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Pullets sleeping in the nest box

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by j0n, May 6, 2011.

  1. j0n

    j0n In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    Roswell, GA
    My pullets are a little over 6 weeks old and I put them out in their new chicken tractor/coop last week (it's an A-frame design with the coop on top and a run at the bottom, the catawbacoops.com design). I finally got them going up into the coop at night by themselves, without having to manually pick them up and move them, but they're sleeping in the nest box area.

    Should I do anything to keep them out of the nest boxes for now? The problem is that they crap all over it, and I don't want them to get used to using it as a sleeping area if they'll also be laying eggs there. I tried removing the bedding (wood shavings) from the nest boxes, but they still sleep there. Should I try to block the nest boxes off for now, or will they be OK sleeping there? I'm hoping they eventually start sleeping on the roosting bar instead of packed into the box.

    It has been getting cold at night, so maybe they just like cuddling up with each other in the corner and they'll spread out when it gets warm.

    Here's a pic of my chickens:


    In this pic the two Wyandottes are on the roosting bar, but at night they sleep in the nest box (which is towards the bottom of the pic, you can't see it).

  2. SheilaTheBrave

    SheilaTheBrave In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2011
    My 4 little guys are doing the same thing....I'm interested in hearing responses, too!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yes, for that reason most people will either remove nestboxes or block them off, til pullets start to lay.

    If you are leaving the floor door/ramp open at night, they may be going in there b/c of cold drafts.

  4. kannna

    kannna Songster

    Jul 2, 2010
    Martha's Vineyard
    i blocked mine off with chicken wire until they got the hint. I unblocked it when they started squatting. Worked like a charm. [​IMG]
  5. Buff-Island-Australorp

    Buff-Island-Australorp Songster

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bixby, OK
    I have 5 gallon buckets sitting where my nest boxes are at, until they're ready to use them for laying eggs.
  6. mshirk

    mshirk In the Brooder

    Mar 28, 2011
    Sammamish WA
    I've got my nest boxes blocked off with a cut-to-fit piece of thick cardboard. I can't wait to see what they do when they get to laying age, and a whole new section of the coop opens up! (my nestboxes are external).
  7. sharol

    sharol Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    I started out with a tractor/hoop coop and ended up getting a metal shed and adapting it in October when it became obvious there wasn't room for my girls in there for the winter.

    While they were in the tractor, several of them slept in the nest boxes every night. Since they moved to the larger coop with more roost space, not one of them sleeps in the nests. They started laying in early December (at about 22 weeks for the youngest layer), but even before that, they didn't sleep in the nest boxes at all.

    Maybe they are just trying to spread out. I had decided that they liked the nest boxes in the hoop because they were more private (and they were overcrowded at night with the coop door closed). Of course there were times when they were little that they would crowd 3 of them into the same nest box (in the heat, in August -- silly birds), and I would have to go out and extract some of them after they dozed off and move them so they wouldn't overheat.

    I don't know if they would have stopped sleeping in there once they started laying or not.

  8. j0n

    j0n In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    Roswell, GA
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I'll probably block them off with cardboard for now.

    Quote:Hehe, mine do that too. They were all packed together up top panting but were fine when I put them in the cool grass downstairs. It's kind of funny having to move them around, they're so docile when they're asleep. No wonder they make easy targets for predators at night.

    Anyway, thanks for the info. I'll probably upgrade from the tractor/coop eventually. For now, it should be plenty for just 3 birds (15sqft total up top, 32sqft in the grass below). I don't know how long I'll be living in this house so I didn't want to build a permanent, hard-to-move structure. If I suspect they're distressed about their living conditions I'll see what I can do to fix it.
  9. CowgirlPenny

    CowgirlPenny Songster

    Feb 17, 2011
    South East TN
    I had this issue. The first 5 nights 5 of my 10 week old's crammed in ONE nestbox, and the other 7 slept on roost bars. I kept putting them up there but they would just jump back down and go back to the box. Tonight I went to close their door and all 12 were snuggled up side by side on the roost bars. Just keep encouraging the ones in the nestbox. I would also remove any bedding or straw that you may have in yours so they don't want to snuggle down for the night.
  10. gdplum

    gdplum In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2010
    .............my girls sleep where they want....dont you?

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