Remove or block off nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hotchickmomma, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. hotchickmomma

    hotchickmomma New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2012
    My 4 hens are 3 months old. About 10 days ago we moved them into a new coop and they're already comfortable with it. Inside the coop are a roost and 2 nest boxes. At night, they've been sleeping on the roost or on top of the nest boxes and during the day they'll be in the run or they free range, but never spend much time in the coop and have paid no attention to the nest boxes except to climb on top of them. A couple of days ago I put a golf ball in each nest box, so that when they are ready to lay they'll know what it's for. Today I noticed the hens weren't in the run or free ranging, even though I'd propped open the door so they could get out. When I checked the coop, I found all 4 of them piled into one nest box. I chased them out, but they kept getting back into it. They were in there all day and only came out for food and water. From everything I've read, they shouldn't be ready to lay for a couple more months, so I don't think thats it. Did the golf balls attract their attention to the next boxes and now they've decided they like them for just hanging out? Normally when they free range they spend a lot of time just sitting under the bushes. Maybe the nest box feels like hiding under the bushes? Will this be a problem when they are ready to lay? Should I close off the nest boxes until they're about ready to lay? Or should I just ignore it and see if they continue to do it? Tonight when I checked them, they were back on the roost. So why only be in the nest box during the day?
     
  2. 15shenyl

    15shenyl Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    4
    91
    Jul 14, 2012
    Yakima Washington
    I have a pullet, who is now 7 months and laying sence 5, and she thinks she needs to hatch out all the eggs the other pullets lay, she rolls there eggs to her box. They may think they need to hatch the golf balls. Or if it's cold they may be in there to keep warm, mine do that, all 7 of them pile into one tinny nest box.
     
  3. hotchickmomma

    hotchickmomma New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2012
    I doubt that they're cold. I live in the Phoenix area and it's still in the low 80's during the day and in the high 50's at night. I just wonder if it's a problem for them to hang out in the nest boxes. Will it discourage them from laying in them? Other than getting poop in the nest box, is there a problem with them hanging out in there?
     
  4. 15shenyl

    15shenyl Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    4
    91
    Jul 14, 2012
    Yakima Washington
    I don't think so. I don't know about the poop. My pullets know not to poop in them. One of my pullets hasn't come out for a week, only to eat and drink. I think as long as they come out to eat and drink, they should be fine.
    Also, I know when I had my roosters, one on mine would go and hide in the boxes because it was getting pecked by the other chickens, are they being bullied, or something scairing them?
     
  5. hotchickmomma

    hotchickmomma New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Sep 22, 2012
    Nope, no bullying. There's only the 4 of them and they all cram in the one box, even though there are 2 boxes. And nothing that I know of is scaring them. We have 2 dogs, but they get along with the chickens really well. I think they just like it in there. But I guess I don't understand why they'd choose to do that over free ranging in the yard. Maybe they're just figuring things out since it's new. And I don't really care that they're in there as long as they know to lay their eggs there too, when the time comes and it doesn't get too messy.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by