Nest box sleeping.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dantodd, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. dantodd

    dantodd Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    San Carlos, CA
    I have 5 hens and 2 nest boxes. They have been sleeping in the nest box since I attached it to the coop at around 15 weeks. Well, now the 3 older girls are laying eggs and I don't want the eggs to get dirty from the chicken poop that invariably collects in the nest box. I've started finding eggs outside the nest box too so I really want them to see the nest as ONLY for laying, not for sleeping.

    I think that I will wait until the girls return to roost like normal and then after I close up the coop I will chase them out of the nest boxes and close them off for a few hours until the girls are well and truly asleep. Then in the middle of the night I'll re-open the nest boxes.

    My coop is one of the premade jobs and the nest boxes attach to the outside and I can open the top of the nests without reaching into/through the coop.

    Is there any downside or caveats I should know about?

    The only other approach I can think of right away is reducing the entry size and hoping that if they can't all get in the nest boxes together that they'll all stay out unless they're laying.

    Does this sound any better/worse? It would be considerably more work to alter the entrance because of the way the top of the nests work.
     
  2. papeine

    papeine Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 25, 2010
    Hastings
    when I first got my girls they were doing the same thing. They tend to roost in the highest spot possible. I but a board up, higher than the nest boxes and for a few nights I would go in and move them from the nest box to the roost. They eventually figure it out and quite sleeping in the nest boxes.
     
  3. dantodd

    dantodd Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    San Carlos, CA
    Well, I kicked the girls out of the nest box as soon as they were all in the coop this evening. That was 2 or more hours ago at sunset. I just went to check and the older girls are all still awake and apparently waiting for me to open up their "bed." I'm sort of annoyed right now because it's 9:30 and I want to go to bed soon. I guess if they don't go to sleep before me I'll just open the box and try again tomorrow. If so I'll let them fall asleep in the box and then move them to their roosts in the coop.
     
  4. chookhead

    chookhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 7, 2011
    i ams orry nothing to tell u because my hens sepaerted the 2 boxes themselves
     
  5. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2007
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    It is best to keep the girls out of the boxes for everything but laying. That's why I tell people not to put the boxes in the coop (or block them off) until the pullets have learned to roost. Wait until they are mature and ready to lay eggs before giving them access. Also, your chickens need plenty of roosting space, at least 6 linear inches per bird. If they're crowded, some of the birds will go elsewhere - the boxes. One other trick is to have the boxes lower than the roosts. Chickens want to sleep up high.
    If your hens do sleep in the boxes, it's easy enough to clean them - I have a kitty litter scoop in the barn and use it to scoop the poop out of the boxes in the morning. You can see two set-ups on my www. HenCam.com. The inside cam shows a set-up where hens do sleep in the boxes - they're at the level of the roosts and accessible from them. I wouldn't do that again. The chickcam shows roosts a distance from the boxes and the boxes low. No one likes to sleep down there, but they do lay there.
    -Terry at www.HenCam.com
     
  6. hispoptart

    hispoptart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2011
    NW Colorado
    My chickens were roosting before I attached my boxes. I attached them about two weeks before they started to lay. They didn't start sleeping in them until after they started to lay. Sounds like your coop is just like mine. So far I have been letting them sleep in it, I just clean it out.
     
  7. dantodd

    dantodd Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    San Carlos, CA
    I'm hoping that just blocking the entry until the girls are settled will work after just a few days. I won't deal with cleaning their boxes every day. The roosts should be higher, but there is plenty of space, probably 18"/bird. If this doesn't work within a few days I'll resort to pulling them out and putting them on their roosts after they are sleeping.

    Things I did wrong:
    As these are my first birds I wasn't really smart about features I wanted in the coop. When I need to re-build I'll make one much taller so that the girls can roost more than just 6-12" inches higher than the nest. Also, since I didn't know how to recognize that they were getting close to laying I did put the box on about 8 weeks before they started laying, though they were still sleeping on the floor and I'm not sure they would have been up on the roosts had I waited another 5 or 6 weeks.
     
  8. vsmenagerie

    vsmenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2011
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    Im having this same issue and I have older hens. I am thinking of a way to block off the nest boxes, because its getting old cleaning out so much poop LOL they have plenty of roosts they can go on.
     
  9. dantodd

    dantodd Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    San Carlos, CA
    well, this morning the nest box was clean so I am "assuming" the girls didn't go back in once I unblocked the box. Unfortunately I'll be gone tonight when they return to roost so I suspect I'll have to evict them when I get home an hour or so after dark.

    No to deal with the Delaware who laid another shell-less egg. This time in the coop and she apparently tried to sit on the egg as she has yolk all over her breast feathers.
     

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