1. Nonna ilse

    Nonna ilse New Egg

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    Oct 28, 2014
    I have three rescue hens who free range all day and are put to bed at night in a nice coop with nesting boxes and a perch. They all three are great friends all day long, but at night they choose to sleep in their nesting boxes and will not perch. I wouldn't mind so much, but they poop in the nesting boxes and I have to clean these each day, so they don't have to lay in the poop. Also one has finished moulting and gone back to laying each day, but the other two are still slightly bedraggled and are not laying, no matter how much my husband threatens them with talk of chicken pie.
     
  2. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
    Sounds like the are use to being in a cage
     
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Is your perch higher than the nesting boxes? Chickens like to sleep at the highest point possible. If they are the same or at similar heights, raise the perch if you can. You can also seal off access to the nesting boxes so they learn to sleep on the perch. Should only take 1 or 2 nights before they get the idea and you can re-open the nesting boxes for egg laying.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto roosts higher than nests.

    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 always roosting on the roosts instead of in the nests.
     
  5. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Funny you mention moving chickens by hand. I added 6 new chickens this year, and spent 3 weeks carrying them inside the coop at night. They would all roost in the pen, where the other 12 chickens would all go inside the safety of the coop. I thought it never end, and did not relish doing this every night. Then after 3 weeks, only 4 were outside, then a couple days later only 2, and finally everyone is inside every night. It took the a few more weeks to get up onto the roosts, they were sleeping on the ground with the ducks. Then they made it up onto the lowest roost, which is used to get into the nesting boxes. A few days later they were all up on the main roosts with everyone else. I think it was chicken intimidation, and the new ones did not feel welcome enough to join the others.
     

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