most of flock not laying, but roosting in nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by siouxbee, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

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    May 8, 2007
    my coop is small -- 4 x 8, and only about 3 feet tall. I've got four nest boxes (2 over 2, 12 high x 12across x 18 deep) and 7 hens, 2 of whom are laying (as well as three roosters -- ack!)

    since only a couple of girls are laying, I find that the other hens are using the nest boxes to roost in, as evidenced by the little piles of poo in them. I don't want to close them off, because i'm still finding eggs on he floor of the coop and want to encourage that girl to use the nest boxes.

    so how do I keep the slackers out? or at least prevent them from pooping in the nest boxes?

    thanks
     
  2. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Songster

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    Aug 18, 2007
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    Couple of questions:
    Are there roost places available?
    Are the roost places up higher than the nest boxes?
     
  3. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

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    May 8, 2007
    Hi --

    Sorry, had connectivity issues and didn't check this board when I was able to get on.

    Well, the roosts are not higher than 2 of the nest boxes. Basically, my coop is a 4 x 8 building that is 3 feet tall in the front, and 2.5 feet tall in the back.

    The nest boxes line part of the back wall, 2 over 2. So 2 nest boxes are floor level, and the others are 14 inches above the ground.

    The 3 foot tall front of the coop is where the roost is, and the roost is a 2 x 4 type board about 6 inches or so off the ground. I can't really go much higher with it, can I? Wont' they hit their heads on the ceiling when they jump up?
     
  4. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Songster

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    Aug 18, 2007
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    If there are nest boxes that do not get eggs then I would remove them or block them, for now, especially if they are the upper ones. Most hens use the same ones to a degree. So I would eliminate the ones with the brown stinky "eggs" and keep the ones with larger symetrical eggs. [​IMG] Especially the higher ones. Seriously, try blocking the higher ones off for a bit!
    Randy
     
  5. texaschickmama

    texaschickmama Songster

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    I had the same problem. I have a separate nesting house and a roosting house. I ended up having to block off the nesting house at night.
     
  6. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

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    May 8, 2007
    Ok, I'll give it a whirl. I brought a flashlight and peeked in toinght when I shut shut the door. Our 2 hens (interestingly, the ones who don't have a pal of the same breed any longer, also the ones I suspect are the only layers in my group) were perched in the 2 top nest boxes.

    For some reason, no one wants to sit in front of the roost where the window is -- I'm not sure but suspect that it might be colder in front of the window -- not a draft, but just colder than they plywood wall, or maybe the motion-detector spotlight that I occasionally forget to turn off entirely. Anyway, the end result is that there's no more room on the roost except there. During the summer (which was also their first intro to the coop) the window was the top spot.

    Tomorrow when it's "nice" at 35 degrees, I'm going to go clean out the coop, including the nest boxes, and figure out a way to block those two off. Sometimes one of our silkie roos likes to sleep in the bottom nest box, but he was just on the floor outside it tonight.

    Thanks for all your help!

    Siouxbee
     

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