Keeping young chickens from nest boxes

CassieD

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2020
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Hi all, my chickens are 18 weeks old. They primarily sleep in the roost in one big clutch just above the open door. They don’t typically spread out to the roosting bars. In part I think it’s faulty coop design and probably because simply it’s hot at night here in Houston so they stay by the ooen door (inside a locked coop though) and a screened window. We are altering the other door to the roost to provide even more ventilation and a battery operated fan.
So I believe the faulty design is the height of the roosting area which is right next to nesting boxes.I have kept them separated by a perforated panel so they would not sleep in them.Two of my girls are larger and their combs and wattles have become a deeper red. I’m not seeing squatting behavior which I think they may exhibit when they get close to laying? Anyway I thought maybe it was time to Prepare to he nest boxes and give the access. We also raised the roosts bu several inches to make them higher then the nest boxes and removed them he barrier. Next morning I found the whole clutch grouped in the first nest box, a bit deeper into the roost. I’m thinking now I might just keep that one nest box blocked which still leaves my 4 chickens two nest boxes. I’ll provide some pics below. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to wait until I find random eggs in the chicken yard/run before opening up the nest boxes? are my roosts wrong, they are now a foot higher then the nest boxes. How do I keep the hens not laying yet from sleeping in them? Sorry this is so long...I’m a new chicken owner if you can’t tell :)
 

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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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So I believe the faulty design is the height of the roosting area which is right next to nesting boxes.
It's one of them.
The other is lack of ventilation, especially for your climate.
Have you been keeping the nest access open for ventilation?
2 nests are fine for 4 birds, but I wonder what are the dimensions of the coop and length of roosts. More pics might help
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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Guess I'm a little confused. Are those wood boards on the ground roosts? When I think of roosts being higher than nests, I think of that meaning higher than where the top of the nests are (so like at lowest, where that squat rectangular window is), which might be a little difficult in your coop, though possibly with some clever engineering it could be done

Also I would generally advise to open nests BEFORE they're ready to lay, to give them time to explore the nests and to ensure that they won't sleep in them - better to deal with birds sleeping in nests before they use them, not after.

Heat/ventilation is probably going to be a huge issue for you. What's on the other side of the chicken door there, a roofed enclosed run? If so, really would recommend replacing most of that wall with wire mesh.
 

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