One option, although it requires you to mess with it several times a day:Any thoughts on how to keep the girls out of the box without blocking it from Bigs? I havent had this issue before because inhavent integrated laying hens with pullets. Ive always blocked the boxes until close to pol and never had any birds sleep there.
Any thoughts on how to keep the girls out of the box without blocking it
Just checked after sunset, all 5 are in the coop…bigs and 2 girls are on the roost.
NatJ's suggestion is certainly one possibility. Just figure out how it can fit your schedule. One possible downside is you don't know when they have switched and will put themselves to bed on the roosts until you skip doing this once. But as well as things are going you're probably willing to invest a little work. I would not expect it to take that long.Any thoughts on how to keep the girls out of the box without blocking it from Bigs?
The way I handle this is to go down after dark when I lock up and toss them out of the nest onto the coop floor. Let them know it is not a safe place to sleep.
Girls are still inhabiting the nesting box, 3 of them squeezed in there this morning. They have scratched all the bedding out and i have to go out every morning to replace it. On top of that, i am pretty sure 3 of the 4 have not left the coop in 3 days. I am not sure if they are stubborn enough to kill themselves from thirst (the waterers are in the run). Should i move a waterer into the coop or leave it out and assume they are going to venture out to the run when they are thirsty. I have only witnessed 1 of the new girls in the run the last 2 days (unfortunately i can't tell them apart to know if it is the same one or not).
Bigs isn't bullying them, i have seen her walk into the coop and eat out of the feeder without paying them any mind. I am debating whether to leave them alone (i have read more than once on these forums that "chickens are much better at being chickens than we are") or kicking them out and locking the coop during the day to force them to get used to their new home.
I have added several pallets, plywood box, and there is a brooder that provides cover. I hope you are right about them sneaking out when i am not looking. If i go out this afternoon to remove them and show them the water and other feeders, should i close the pop door to prevent them from going right back in and let them spend the rest of the day outside? I don't want to stress them more but would like to show them that their entire run is a safe space and their home.Can you add some cover in the run so that they don't feel so exposed out there?
After several days like that I'd be inclined to gently pick them up, carry them out to where the food and water are, and make sure they know where to eat.
They might be sneaking out when you're not looking, but it might not hurt to make sure.