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Hens sleeping (and pooping) in the nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by feathersaloft, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. feathersaloft

    feathersaloft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Help! My birds have plenty of perches, and 4 nest boxes.
    The hens basically use 2 of the nest boxes, but they sleep and poop in all 4.

    What can I do to discourage this? I'm tired of poopy eggs, and they think that clean shavings means go poop it up!
     
  2. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are your roosts higher than the nests?

    Are your roosts too close to the wall or ceiling? They need 12" - 18" clearance depending on size/breed ...
     
  3. feathersaloft

    feathersaloft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Roosts are higher, and spaced out. None within 4' of ceiling, we have a very high ceiling in the loft by accident.
    It is mostly the younger hens in the nest boxes.

    We are building a second coop, and want to be sure we get this solved so we don't continue this problem in the new building.
    I now have 46 birds, 40 of them hens. 16 of those POL, the others younger.
    We are planning to eventually have 100 hens, with several separate pens for specific breeds for hatching eggs.
    I don't want poopy hatching eggs!

    I may try going out after dark and just moving them to perches for about a week and see if that stops the behavior. Retrain them to new habits.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Your pullets don't have adult hens to show them the way, so moving them to the roosts at night may be your best option here. My youngsters will sometimes start on the edge of the nest boxes, or on the bar in front of the boxes, and then transition to the higher roosts where the hens are. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might also try closing off the nest boxes when it's time for them to go to bed...then going out in the morning and reopening them. They should figure it out in a short period of time.

    Some pictures might help everybody troubleshoot for you!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    I filled a feed bag with hay and made a sort of pillow to stuff in the nest boxes. Works great as long as I remember to put them in.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes younger and/or lower pecking order chickens don't feel welcome up on the roost with the others ... They hide out on the floor or in nesting boxes.

    In time with training by you putting them on the roost at night AND blocking the nesting boxes at night, they should do alright.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. rides2far

    rides2far Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All great ideas. We used a big piece of cardboard to block off nesting boxes. Putting on the roost will work, too. Love the idea of the pillows[​IMG]
     
  9. barneveldrerman

    barneveldrerman Chillin' With My Peeps

    My idea is to build a flap that you can close at night so they wont go in. you need adult chickens to show them but putting them on the roost every night for a week should teach them.

    Hope this helped!
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    Are your roosts wide enough?
     

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