Molting hens roosting in NESTING BOXES!!!

sallihennipenni

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
61
1
43
Central Illinois
Our 12 hens (1 1/2 yrs old) used to roost on........well, their roost! They've been molting for a while and aren't laying hardly at all. Now, we have several hens who go nighty-night in the nest boxes. Is this normal when they're going through the molt? Anyone else have this problem? What can I do about it? Let them go and keep cleaning the boxes, or take action?
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sallihennipenni

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
61
1
43
Central Illinois
Are your roosts higher than your boxes?

You can block the nest boxes off for a while till they "get it" since they aren't laying??

Yes, the main roost is higher. We have a few hens that go even higher though....up in the rafters. There's still about 4 hens that seem to like the nest boxes. Blocking off is a good idea. I think while they aren't laying, they're getting confused??
 

GardenSimply

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 14, 2012
43
1
23
Oklahoma, US
Could they be getting pooped on from above? LOL

My girls get much quieter when molting and while they're not laying. Some just seem to want quiet and peace and find that in sleeping in the nesting boxes. Me, I just let them. There are no eggs to break, it's warmer, it's cozier... sigh, now all they need is a fireplace. ;)
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
While the feathers are growing back they can be irritated by the growing feathers being jostled by the others while roosting, and sometimes will take refuge in the nest boxes. Blocking of the boxes is to me a good idea because you don't want them to get into the habit of sleeping in the boxes full time.
 

sallihennipenni

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
61
1
43
Central Illinois
Could they be getting pooped on from above? LOL

My girls get much quieter when molting and while they're not laying. Some just seem to want quiet and peace and find that in sleeping in the nesting boxes. Me, I just let them. There are no eggs to break, it's warmer, it's cozier... sigh, now all they need is a fireplace. ;)
Though poop bombs happen occasionally, the roosts and rafters are located that the bird can avoid this. Good thought though. I'm really curious if after sleeping in your nesting boxes.....did they go back to their roosts once they started laying again????

I agree that the girls probably like the boxes. As you said....warmer, cozier. Yes, a little "chickie fireplace" is all they need!!
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I've seen a few coops that nearly went that far with the luxuries!!!
 

sallihennipenni

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 6, 2011
61
1
43
Central Illinois
While the feathers are growing back they can be irritated by the growing feathers being jostled by the others while roosting, and sometimes will take refuge in the nest boxes. Blocking of the boxes is to me a good idea because you don't want them to get into the habit of sleeping in the boxes full time.

I never thought feeling irritated by the jostling....growing feathers, etc.... Maybe you're on to something! Thanks!!
 

GardenSimply

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 14, 2012
43
1
23
Oklahoma, US
I know, right? LOL Den in Penn brought up a good point ... they do get a little "touch me not". My grandfather would roll over in his grave if he could see what chicken coops have turned into these days in some places... I envy people that can keep a coop so "cool looking" LOL

We had a few guineas and an aggressive goose that were aggravating our flock, pulling out feathers and generally being bullies. Someone accidentally ran over the goose, when he actually lowered his head and charged the truck's tire... everyone thought he would get out of the way but he ran right under it and that was that. There were witnesses, he committed suicide, we did NOT want that to happen. The other goose is suddenly not aggressive anymore
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The guineas got so mean that, well, they just don't live with us anymore... point is, the feathers that those three birds pulled out of the chickens! And they started molting on top of it all (the stress didn't help) We have a little hen that got sunburned from a lack of feathering and the constant bullying (mind you, we have three acres that these birds all roam about on) and it has taken a bit for her to get feathers growing in. I made her a little calendula salve and she like the massages very much. She is now my lap hen. LOL

That is the only hen I have ever had that wanted anywhere close to me during molting. (unless of course, I had food) I have four that sleep on the ground in the coop (inside measures 20x10) for the last few weeks, and like Den said, they are roosting further apart, even though it is colder.
 

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