My chickens only want to sleep in the nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by slothmonxtr, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. slothmonxtr

    slothmonxtr Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 17, 2010
    So I am new to the game, and had always wanted to have chickens. So I got bored this summer and built me a chicken coop. I got a variety of different chickens, 3 Ameraucana, 3 black sexlinked, 1 white silkie, 1 tan silkie, and 1 other one I don't know what it is. [​IMG]

    All of them but the one I don't know...I call her 'mother' are approximately 13-15 weeks old. Mother is much bigger and older.

    Onto my question....I have a 4 x 6ft coop, and a fenced in 18 x 25 ft run. In the coop, I have 4 external nesting boxes. I have 2 seperate roosts. One of them is approximately 16 inches off the ground, and the other is approximately 24 inches.

    Most of my chickens end up crowding/sleeping in 1 or 2 of the nesting boxes at night. I have seen all of them at one time or another on the roosts.

    My question is...Is it okay, or normal, for them to sleep in the boxes? Or should I block off the boxes until they are ready to lay? Or is there another method?

    Additionally, When would I expect them to start laying, or when should I switch their food to layer?

    I would appreciate any help and assistance on this matter.

    David from Utah


    The nesting boxes don't take up any floor space and are external to the frame of the actual coop
    This photo was before I installed the second, lower, roost. The nesting boxes are on the left
    and the exit to go outside is on the right in the picture.
    This photo was prior to me installing the ladder
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    If none are yet laying, I would close off the nest boxes until you see the first egg. I had to do that and it worked.... plus I put golf balls in the nests so they knew where to lay them!
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What Mahonri said, exactly. Block off the nest boxes for now. I keep golf balls in the nests at all times, don't even remove 'em once the girls consistently lay in the nests.

    I wouldn't expect eggs until the chickens are 20-24 weeks of age. You could start giving them layer feed at 20 weeks or once the first hen lays an egg. That would also be a good time to open up the nest boxes for them - with the golf balls in 'em. (Or go whole hog and get wooden eggs, instead.)

    OR, you could feed them grower/finisher feed, the equivalent of FlockRaiser, not layer feed, and provide free choice crushed oyster shell. The birds will take the oyster shell as they need it.
  4. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    [​IMG] what they said block em off. I don't thing its a big deal they sleep in them but you want to keep them clean. And you don't want poop in there when they lay. Where you from? Uk?
  5. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    I've had birds pack the nest boxes too however once they got to laying age or 6 months they started roosting.

    Nice looking little coop.
  6. DAFox

    DAFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    Silkies tend to sleep in a "pile" rather than roost. The others may be joining them to keep them company. Covering the nest boxes may work, but you may find them on the floor of the coop in a pile.
    After dark, put the birds on the roosts. Maybe they'll get the hint eventually. I have roosts for my Silkies only 6 inches off the floor. Some of them still rather "pile" in a corner.

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