Laying on the roost - winter question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vweers, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    okay I have a chicken, not completely sure which one but have my suspicions, that will sometimes lay on the roost now that it is winter. She always went into the box before the days got shorter. We have no lighting for other reasons which is fine. But just curious if it was normal during the winter since they I assume reach their light quota and then lay at night due to the shortened days. NOt sure but she never did it before so I am guessing it is that but thought I would ask here.
     
  2. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My theory is they take turns using the favorite nest box, which for my birds is usually the same box but not always. If for some reason the box is occupied when they need to lay an egg, they may lay outside the box. I usually find eggs in the floor of the coop and sometimes in the poop tray under the roost.
    Your theory that they may run out of daytime hours and are laying at night my be correct. Is something different happening that may make the nest box unavailable? Do you have a new layer or a broody that's taking up too much box time?
     
  3. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2015
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    It is possible that one of the birds (as much as we push them out) is sleeping overnight or blocking the nesting box at night. I always find it when I open up the coop in the morning never during the day. If they lay during the day then it is always in the box only if I find it in the morning that it is under the roosts. I only have two layers right now and neither are broody but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the other chickens who insist on being near or in the nesting box to keep warm are prevent her in the morning so she just lays from the roost.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Why are they sleeping in the nests?
    Bad habit that should be broken.

    More info on your coop size, flock population, roost length, etc, might help us help you to 'fix' the situation.
     
  5. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not like I let them sleep in there but I am not going to go out there every hour at night to make sure they aren't but they boxes are right next to the roosts so if chickens are there and not moving when the other one wants in, I can't make them stop it. Especially if it is before I even get out there. We push them out of the nesting boxes every night. but I can't guarantee they don't sit right next to the box and block it for everyone else. So it isn't like I 'let' them sleep in there. I am not worried, just asking. Since they were all laying in the box before winter hit. I have 6 chickens and have no idea how long the 2x4 is that is in the roost. the coop was made before I got it and my husband estimates it as 12x12x12. I think that is what he said. If they lay during the day, it is always in the box. It is only when I check it in the am about once or maybe twice per week that it is in the bedding below the roost in the morning at sunrise.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like the roosts being right next to the nests is causing a problem, so maybe move the roosts..or the nests?

    There are a couple things that will help keep the chickens sleeping on the roosts instead of in the nests or on the nest perch...if you're interested:
    Roost should be at least a foot higher than the nests..... they like to sleep as high as possible.
    Roost is best to be about 1 foot long per bird to provide plenty of room for everyone to get situated/shuffled around at roost time.

    When I have new pullets in summer, I put up a separate roost for them and still have to block the nests off before dusk to keep them from sleeping in there.
    I don't like poopy eggs so I make the effort to block the nests before dusk then uncover them after dark when I lock up the coop.
    Found that rigging the nest cover was much easier than going out after dark and moving the birds from nest to roost,
    once you move them to the roost after full dark, they will stay there.
     
  7. vweers

    vweers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2015
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    I think we discussed this before about the roosts. And our coop (we didn't make it, a previous owner did) isn't not set up to do that. At least 4 birds can sit on a roost so they are plenty long enough. I don't like poopy eggs either and for the most part they don't sleep in them but sometimes we are not able to get in there to push them out depending on life that day. But since the roosts are right next to them, it makes it harder for the ones on the opposite side of the coop to get there before but I might see if we can alter things but if we alter things, we might as well make an entirely new coop as I am pretty sure based on my husbands comments, it isn't possible to alter the one we have without basically redoing the entire thing. I will see what happens in the spring but I am pretty sure she will go back to laying in the box but we will see.
     
  8. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens don't move around at night. So if one needed to lay an egg at night they'd lay it on the roost. I don't think it would matter if another chicken was in the nest box because they wouldn't move off the roost to go there.
     

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