Is it so terrible that my girls like to sleep in their nestboxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by caralouise1974, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. I've been torturing myself over this issue for a while now... am I a bad mum because I haven't done anything to break this habit in my BO and bluebelle?

    There's only the two of them and there are two nestboxes, I clean out the poop every morning (so the eggs don't get pooey) and I'm never home from work before dusk (certainly at this time of year anyway) in order to try and break the habit by means of lifting them onto perches/blocking off the nextboxes, etc. Our bluebelle also lays very very early, so if I blocked off the nestboxes at night, I wouldn't be up early enough to open up in time for her to lay.

    The BO has recently been very ill too, so I feel like she needs whatever comfort she can get right now - I don't want to stress her again, as I'm just so glad I didn't lose her.

    All of this adds up to a certain laziness and reluctance on my part to break them out of sleeping in their nextboxes.

    Am I missing some awful consequence of this behaviour? Is there a really good reason for me to stop them doing this? Is non-perching bad for them? Will sleeping on the ground make them ill?

    Any advice gratefully received!

  2. jonesgirl

    jonesgirl Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    oo I only have one that perches and the other 3 sleep in thier nest boxes... I've never heard they were supposed to sleep perching? It will be interesteing to see the responses!
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    For the next week you are going to have to place them on the roosts where they belong.

    I'm doing it right now with two BSL and EE juvies.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Make sure the perches are wide enough so their feet are flat. They don't hold on to them like tree birds, rather they sit and rest on their keels. Poopy eggs is really the biggest issue of sleeping in the boxes. If you make the roost big, flat, and higher than their nest boxes, they will usually gravitate towards them.

    Even after dark, just put them on the roost and they will get the message.
  5. NancyDz

    NancyDz Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    I think the main problem with it is the poopy eggs, otherwise I don't think it matters. If you are cleaning it every morning, it's probably fine. I have a new BO that sleeps in it now too... I think part of her problem is she doesnt feel a part of the flock yet.. so I'm letting her be for now, although I dont always get out there early enough not to deal with a poopy egg [​IMG]

  6. Quote:Yes, but why? I keep reading that I will 'have to' break this behaviour, but is it really essential? Will their health be damaged if I don't?

    They've had rather a rough time in the first few months we've had them, what with a feather-picking cannibal (now gone, after we couldn't stop her odd behaviour), a serious respiratory illness, some new friends who they didn't get on with and who had to be returned, and quite a bit of fighting and stress - it just seems like I'd be better off leaving them alone to do what they want to do, whilst they are happy and healthy!

    If this is going to be damaging to them, then of course I will stop it right away, but if not, can't I just let them alone to sleep in peace?!!
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You can let them sleep in the boxes, it's pretty much the risk of poopy eggs. I suppose if they start to think the boxes are sleep only, they will only lay in the box that isn't the sleep box and may start laying on the floor in a corner. But it's up to you really, with just a few, it's not essential they learn to roost.

  8. jonesgirl

    jonesgirl Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    U usually don't get poopy eggs... Is that the only bad thing about them sleeping in their nest boxes? I almost think mine do it because it keeps them warm at night...
  9. Tad

    Tad Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    South TX on the border
    I have 14 hens and a rooster in my pen, and 7 large nest boxes, they seem to all wanna pile in and sleep in 2 nest boxes and use the others to lay in, a few sleep on the perch ???
  10. Jilara

    Jilara Songster

    Aug 4, 2008
    Bay Area, CA
    My Cornish X sleeps in the nest box all the time. She liked to get up on the perches, once upon a time, but the poor dear now has a HUGE body and little tiny wings, and just can't jump high enough to get up there, any more. I've thought of making her a chicken ladder, LOL!

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