My chickens won't stop pooping in their nesting boxes!!!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hen76, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Hen76

    Hen76 New Egg

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    I'm still a somewhat new chicken owner; I've had my two red stars for about 6 months now. Since we only have two chickens we bought a very small Summer Hawk Ranch coop. The roosts and nesting boxes are right next to each other. I have not been able to get one of them to stop sleeping in the nesting boxes and it's driving me insane. She makes such a mess in there and then they lay their eggs on top of the poop!!! I have to clean it out so often. Is there any way to stop this from happening!? Now that the weather is getting colder especially, I don't want her to be sleeping and stepping in her wet poop all night.

    Please help!!!!

    Here is a picture of our coop so you get an idea.

    [​IMG]

    Thank you!!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You will have to block off the nest box late every afternoon, and unblock it early every morning until you get her re-trained. Is the nest box below the roost? Is the roost long enough that they can both easily get up there? Is it far enough away from the walls and ceiling that they can roost without their beaks/feathers/combs being close to the wall/ceiling? What is the roost made of? What is the diameter of the roost?
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have two dozen chickens and several will try to sleep and even play and poop in the nest boxes unless I cover them each afternoon after everyone is finished laying. These miscreants aren't trained by blocking off the nests. They will be in the nest the minute I forget to block them, then it's a big fight to kick them out of the nest at roosting time.

    My nests are higher than the perches so it's not a matter of coop architecture. These hens are purely opportunistic rascals.

    In one coop, the nests are situated side by side so I use a scrap of metal field fencing to block them. In my other coop, the nests are stacked like bunk beds, so I fasten a length of plastic deer netting over the front of them. I do this every single day. Unless I forget. Then the hens are back in the nest when night comes.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    @azygous do yo mean your perches are higher than your nests?

    Agrees you will have to block nests...always thought a hinged door on the inside of those tiny coop nests would work and be easy to utilize.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have three nests lower than the perches, two nests higher, and an aging, dyslexic brain.
     
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  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    But you're adorable and I luv ya......

    I so agree with everyone...blocking off is your only option once you've made sure that the "interior decorating" is not the issue. Skinny, almost dowel-like roosts are what they generally put in pre-fab coops.....they look cute but that's where their selling points end! They aren't wide enough and are usually so close to the sides and ceiling of the coop that the birds brush up against them as they try to get situated for the night. You can block them off after you have your last eggs for the day, and then open them after it gets dark, which is a bit of a pain in the hiney. Or you can block them off after the last egg and re-open them in the morning, which is STILL a pain in the hiney, especially if you have an early morning layer. I've got a couple out there who lay immediately in the morning....when the sun comes up, the eggs come out. <sigh> I don't wanna get out of my nice warm bed and go out there that early - I'm way too lazy for that. But I'm also way too lazy to have to clean eggs and nests constantly so it's a draw.

    I just suspend a length of landcape fabric over the nests, rolling it up and tucking it behind the nests during the day and then unrolling and securing it to the underside of the nests with bungee cords after I've gathered eggs. I tried just leaving it loose, but then they really took a shine to that nice, dark, warm cozy nook so I had to keep them from just nudging the curtain to the side so they could climb in. I still have 4 out of last year's batch of chicks that I simply cannot break of the habit of sleeping in the nests. Broke most of them by none-too-gently removing them from the nests and dumping them on the roosts every time I saw them in there, but it doesn't look like you have the option of being able to walk inside your coop. With your setup it's going to take some persistence and imagination, I think. But you can do it....
     
  7. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't help you with your problem, but to help you and others to avoid that in the future with new pullets as long as you don't already have layers in the same coop.
    If your nest boxes are fixed, then block them off till about. 15 to 18 weeks, depending on how early your pullets are expected to lay. You want to unblock or install about a week before point of lay with straw and ceramic eggs. So they can discover and investigate.
    I have removable nest boxes and I didn't put them in till my pullets were ready to lay. They only go in to lay or when I change the straw to inspect if I did a good job.
    My roosts are level and higher than the floor of the nest boxes, chickens want to roost at the highest spot. If that spot is your nest boxes then that's where they'll roost.
    [​IMG]GC
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I have chickens of all ages in mine. I have pullets, hens, roosters, even chicks since I brood outdoors. And oh, yes, young roosters will definitely take sleeping in the nest boxes too if given the chance. So while I blocked off the nests for the first chicks I ever had and then when they were ready to lay pulled the covers, as you said that's not so feasible when you have girls who wait for those nests like they were in desperate need of an outhouse! And of course, even with "only" birds, once the habit is established it is a wooly-booger to break! [​IMG]
     

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