One Hen Sleeping in Nesting Box

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LifeOnTheMt, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. LifeOnTheMt

    LifeOnTheMt Just Hatched

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    I have one young hen (Pearl) that I find sleeping in a nesting box when I close the peeps up for the evening. All the others (eight youngsters and mom) are on the roosting bars. By youngster I mean roughly 16 weeks old. They are almost as large as mom now.

    Is Pearl a loner or is she being pushed out? There is plenty of room to roost.[​IMG]
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    She might be getting picked on. Do you see that behavior during the day when they are all out and about? Also, are the roosting bars higher than the nest boxes? Sometimes if they are not they will use the boxes. You might try to manually place her on the roost after dark a few nights in a row. Or, you could block off the boxes right before they head to bed and see if that encourages here to join her pals. If it's not getting picked on I think she just need to get into the habit - with your help- of using the roosts. Good luck to you!
     
  3. LifeOnTheMt

    LifeOnTheMt Just Hatched

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    The roosting bars are higher than the nesting boxes. She does tend to get into skirmishes but they all seem equally ruffled. Thinking they are all still working out their pecking order. Mom lays her eggs in that one nesting box. And mom is not consistent - she lays at all hours and I don't want to mess that up. I feel very lucky that I'm getting any eggs right now.

    Two nights ago I found two youngsters sleeping outside that nesting box and Pearl in the next box over. Just seems weird to me.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You say they have plenty of room to roost, could you pleased translate that into feet and how they are set up? One long roost or two or more next to each other? Maybe a ladder roost? A photo would be great. Are the only chickens you have the hen and her chicks or are there other chickens in there?

    It’s not all that unusual for chickens to be kind of rough when they are settling in for the night. The ones higher up in the pecking order can be pretty brutal when they kick the weaker members out of the preferred roosting spots. Especially when you have immature chickens a bully might go out of her way to pick on them. Without knowing a little more about your specific situation it sounds like the ones lowest in the pecking order are being picked on when they go to the roosts so they are looking for safer places to sleep. That’s often a nest box.

    I’m always integrating younger chickens into my flock. This “roost behavior” is so common I put up a juvenile roost, higher than the nests but a little lower than the main roosts and separated horizontally a few feet. It made my life easier.
     
  5. LifeOnTheMt

    LifeOnTheMt Just Hatched

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Our roosting bars are in an "L" shape. Hopefully this picture is clear enough for you to see. Measures roughly 39" x 30". We have 10 chickens total. Mom and her 9 chicks which includes one rooster.

    They have access to their run at night where their food and water is located. I open their run doors each morning for them to stretch their legs/wings and then close them in again at dusk.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I think you don’t have quite enough roost spade. If you can add a third roost in there somewhere I think the situation could get better.
     
  7. LifeOnTheMt

    LifeOnTheMt Just Hatched

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    After reading your article I agree. Would you recommend higher, lower or adding another bar perhaps parallel to the rear cross bar?
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I would not go lower, they are pretty close to your nests. I'd probably go the same level but higher could work.
     
  9. LifeOnTheMt

    LifeOnTheMt Just Hatched

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    Thank you SO very much for your input!!!
     
  10. texsuze

    texsuze Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll put in my 2 cents here, if that's ok [​IMG]

    If you decide to add another roost, perhaps try using a 2x4 (flat, 4" side facing upwards) with the corners smoothed down a bit. Makes for a nice, secure roost with more space for the girls to keep their feet warm in the winter.

    Also, I have one hen who simply prefers to sleep in her nest box. I have no problem with that. I let my girls decide for themselves what is most comfortable for them. If another hen wants to use that box, the two girls will sort it out.

    With the younger birds it often takes a while for them to figure out their system and what works within the pecking order.

    Enjoy!
     

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