Perching on laying boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blamonty, May 26, 2010.

  1. blamonty

    blamonty New Egg

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    May 26, 2010
    So I need some help! I am new to raising chickens and have 12, 11 week olds. They are loving thier coop and run and seem to have what they need. I built laying boxes and set them on the wall of the coop about three feet up. There are four boxes on the bottom and four on the top. I recently (yesterday) built ramps for the chickens to get up to the boxes for when they start laying. They immeduately started using them to roost in. Pooping in and on them. I am wondering if I want them to be doing this? And if not, what do you do to change that. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. NancyinAlaska

    NancyinAlaska Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not an authority but.....................they aren't old enough to start laying, so they really don't need the nesting boxes yet. As far as a ramp to get to them goes, I don't think they would need it, chickens do fly. Do you have any roosts or perches? if not I'd sure make a couple. Good luck!
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    NO!! lol...you do NOT want them roosting there...no poopy nest boxes! Are their roosts higher than the nest boxes? Chickens typically will go for the highest place available. And how's space for your coop? You could easily get by with 4 boxes for 12 birds, so you may think about getting rid of 4 nests, unless they're all built in together.
    Either way, I would temporarily cover the openings with chicken wire so that they cannot perch there. I do use a perch for my elevated nest boxes (lower than the roost of course). So do you have ladders up to each nest box on top??? An attached perch spanning all four would take up less space if so.
     
  4. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:This is a new thought to me. So they sleep on their perch (which in my case will probably be a dowel coming out of a wall) and not in their boxes?? I am new to building coops as well and was not familiar with this. Do I need to make sure I have a long enough perch to fit four chickens?
     
  5. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm having the same problem. Your chickens aren't old enough to lay, so you could remove the nest boxes for now so it doesn't become a habit for them to roost there.

    What I'm planning on doing to break my chickens of this habit (mine only roost in the nests at night) is make a flap that covers the front of the nest boxes. I will close the flap at night so they can't roost there and then open the flap in the morning so that they can get inside to lay. Hopefully this will get the point across as to what the nests are for!
     
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello Blam!

    If it's possible, take those nesting boxes out, or block them off until about the 18th week. And what you can do, is put them on their roost each night, so they'll get into the habit of sleeping there.

    Now, my roost is a long 2x4, that's about two feet off the ground and goes from end to end of the coop. This a new coop that they've just started living in. My gals never had a roost before, and they hopped right up there and they love it!

    After you get your roost in, just set them on it around dusk, and they'll get the idea real quick.

    Sharon
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I agee with to this post. I'll repeat some and add a bit more.

    Make sure your roosts are higher than anything you want them to roost on or in. Make sure they can get to the roosts. If they are too high, they may need a step, perch, or ladder. With 12 chickens and the usual recommended ratio of 1 nest box for 4 laying hens, you do not need the top ones. If you can, I'd suggest removing them instead of just blocking them off. I don't like having any space the chickens cannot get to in the coop since it may give mice a place to nest.

    I also suggest blocking them off after you make sure the roosts you want them to use are the highest possible roosting areas in your coop. They are creatures of habit, so if you can get them used to roosting where you want them to, you are likley to do OK, especially if it remains the highest place in the coop. Somewhere around 16 to 18 weeks of age, open the nests up and put a fake egg in there to show them where to lay. They probably will not start to lay that young, but they might. You do want them to start laying in the nest boxes. They are creatures of habit and if they start laying somewhere other than the nesting boxes, it can be difficult to retrain them.

    I think it is a good thing you found out you have a problem before they started to lay. You have time to correct it. Good luck!
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Quote:This is a new thought to me. So they sleep on their perch (which in my case will probably be a dowel coming out of a wall) and not in their boxes?? I am new to building coops as well and was not familiar with this. Do I need to make sure I have a long enough perch to fit four chickens?

    The only purpose of a nest box should be for the laying of eggs. Yes, you should provide a roost (for 4 chickens, 3-4 ft. long) for your birds, higher than the nest box perch if your nest box has a perch. If your birds are standard sized birds, I wouldn't use a dowel unless they are chicks, as chickens don't grasp onto things with their feet like most wild birds; they sit on the object. Most folks just use a common 2 x 4 layed flat...the smallest I would go would be a 2x2 board.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  9. 4theloveofhens

    4theloveofhens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Love my chickens


    Thanks for the tips, I may have to do some redrawing of my coop plan since my perch is definetely not long enough or high enough, and I will consider blocking off my boxes until they are old enough. Great information! Had no idea that boxes were just used to lay and not to sleep! [​IMG]
     
  10. blamonty

    blamonty New Egg

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    May 26, 2010
    Thanks for all the responses. They will all be helpful tomorrow when I work on the next phase of the coop.
     

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