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Hens sleeping / pooping in their laying boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PopVultureATX, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. PopVultureATX

    PopVultureATX Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Hello!

    I've got two hens that are happy and healthy, but due to the cold weather and despite the fact that I've got the coop well covered, they've taken to sleeping (and pooping, ugh) in their laying boxes instead of roosting. Naturally I don't want to eat their eggs when I go to collect them and find them sitting on top of a pile of poop.

    I've tried putting things in the boxes at night to block them, but as soon as I stop doing it, the hens are back in there, nested up comfily.

    Is this normal? Also, am I worrying too much about the safety of the eggs? Any advice on how to stop this habit?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. PopVultureATX

    PopVultureATX Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Also, I should note that even when the weather's warmed up a good bit (I live in Austin), they still do it.
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    You need to block off the nest boxes at night to keep them out of there. And go out after dark and see where they are. If they are not on the roost bars at night, put them up there. They should stay on in the dark. This will help teach them to get back to roosting. Of course remove the nest box blocks during the day. You may need to block them for a week or two until the birds forget about the boxes. :)
     
  4. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a couple that do this also....I'm usually out there before the start laying for the lay to make sure nesting boxes are nice and clean... very rarely do I have a problem after I clean it out in the morning with poopy eggs. :)
     
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to do this... We put up more roost for them after adding the Pullets to the big coop with the older Chickens, I still have a few die hard hens that refuse to roost anywhere but the nesting boxes but I am going to try to go out after they go down for the night and move them... Its going to depend on who is more stubborn I'm sure...[​IMG]
     
  6. cheekydog

    cheekydog Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2013
    We had this problem and it drove me crazy with the poopy eggs and boxes. It took around 2-3 weeks of moving them onto the roosts in the evening before they slept on there out of choice. Once you move them to the perch they should stay there for the night. Good luck :)
     
  7. PopVultureATX

    PopVultureATX Out Of The Brooder

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    Great – thank y'all so much!

    I imagined that blocking off the boxes and re-training them to use the roosts was the thing to do, so it's excellent reinforcement knowing that this is a common problem / solution.

    While we're on the topic, is there anything y'all would recommend for cleaning the nesting boxes a bit? Unfortunately some of the poop/pee got into the wood, but I'm sure that eventually a large percentage of that will fade. If there's something safe though to sanitize the boxes a smidge, I'd love to hear about it.
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    You can use a bleach/vinegar solution in a spray bottle. You can also use a product called Oxine. Either of these are a great disinfectant. You can also just scrub them down with some antibiotic soap. But dry them thoroughly. You can then sprinkle in some DE to help it dry it up a bit and ward away any bugs that might also like to nest in there. [​IMG]
     
  9. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Usually it's my young pullets sleeping in the nest box because an older hen pecks them off the roost. I toss the bully hen into another pen for a week and manually place the pullet on the roost and that solves the problem.
    Poopy eggs aint going to kill you. If it bothers you, just rinse the egg with warm water to soften the crap and hit with a small soft fingernail or scrub brush and it looks good as new.
     
  10. PopVultureATX

    PopVultureATX Out Of The Brooder

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    Haha yeah, I gotcha... I'm definitely not scared a little poop on the eggs (hey, they both come out of the same place), but it was just sorta gross seeing an egg on top of a big pile of it.
     

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