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

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickyMomm, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. ChickyMomm

    ChickyMomm Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello everyone, I'd like a little advice with a problem I'm having. My hens won't stop pooping in their nesting boxes, even though it's where they lay their eggs. I really don't know how to confront this problem... I always put a decent amount of bedding in, but they kick it all out, poop to the point where it's gross and caked up, lay their eggs in the poop, and then poop on top of the eggs. I've tried washing the eggs, but they get a gross stain on the shell and people that usually would buy my eggs think it's gross. How do I make this stop? I clean the coop pretty regularly, but they do this process so fast that it's becoming overbearing to deal with and I'd rather just have them poop elsewhere that's easier to clean than the hard to reach nesting boxes.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sounds like with that much poop, they're sleeping in the boxes.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I agree, sounds like they're sleeping there. Can you describe your coop set up, or give us pics? The roost needs to be the highest place in the coop, and not over the nest boxes. Chickens are powerful creatures of habit, so you may need to physically block off the nest boxes at night to keep them from sleeping there.

    I have one hen who pretty much always poops when she lays an egg, and I understand what you're saying about the shell getting stained. But what you're talking about sounds like a LOT of poo!
     
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  4. ChickyMomm

    ChickyMomm Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm pretty sure they sleep in there, too. My coop is a basic wooden one that was put together in some rushed time, so it's really not a very good one, but it gives them shelter from the elements which is the only reason why I even keep it. The nesting boxes can't really be blocked, otherwise the hens will be crowded because there isn't a lot floor space. My father was the only that built the coop, and I need to ask him to help me make a better one, because this small little disaster doesn't even have a roost for them. I think he made it in the idea that they'd all sleep on the ground or something...
     
  5. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Make sure your roosts are higher than your nesting boxes as they will automatically gravitate to the highest point to sleep. I've had to block off nesting boxes at night and then open them back up first thing in the morning to keep one hen out. She got the idea after a few nights. Good luck!
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If you can forgo the current boxes, do so. If you can tear them out, do so.

    All they need is a milk crate or two with straw, tucked into a dark corner. The chicken by instinct, is a ground layer fundamentally. The instinctively roost in lower tree branches to feel safer.

    All we do is work with, cooperate with those basic instincts. That's all we do.

    Give them quiet, personal, private and darkish place to lay on the floor or the coop, and they'll use them.
    I'm afraid if you don't make a radical change with your setup, you're condemned to box cleaning and poop covered eggs for some time. Hope it works out for you.

    BTW- All you need is one box for every 5 or 6 layers. That's it. They prioritize their turn, according to pecking order, as a rule.
     
  7. Urban Flock

    Urban Flock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your not going to fix your problem unless you make an area where they can roost. They have become used to sleeping in your nesting boxes. Unless as noted above you make some changes to the coop you will continue to have the problem. Once you figure out some type of roost it will take retraining them. Just block off the boxes at night and open them up early in the morning and after a few times they will naturally go for the roost. When we introduce new chicks into our flock there is always a few that want to sleep in the boxes because they feel safe. I just put empty 3 gallon plant containers in there so they don't have enough room to lay down. They figure it out pretty quick.
     
  8. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is all you need to know.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sounds like a remodel project [​IMG] Keeping any animal is often a live and learn type of thing. We have a nice section devoted to building coops, you might want to cruise around there and get some ideas for your new, improved housing.
     
  10. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1st priority is to add a roost bar. It doesn't need to be fancy, but allow at least 8-10" per hen for medium/large fowl. A 2x4 whose edges are sanded will work fine. Fence brackets (USP 2" x 4" Fence Brackets) work great for installation, as the 2x4 will slip right into the bracket (they're about 70 cents each at home improvement stores; I got mine at Lowes).

    Install the roost bar so it's higher than the nest boxes, but not over the nest boxes. Once this is in place, cover the nest boxes (e.g., with cardboard) for a couple of nights until they get used to the roost bar, and uncover the nest boxes in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015

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