How do you keep them out of the nest boxes at night?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CovenantCreek, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    My girls like to sleep in their nest boxes, which makes the bedding very dirty by the time they start laying eggs in the morning. During the summer they were using the roosts but now that it's cold they like to pack themselves into the small spaces (often more than 1 to a box). I've tried putting the perches "up" to block the entry, but that doesn't stop them -- they either knock the perches down or by pass them all together. They have the roosts, they have deep litter, they prefer the boxes. Any ideas?

    And if I should somehow manage to block their entry into the boxes at night, how do I get them unblocked for laying short of going out to the coop at 4:00 AM? :eek:
  2. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    I had a couple that decided to start roosting in nest boxes, I placed them back on real roost and after a couple of days they got the hint.
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:When do you go in and do that? Timing is everything around here -- the girls go into their coop while I'm fixing dinner, by the time I can go back outside it's really dark...... will it matter if we can't see each other while I'm trying to move them?
  4. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    after dark with a flashlight works fine, who knows it may startle them and the realize they dont like the middle of the night wakeup so they stop going in nest box.
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Just a couple of ideas:
    Are your perches nice and wide? When it gets cold my girls like the wider perches because they can cover their feet better with their feathers when they roost.
    Are your girls getting fat? [​IMG] My old fat Dorothy prefers to sleep nestled in the hay instead of on the roost.
  6. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    I have six next boxes and they were always in three of the six (the higher ones). I put empty gallon milk jugs in there. I guess they decided the perch was better than the lower nest boxes and they are back on the perch. And laying in the lower nests. I will take the milk jugs out in a couple of days.
  7. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Maybe they need to be warmer?

    Chickbea's advice is great.

    If they are cold and need to double up, then maybe they should cuddle together whether or not they poop in the nesting boxes.
  8. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:The perches are the 2" side of a couple of 2"x4"s. Although it was cold last night, low temps have been in the 40s for the past week or two, so most nights they haven't been cold -- and even last night one of them was roosting on the window perch and it looks like occasionally someone digs herself a little nest in the litter. Since they spend all their time out and about, they haven't had time to get fat yet.

    I think I'll try mdbucks idea tonight, since I don't have any milk jugs. Hopefully a few nights of being interrupted in their sleep will have them using the roosts again, at least until it really does get cold. Thanks for all the ideas.
  9. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

    May 8, 2007
    i have this same problem and someone else asked me how high my roosts are. the top two nest boxes in my little coop are higher than the roost. they suggested that this is contributing ancd that if I raised the roosts it would correct.

    good luck -- let us know how it works out!

  10. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    The 4" side of the 2x4 should face up so they can cover up their feet with their feathers.

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