My chickens sleep in the nesting box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LunaChicken, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. LunaChicken

    LunaChicken New Egg

    Dec 26, 2012
    Ever since I got my chickens, about a year ago, they have been sleeping in the nesting boxes. I don't like this because they sleep and lay on the poopy bedding. I'm going to re-construct my coop -- should I encourage them to start using the roost at this point by blocking off the nesting boxes at night? I know to put the roosting perches up higher than the nesting boxes.

    I am in Oregon and it can get kind of cold (lowest around freezing). Also, one of my four birds has a little bit of a limp. I am concerned about her ability to perch on a roost all night and the cold.

    Suggestions? Thanks!!!!
  2. LunaChicken

    LunaChicken New Egg

    Dec 26, 2012
    I'm also concerned that at this age they might not be able to break the habit.
  3. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    I got my girls 3 months ago, and to begin with all 3 of them tried to sleep in two nesting boxes - a bit of a squeeze! Following advice from others on BYC I spent every night picking them up and putting them on the perches, and blocking the nesting boxes off with a bit of cardboard in front of them. It seemed to take forever, but in reality it must only have been about 3 weeks until the girls got the message and stopped going into the boxes at night.

    I did make one major change in that time - the perches that came with the coop were small dowels, and the girls didn't seem to like them, so I replaced them with a piece of plank (about 3 1/2 inches wide), which they much prefer, especially the largest one, a Marans. What type of perches do you have? I found that changing to a wider perch made all the difference to their willingness to stay up there for the night. (And my perches are only 4 or 5 inches higher than the nesting box!)

    Now that the colder weather is here I have put shredded paper on the floor of the coop for insulation (I only have a mini coop - rabbit hutch style - and I clean out the poop and any wet or dirty paper each morning.) From time to time one or other of the girls decides to sit on the floor for the night rather than perch. I can only assume that they have their reasons, and since they don't seem to get any more mucky than if they perch, and the floor is quite well insulated, I don't bother to move them.
  4. Chicken Frenzie

    Chicken Frenzie Chicken Whisperer

    Nov 2, 2010
    When I first get my chicks, they always sleep in the nesting boxes. If you keep putting them on a perch every night, they soon get the hang of it. Orsometimes they figure it out themselves, but you usually need to put them somewhere else.
  5. ComfortChickens

    ComfortChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 7, 2012
    Edgewood, WA
    Interesting question! I also have a girl that has decided one of the nesting boxes is where she wants to sleep. She didn't use to sleep there and all the others roost as usual. Should I be encouraging her to roost or is it fine that she likes spending her evenings in the box. Thanks!
  6. Brookliner

    Brookliner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2012
    Southern New Hampshire
    I have a Cochin frizzle that doesn't fly very well and who gets colder than my other hens she likes to sleep in the nest box as does a special needs hen that I have. All the other hens sleep on the roost which is a 2 x 3 with the 3" side flat where they roost. My special needs hen is mentally challenged and also the lowest on the pecking list. My Cochin frizzle is the top of the pecking list. So who knows what goes on in a chickens brain. :lol:
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  7. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've had some problems with this, too. My coop has a nesting area separate from the roosting area and my hens all quickly figured out which was which (golf balls in the nesting area helped) but recently some pecking order issues came up and I kept finding my Speckled Sussex hen sleeping in the nesting area. I tried to social engineer the situation by moving her over with the other hens and "disciplining" them when they pecked her, but after a few days I would find her taking refuge on the nesting counter again.

    Then after a few more weeks it just somehow resolved. Maybe it got cold enough that they were all willing to roost together again for warmth? Not sure, but for the last few weeks all has been well.
  8. Jules21

    Jules21 Out Of The Brooder

    Gosh seems like I'm not the only one having problems with my chooks sleeping in their nesting boxes and not on their perch!
    3 weeks to retrain, really!!! yikes.
    I blocked off the boxes last night, but they somehow managed to scrape, move and upset my invention and slept on the cardboard, plastic heap. So still had chooks not on their perch!!!
    I did pick one up and put on the perch, don't know if she stayed there though. Seems like I need to keep doing that. I knew chooks weren't going to be work free, but wow, training them to sit where they should every night is going to be tiresome lol. I didn't know chooks pooped even in their sleep :-(
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    Most of mine sleep on the perches, about 5 sleep on the perches in front of the nest boxes (which is OK with me), about 5 sleep on top of the nest box roof (also fine with me) and about four just really want to sleep inside the nest boxes. Drives me nuts. I pull them out every night and put them on the perches, but they just don't get it. And they probably never will, since I can't block off my nest boxes since there are some super early layers in my flock.

    I just tell them they're rotten chickens every night, and to cut it out. Doesn't seem to be working, though! Maybe I need lessons in how to be a motivational speaker!
  10. OrganicMamma

    OrganicMamma Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    I got my girls a few months ago at just over a year old. They used to sleep perched high in their old coop but ever since I brought them to my place and new coop they started sleeping in the nesting boxes. (In retrospect I think part of the problem was I had clipped their wings) Now they sleep on the edge of the poop box under the roosting bar, except for a few who still prefer the edge of the nesting box. (At least the bulk of the poop is going in the poop box now) I know if the roosting bars are too big or too square sometimes they don't like to roost on them. But despite their odd perching behaviour, they are still happy, healthy and laying. If yours are too I wouldn't worry too much about it. Depends on the breed too and how flighty they are.

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