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Help: Hens roosting in nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fightingbunny, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. fightingbunny

    fightingbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop has a non-ideal interior layout and the hens are roosting in the nesting area. I am very new to having chickens and my chickens are very young, 3 months old. I would like to change the interior of the coop now before there are eggs in order to keep them cleaner. I can not build a new coop or make any extreme changes to it this year. Is there an easy solution to help the chickens want to roost on the bars and not in the nests? It looks to me that the roosting bars are at the same level to the boxes and this is why they are going there. I am not sure how to change that though, as the front door prevents me attaching them higher. There is a tray that pulls out below the bars, so I can not mount the bars to the floor either!

    Thank you for any help!!
    Jennifer (and Princess Butterfly, Princess Melody, Prince Argos, Thelma, Louise, and Teenie)

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  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    For one you need round roosts that are higher up. Sometimes chicks don't go onto roosts until they are older. Give them time.

    Maybe you can nail a board across the door frame and attach the roosts to that for a temporary fix.

    By the way, you have a cockerel, if you didn't already know. Front chicken in last picture.

    Hope all goes well!
     
  3. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Move the roosting boards up higher than the nest boxes. This will usually stop this problem as chickens generally want to roost as high as they can.
     
  4. fightingbunny

    fightingbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do not have much in the way of carpentry skills. I am looking for help with how one would anchor poles higher up. Also, what sort of round poles would work well? Basically, if I go into Home Depot with a list, what would be on it?

    Also, do you think I should put a board over the boxes to make a ceiling? If so, how high? It has to be slanted so they don't sit on top right?

    Thank you for mentioning the rooster! He is definitely looking more roostery every day. Princess Butterfly has found a different path in life than what my daughter envisioned :) I am waiting until the last minute to re-home him to my uncle's farm and until he is being obnoxiously roostery, he gets to stay here with his hatch mates. I worry about him, as he is very gentle and sweet. My uncle has other roosters and I think when he is this young he would get hurt a lot worse than later when he has some size and defenses. Also, it may sound wierd, but he is useful for taking any potential predator away from my pullets. Whenever my dog or someone else's has gotten to the chicken area, Butterfly always seems to be the one that the dog focuses on. I guess this is nature's way of dealing with extra roosters?
     
  5. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1inch to 1.5 dowel rods work well for roosting bars. That and a handful of screws long enough to secure them in place is all you will need. A slanted roof over the nests would be a good idea as well. How far up depends on how big your hens are. 10-12 inches is a good average except for the larger breeds like Cochins, Brahmas, and English Orpingtons.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Those roost are fine for size.....1-1.5" rods would be too small.

    Add a board across door opening, inside coop, so you can attach roosts 6-8" higher than they are now.

    Probably want to cover up nests until they are closer to laying.
    Make an angled top for nests so they can't roost on top but you can still access nests from outside.
    Cover front of nests with something temporary.

    Tho I gotta say, that coop is too small for 6 birds....might want to at least get rid of that boybird.
    What is your climate/location?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  7. owlflights

    owlflights Out Of The Brooder

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    If I were you you, I would put a flat top over the nesting boxes to act as a poop board, then put one roost over that. If you still need more roosting room, I'd also put one across what is the back in the first picture. Also, as others said, I would suggest covering up the boxes until they are ready to lay to discourage them from sleeping in there.
     
  8. fightingbunny

    fightingbunny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It will eventually be only 5 chickens when the rooster gets re-homed. I agree that the run is way too small and they need more space. However, I am not sure they need more space for roosting. Having peeked in when they are asleep, they are all huddled together in one corner and don't even use half the space they have! Is this just because they are all very docile and grew up together? Even when hungry they don't fight for food. The male doesn't push anyone around either and other than circling the chickens when they are out, just acts like a hen.

    Part of the reason I went with a smaller coop was that I did not want to heat it in the winter and I was advised to not go too large for interior space for my planned 3 chickens. I am in Maryland, so the climate varies a lot with the season. The coop is on a hill and shaded for the summer. Even during the heat of summer, it was a lot cooler under the trees. The trees are deciduous so I hope in winter it is sunny and sheltered from wind.

    Btw, all those people that told me chicks would arrive dead, die a few days later, predators would take off some once outside, disease would kill even more, etc etc, were wrong for these chickens! I didn't plan on 6 chickens making it!!

    Thank you everyone for all the advice! This is a great forum :)

    Jenn
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Your birds are young yet...they'll get bigger, between the size of a gallon milk jug and 5 gal bucket.
    Picture, or put, five 5 gallon buckets in there.
    Smaller coop to retain heat is a fallacy..... ventilation is very important, which makes 'holding heat' moot.
    I'd give away one of the pullets along with the cockerel so you end up with 4 to overwinter....and move the roosts up.
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

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    This is my roost...I have 11 hens....

    Cheers!
     

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