Nesting Box Position


Sep 1, 2015
I need some advice on the position of our nesting boxes. The current design was working fine for our older hens. They sleep on the roost at night and lay in the boxes no problem.

We have 4 hens, almost 2 years old and 3 babies (5 months old). The problem is that at night the older hens will not allow the newer ones on either the upper or lower perch. This forces the babies over to the perch in front of the nesting boxes. They sleep here just fine, the issue is they poop in the boxes. I try to remove the plastic bins at night and return in the morning, but I would rather they slept somewhere else.

Here is the question:

Will they eventually work it out and be allowed on the perch with the other hens? Or should I move the nesting boxes down to the floor, put a barrier for poop above them and then add a perch on that side of the coop for the pellets? The other option would be to add a higher perch on the back to the right, with hopes the older hens want to use that?

Any advice you have is appreciated! Anything to avoid poopy eggs!

I have no experience integrating different age chickens to my flock, but hope you get some experienced opines.

But IMO the young ones are now at the bottom of the flock and bullied off the favored roosts? And nowhere else to go.

Looks like you have enough room to give them a separate roost of their own at the back of the coop between the other roost and nest area. Block them off the nest area for awhile and get them to go there? And perhaps as the babies age they will be able to move to the real roost area?

Following to see what other opines appear.
Sounds like they aren't just kicked off the favored roosts, they're kicked off all roosts?

Is there enough roost available for all the girls? Even during this unusually hot weather we're having?

If so, maybe do a little more reading on integration and see if there's anything else to do to help your girls sort themselves out?
My observation is that who ever has her hormone turned up will rule the roost. Soon as the babes start laying. They will get on the top roost. Until then, you can place them after dark so they all wake up on the same roost. After a few nights, it might become the norm.
Thanks I will trying moving them later in the evening. We had tried when they all go to roost but maybe that is too early.
The two young ones just started laying this week and we realized the third is a rooster.
I integrate younger pullets all the time. This type of problem is really common. I solved it by putting up a separate roost, lower than the main roosts and higher than the nest to give the young ones a safe place to go that is not the nests. Until they mature enough to force their way into the pecking order, they young ones are going to be scared of the older ones. Once they mature enough they will mingle quite well. For me this is often about the time they start to lay. I’ve had some fit in a bit before they start, that’s kind of rare. I’ve had some wait more than a month after they lay to fit in, but it’s always somewhere around when they start to lay.

I can see several options for you. Lower the nests but give them an intermediate roost. I would not do this. The older hens are laying in the nests now, don’t mess them up. But it might work. Put a juvenile roost on the far side of the coop, higher than the nests but lower than the main roosts. Put a higher roost on the far side. You can even try a roost the same height if you wish but I would make them different heights.

Since they are creatures of habit you may need to wait until it is dark and move them where you want them to sleep for a few nights. Keep the coop dark enough so they cannot see to go back to where they were. Sometimes they can be hard-headed but usually they catch on pretty fast.

Good luck!
Agrees, adding a roost for the juniors as RR suggests works great for me....
.......but you still may need to cover the nests and nest perches to force them to use the 'junior' roost.

I have a hinged board attached to nest bank that I flip down over nests and perch a couple hours before roost time,
then flip it back up when I lock up after dark so I don't have to uncover nests early in the morning.
It's either that or move the juniors off the perch and out of the nests after dark....or clean pullet poop out of nests.

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