Hens sleeping in nesting boxes

sunraysia

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
4
3
14
Sydney, Australia
Hi all,

I have 2 hens who have started laying and a younger chicken who I think is about to start laying (they're all around 22-24 weeks). About a week or two ago I started to notice poop in their nesting boxes, and this morning I found their eggs with a bit of poop on them (Yikes!). Today I figured I should go look whether they're sleeping in the boxes, and I found one of the hens in one of the nesting boxes, and then the younger hen also in the other nesting box. I then tried to gently place the younger hen on the roost, but she immediately moved back into the nesting box, and it made all of them start opening their mouths (It looked like they were yawning?) and I didn't know whether they were tired - because it was getting quite late - or stressed and didn't know what to do.

I was thinking maybe the nesting box is too close to the perches, or maybe there isn't enough room in the coop? Either way, I've heard chickens not sleeping on a perch isn't good for them, so I want to help them stop asap!!
 

Ted_Harrell

Crowing
Sep 23, 2019
2,406
9,714
436
Pembroke North Carolina
The coop I bought/assembeled has three nesting boxes adjacent to the roosting bars and my hens lay eggs in one box and poop in the other at the far end. I keep the bedding changed but they still occasionally poop in one of the nesting boxes that they do not use.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,065
138,226
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I was thinking maybe the nesting box is too close to the perches, or maybe there isn't enough room in the coop?
Roost should be higher than nests.

Need to know:
-your flock size(numbers, ages, genders).
-your coop(size in feet by feet, with pics).

Oh, and.... Welcome to BYC! @sunraysia
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upload_2019-9-24_9-45-41.png
 

oldhen2345

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jun 22, 2015
1,630
8,857
451
East Texas
I have had that issue with a couple of hens. They have plenty of space and the roosts are higher than the nest boxes. I started putting a board in front of the nesting box openings about 4 in the afternoon - the girls usually don't lay after that- and remove it around daylight when I go feed. They only have access during laying hours. It wasn't very long before the urge to sleep in the boxes left them.
 

sunraysia

In the Brooder
Sep 24, 2019
4
3
14
Sydney, Australia
IMG_9664.JPG IMG_9682.JPG
I have 3 hens all together, but I've been thinking of getting another hen but I don't think the coop has enough space. I just bought a coop from Bunnings which at the time I thought was amazing, but now that I know the roosts have to be higher than the nests I'm not too sure...

These are the dimensions from the website,
Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 9.30.58 am.png
 

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PlatinumEggs

In the Brooder
Apr 17, 2017
5
3
48
I'm at my wit's end for same reason. 2 fairly young hens pooping where they lay eggs and I've had to resort to laying newspaper on top of straw so I don't have to keep changing the straw. Tried to go to coop to pick them up from laying area and placing them on nearby roosting perch (soon after sunset) for a couple of wks but not only does one of them complain like a cat whose tail has been stepped on (hysterically funny) but they return to the same behavior over and over. Hesitate to block laying area cuz I'm not a "morning person" and I'd have to make sure to wake up early enough to prevent them from developing another bad habit like laying eggs elsewhere in their run. I'm almost ready to surrender and stockpile tons of newspaper!

I change hens every 2 yrs and a couple of generations ago I had the same problem and never tried to change it. This time I thought I'd try, but no luck. Fortunately eggs are for ourselves so we've gotten used to pretty filthy eggs.
I'm posting this cuz "misery loves company" although maybe there's still another option I haven't thought of!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,065
138,226
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I'm at my wit's end for same reason. 2 fairly young hens pooping where they lay eggs and I've had to resort to laying newspaper on top of straw so I don't have to keep changing the straw. Tried to go to coop to pick them up from laying area and placing them on nearby roosting perch (soon after sunset) for a couple of wks but not only does one of them complain like a cat whose tail has been stepped on (hysterically funny) but they return to the same behavior over and over. Hesitate to block laying area cuz I'm not a "morning person" and I'd have to make sure to wake up early enough to prevent them from developing another bad habit like laying eggs elsewhere in their run. I'm almost ready to surrender and stockpile tons of newspaper!

I change hens every 2 yrs and a couple of generations ago I had the same problem and never tried to change it. This time I thought I'd try, but no luck. Fortunately eggs are for ourselves so we've gotten used to pretty filthy eggs.
I'm posting this cuz "misery loves company" although maybe there's still another option I haven't thought of!
I block the nests an hour before roost time, then uncover after dark when I lock up.
Good to figure why they are not roosting.
They are "fairly young"(how old in weeks?), is there a separate roost for them away from the main flock?
Knowing more about your flock(numbers, ages, genders) and seeing pics of your coop(with dimensions) might help us help you.
 

MANNA-PRO

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