how to get bantams to quit roosting in the nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Daisy8s, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Songster

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    I built my coop this summer to fit larger breeds of chickens (buff orpington and light brahmas). However, after losing several birds to predators I accepted a gift of three bantam hens from a friend. The bantams are clearly scared of my bigger birds and they've retreated to sleeping in the nesting boxes and roosting on the lip. All of the birds are young so the bigger birds haven't started laying yet but they should any day now. The lip on the front of the nesting box (to keep the straw in) is a not quite a half inch wide strip of plywood so I didn't think any bird would be comfortable roosting on it but these bantams won't roost on the big perches (2-3 inch wide limbs with bark on from a fallen tree). There are three levels of perches but even when I put the bantams on the smaller perch below the big birds after dark they'll be in the nesting boxes come morning--with lots of poop to show they've been there awhile.

    Here are my questions. 1. Can I convince the bantams to quit sleeping in/roosting on the nesting boxes? 2. Will my bigger birds lay eggs in the nesting boxes (two boxes, each 17"W by 12"H by 15"D if the bantams are in there?

    Any suggestions are much appreciated!

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Really the only thing you can do is block off the nesting boxes at night and open them up in the morning. I have the same problem with a rooster that likes to sleep on the edge of the nesting box, while his "girlfriend" sleeps inside one of the nesting boxes. I'm just too lazy to go out in the dark and relocate them, or block off the boxes. So I just clean the poop off every day. (sigh)

    I'm sure the little bantams will just be "shooed" away by the bigger hens if they want to use that particular nesting box.
  3. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    I second the blocking thing. I went through the trouble of doing that for about a month; after that they figured it out. My rooster tried to talk them back into it a short time later, but another week of the block did it, and they've never tried it again.
  4. henparty3

    henparty3 In the Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    My three Warrens do the same thing.. they have plenty of space to perch, but they cram themselves into the nest boxes at night. There are 2 nesting boxes, so the third chicken just sits on top of the other two.. not quite sure why they are doing this, but it does mean having to change the straw more often, as it does make quite a mess. I have started blocking thir access to the nest boxes, but i can hear them scraching and scrabbling trying to get in, so maybe they havent got used to the idea of perching yet. I have had them for about 6 weeks.

  5. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Songster

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    Thanks for the advice! I hadn't thought of blocking off the nesting boxes but now that you say seems kind of obvious! I'll do that for awhile since no one is near the age of laying eggs yet....then just at night when they're near the age.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by