Molting hen sleeping in nesting box

K0k0shka

Crowing
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Jul 24, 2019
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All but one of my hens are done molting. The last one just started a few days ago, and for the past two nights she has been going to sleep in one of the nesting boxes. She isn’t acting broody at all, and doesn’t seem to be affected by the molt. Eats, drinks, poops and chases the pullets as usual. She’s a year and a half old. Is she cold? It’s been getting down to the high 30s at night. Her molt isn’t too bad (yet). Posting a picture of the worst spot, which is protected when she brings her neck in and fluffs up to sleep. There’s no exposed skin anywhere else. Is she going in there for warmth/shelter, or “just because” (I understand that the latter might well be the answer 😄). I would’ve guessed that huddling with her friends would keep her warm better than the box. She’s high ranking and bossy, couldn’t have been banished there by the flock. The flock consists of 5 hatch-mate hens a year and a half old, and 3 hatch-mate pullets, integrated for about half a year now. The coop is 5x7. I have closed the windows for the season, so there’s nothing blowing at the roost (lots of ventilation up under the eaves). Nobody is laying at the moment so I could just block off the nests, but the pullets should start soon so I don’t want to do it for long.

What do you think is going on here?

Here’s her molt level (worst area):
DEBACB25-2D88-4B7E-B0EA-3E4C2059CA3E.jpeg


And here’s their roosting setup (she’s the one by the wall on the right):
A59FDD88-108E-423A-B5C1-7DB2DA7E5736.jpeg
 

John_Lofgren

Chirping
Oct 26, 2021
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This has happened to me before too, don't worry about it. She'll start to use the roosts soon. Maybe it's because their wings aren't as full and they don't feel like they can jump up to the roost? Idk but this has happened a bunch to me and they've returned to normal very quickly
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
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Jul 24, 2019
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This has happened to me before too, don't worry about it. She'll start to use the roosts soon. Maybe it's because their wings aren't as full and they don't feel like they can jump up to the roost? Idk but this has happened a bunch to me and they've returned to normal very quickly
Oooooh good point about the wings! Hadn't thought of that. Makes sense. She's an Orpington and they are height-averse already, so I can imagine with missing feathers she'd be even less inclined to get up there. Even though I've given them intermediate "stepping stone" roosts so they don't have to fly their heavy butts up and down...
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
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I'm not sure what causes it but I had a speckled sussex do that once, at night I just pulled her out without a light and put her on the roost, no light so they can't see to jump off after a couple days she stopped. maybe it just seems comfier.:confused:
Yeah I've pulled them out of nesting boxes before (when broody). I use a light just so I can see what I'm doing, then when I'm done I turn it off and they stay on the roost. The most important thing I've learned about handling chickens after dark is I have to talk to them the whole time. The very first time I decided to pick up a chicken after dark (with only a dim light just outside the coop), I thought I'd do it quietly so as not to wake them up too much. I'd read that somewhere on BYC. Go gently and quietly and don't talk. Maaaaaan was that a mistake! (not everything on BYC is good advice...) They must have thought I was a predator sneaking up on them. The chicken I gently put my hands on exploded into a tornado of feathers and screams, banging from wall to wall before flying out of the coop (I'd left the door open so I could carry him out without having to fumble with the handle... extra stupid). We had an extended chase sequence around the back yard, both of us tripping over kids' toys strewn about the lawn, in the dark. I finally caught him and he only calmed down when he heard my voice (he'd been screaming over it until that point and couldn't actually hear me). I went back to the coop which was echoing with alarm screams, turned a light on and talked to the chickens until they calmed down (they are pets so they are bonded to me and calmed by my presence). They sat their butts down and went back to sleep as soon as I turned the light off. Now whenever I need to go into the coop after dark (to move a broody back to the roost, to check on something, etc.) the first thing I always do is announce my presence and talk to them continuously. Nobody has freaked out ever again. They respond softly with "oh, it's just you, cool" and we talk back and forth while I'm taking care of business. Then we say our goodnights and I leave a peaceful coop. The end.
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
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Jul 24, 2019
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Yeah the roost is RIGHT there why do you choose to sleep and poop all in the place where you lay your egg?!?!!
Interestingly, there was not a single poop in that nest... The first night I was too cold and lazy to go out there and move her, so I left her in, and the nest was clean in the morning. Which is weird, because they poop a lot at night. Maybe they have an awareness when they're in a nest, to keep it clean? Like how they (tend to) not poop while laying an egg or sitting on eggs. Tonight is the second night she's sleeping in there, the temperature outside is close to freezing, I'm warm and cozy in here and thinking I might leave her in the nest again, and maybe block it off tomorrow....
 

Chicken girl2671

Songster
Nov 2, 2021
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Yeah I've pulled them out of nesting boxes before (when broody). I use a light just so I can see what I'm doing, then when I'm done I turn it off and they stay on the roost. The most important thing I've learned about handling chickens after dark is I have to talk to them the whole time. The very first time I decided to pick up a chicken after dark (with only a dim light just outside the coop), I thought I'd do it quietly so as not to wake them up too much. I'd read that somewhere on BYC. Go gently and quietly and don't talk. Maaaaaan was that a mistake! (not everything on BYC is good advice...) They must have thought I was a predator sneaking up on them. The chicken I gently put my hands on exploded into a tornado of feathers and screams, banging from wall to wall before flying out of the coop (I'd left the door open so I could carry him out without having to fumble with the handle... extra stupid). We had an extended chase sequence around the back yard, both of us tripping over kids' toys strewn about the lawn, in the dark. I finally caught him and he only calmed down when he heard my voice (he'd been screaming over it until that point and couldn't actually hear me). I went back to the coop which was echoing with alarm screams, turned a light on and talked to the chickens until they calmed down (they are pets so they are bonded to me and calmed by my presence). They sat their butts down and went back to sleep as soon as I turned the light off. Now whenever I need to go into the coop after dark (to move a broody back to the roost, to check on something, etc.) the first thing I always do is announce my presence and talk to them continuously. Nobody has freaked out ever again. They respond softly with "oh, it's just you, cool" and we talk back and forth while I'm taking care of business. Then we say our goodnights and I leave a peaceful coop. The end.
Yeah I close my chickens up at dusk and talk to them but they can see well enough to jump off currently I'm roost training some 12 week olds and bonded to me they so are used to being picked up and they are expecting the routine they get grumpy when I don't come and give pets and talk to them in the evening.
 

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