Sleeping in nest box or floor


In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 28, 2011
I've got a bottom-of-the-pecking-order gal who insists on sleeping (and pooping more poop than I thought was possible) in the nesting box. I've put her on the roost after dark. I've showed her how to use it during the day (which she will happily do). And I've moved her to the roost after dark, but she just goes back in. Got some good advice to close the nest off at night, but this girl just sleeps on the floor and waits for me to forget to close it off again.

Ideas? Do I just have to add an extra nesting box and let her win this battle?
I'm new to chickens, but thought that I'd say that I have a hen in the same situation as yours. We only had 2 (Major losses this year) and my omega hen was not allowed on the perch anymore. It's been a cold winter and she started sleeping in the nest boxes. Neither were laying anyhow, so I let is slide.

Now I've added 3 more 15 weekers (2 pullets and a roo). Those 3 are crushed into one next box, omega hen in another and my dominant hen sits on the perch all by herself!!! As soon as she and her omega buddy leave the coop during the day, all 3 of the 15 weekers have been running over to the perch to practice. I added a second, lower perch and the 3 younger guys are using that at times. But, omega is still in the nest box at night.

For better or worse, I'm leaving her alone. If we get into summer and alpha hen is still the only one on the perch at night, SHE'S taking a cage time out for a while!

I only have 3 nest boxes and no room to add another. Chickens!
Yes! Glad I'm not alone. The three kids in one box is kind of hilarious, if it wasn't your reality.

Every night I'm almost at peace with the decision to just let my omega gal do her nest sleeping thing, but every morning when I'm shoveling out more poop than the day before, I get renewed energy to fix the problem. Doesn't help that she's the sweetest chicken I've raised yet...
Well is there a cure for this? I have 5 hens that have been raised together. Two have started to lay. All five sleep in one box. They started out on the floor, then moved to the roost, and have settled in the box. I assumed they got cold during the winter and started sleeping in the box. I never tried to change it I assumed they would go back to the roost. Should I move them at night or will they go back to the roost on there own someday. There are 3 nesting boxes and they are only using one for sleep and I have found eggs in both of the others but mostly in the just one box.
I have a low in the pecking order girl that sleeps in the same nest box EVERY night-I just gave in and let her sleep there and clean it out every morning.
Sometimes you have to pick your battles-this one, she wins, I lose, game over.
I have had the same problem with one of my girls. Every night I would go in and put her on the roost. I also took the straw out of the particular nesting box she was sleeping in. She finally got it and now sleeps on the roost. I had got her with another chick and both of them were introduced and were like the bottom of the pecking order. Those two both sleep on a different roost then the older girls....
Hope this helps just keep putting them on the roost it might take a month but wait till they are in bed and go in with a flashlight and put her back on the roost maybe a different roost then the other girls. Does she have a buddy to roost with?
We raised 2 Silkie chicks and they always slept in a box together. Then we bought 3 five-month old Cochin mixes, 2 hens and a roo, who slept on the roost. Now, two months later, all 5 of them pile into a large plastic box at night filled with wood shavings in the corner of the coop. They apparently prefer it to sleeping either on the roost or in the next boxes. Sometimes they habg out on the roost together during the day but at night they cuddle up in the box.
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I had this problem with 3 of my girls and the only thing that fixed it was making roosts at least 8" higher than the nesting boxes. I haven't read the other replies so perhaps this is redundant, but it's definitely what worked for me. Not that I still didn't have to train them to use the roosts at night for the first week! Good luck
All good ideas. I'd heard the one about putting a roost slightly higher than the nesting box and did add one slightly higher, but will give the 8" configuration a try as well as keeping at the nighttime routine. She's thrilled to use the slightly higher than the box roost - during the day. Easttxchick -- I'll take the lost battle like you did, but have one other little wrinkle: she's a 30 week old production red who hasn't produced a thing yet. In the back of my head there's a little voice that thinks she's confused and is going to confuse the whole flock.

From my readings, the favorite approach after a slightly higher roost like Henderson suggested is a pizza box lid/cardboard over the nests at night. But that means if you have an early layer you have to run out and prep everything for her. If I'm out there at 5 every day removing pizza lids, all of the eggs had better be double yolks. For now, I'm wondering if 2 8 weekers I'm raising offsite will just replace her at the bottom in a few months and fix the problem.

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