure how you can stop them from doing that. I just clean it out regularly (weekly).
 
Nov 5, 2018
793
1,487
247
Birmingham UK
Can you post photos of your coop? Are your roosting bars higher than the nest boxes? Also what do the roost bars look like (it matters how straight and thick they are and whether there is enough space for all of the chicken's on them)?
Chicks naturally sleep huddled together in a nest when babies until they are old enough to fly up to perches, then they naturally begin to prefer being as high up as possible. By 4 and a half months, they should be roosting. Sometimes they need a bit of encouragement by showing them where to roost, I. E. Going in the coop at dusk to move them onto the roost bars for a few days.
 

UrbanHenKW123

Songster
Jun 25, 2019
92
156
106
Kitchener - Canada
I'd check your roosting bars and see if you can make some adjustments to those. Do you have anything that could be causing a draft where the roosting bar is? That could be making them want to sleep lower. I'd also block off the nesting boxes for a week or two and see if that helps get them roosting. Best of luck!!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,285
28,242
1,077
St. Louis, MO
If the roosts are significantly higher than the nests, just block off the nests in late afternoon and they won't have a choice but to sleep on the floor or on the roost. Once they do that a couple nights, it will be come habit. If they choose to sleep on the floor with the nests blocked, you can put them on the roost when they go to sleep. It will become habit. It is a habit that should be established long before they start laying eggs.
It sounds like a manufactured coop. As you've discovered, 4 hens only need one nest.
What breed/s of hens are they? Silkies aren't big on roosting very high. Most of my chickens have opted to sleep in rafters of tall buildings.
To block the nests, use plywood, sheet metal or even cardboard.
 

TexasWineGuy

Songster
Jun 15, 2019
274
469
136
Magnolia, TX
Can you post photos of your coop? Are your roosting bars higher than the nest boxes? Also what do the roost bars look like (it matters how straight and thick they are and whether there is enough space for all of the chicken's on them)?
Chicks naturally sleep huddled together in a nest when babies until they are old enough to fly up to perches, then they naturally begin to prefer being as high up as possible. By 4 and a half months, they should be roosting. Sometimes they need a bit of encouragement by showing them where to roost, I. E. Going in the coop at dusk to move them onto the roost bars for a few days.

This is where I would concentrate. Roost bars too low will not trigger their "seek higher ground" instincts.

Please post pics of coop internals.

TWG
 

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