My Chickens are Sleeping in their Nest Boxes


9 Years
Oct 5, 2010
My Barred Rocks Hens (2) refuse to perch to sleep in the main part of their coop. Instead they like to cram themselves into their nest box and sleep in what resembles a chicken "ball" - - legs, wings feathers all mixed up together. Is this normal? They never perch.

I thought I read that if the hens start sleeping in their nesting box they will not lay eggs there. Our coop is pretty small, and that is the only option we have for nesting. We have tried to shut off the nesting area so they get used to sleeping in the coop area, but as soon as we open the nesting box back up they go and sleep in there. Any suggestions? Is this even a big deal? They are about 21 weeks old and we are awaiting the arrival of eggs any day now. Could this be some sort of weird egg laying behavior?

Thanks for any input!
Are they hanging out in there during the day? That is odd. I have had chickens try and sleep in the nest boxes at night, but during the day they do not care to be in there unless laying an egg, or broody.

Do you think they are getting hassled by other chickens and seeking refuge?
The normal suggestions will include making sure your roosts are higher than your nest boxes, possibly placing the birds on the roost after dark, and/or blocking the nest box area over night.

I concur with the question about being in there during the day. Are you saying you block it over night and then when open they go in there during the day and sleep?
No, during the day they run around the back yard or are in their run. They are our only hens so they are not being hassled. They just like to sleep in the nesting box at night. Our coop is pretty tiny and level so the got the nesting box on one side and on the other side they have a small roost that is about 3 inches of the floor. Our coop design could not allow for more. That might be the problem, that the roosts are not high enough... not sure, I am a true first timer!
Yes, you somehow need to get your roost higher than your nest boxes and up off the ground.

Otherwise you're going to have poop/cleanup problems which will compound come egg-laying time.
I have a few girls that like to sleep in the nest box. They never have an issue with not laying because it's where they sleep - they all lay well. The only problem I do have is that sometimes they poop in the box upon waking, but even that is not usual. I have read that hanging a curtain in front of the nest box will help curtail this, but I haven't tried that myself. Maybe someone can attest to the efficacy of that?
I have three game bantams, all sleep tucked up in their nest box at night, all lay well in there through the day, i recently bought four young hens who are yet to lay, they have all taken to sleeping in the nest box,i'm gonna leave them there, i don't see what the problem is...they're all happy!!
My pullets started sleeping in their nesting box shortly after the first one started laying eggs. All are not laying yet but only the bantam roosts at night. The perch is a fine height for them and they all used to roost. I want them to roost so no poop gets on the eggs they lay. They do look so happy all tucked in together.... advice?


New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom