Poop in nest boxes


7 Years
Dec 31, 2013
East Bay California
My chickens are pooping too much in the nesting boxes. They lay their eggs there as well so it gets messy. The poop amounts to a huge pile that, if I leave for a week, will cover the nesting boxes (yet they will still go in there no matter what). Any solution to stopping this habit?
Leave it for 2 weeks, then there won't be room for the hens.

Just kidding. Unpleasant though it may be, scoop it out with your hands (one hand, keep the other clean) when you get the eggs.

To keep it from happening - it's probably because they're sleeping in the nest boxes, right? You can try booting them out of the boxes at night or putting up a barricade but that's a real nuisance and has not worked well here. Make sure the nesting boxes don't look like a better sleeping place than the roosts (think like a chicken).

The only thing that has worked for me - it only worked once but I've only done it once and I cannot explain it - was to put a layer of dirt in the bottom of the nesting boxes under the thin layer of hay we use.

"Dirt" here in N. Florida means very loose dry sandy stuff that runs through your fingers. I used it because I thought it would make it easier to clean the boxes and protect the bottoms of the boxes. We went from nesting boxes averaging about half occupied at night to almost none and that lasted for months although it's time to try it again now. It was not just because of having cleaned them out, because we do that relatively often and this was the only change.

Maybe someone else has a better idea but those are my 2 suggestions ( 1: bare hands and 2: dirt).
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Don't allow them to roost in the nests and there won't be poop in them(except rarely).

Are they roosting in the nests at night?

Do you have enough roost space for all your birds(a foot of roost length for each bird)?

Are your roosts a foot higher than your nests? They like to roost in the highest possible place.

Do your nests have 'roofs' over them, or are they open on top? I would suggest that they be covered.

My experience was that I had some pullets that the older birds wouldn't let roost with them so the pullets wanted to roost in the nests. I put up another roost just a couple inches lower than the main roost and began removing the pullets from the nests after dark and putting them on their roost. Did that for a couple nights, then started going in at dusk and poking them in butt if they got into the nests(I have 'outside the coop' access to my nests boxes so this was easy). Pretty soon all I had to do was walk in and they would leave the nest and go to the roost so they didn't get poked in the butt. Took about 3 weeks total before they got in the habit of roosting on the roosts instead of in then nests.
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