Sleeping in nesting box

Padorna23

Chirping
Oct 19, 2020
71
80
78
New Jersey
Hey all, I have an almost one year old barred rock hen who has been sleeping in the nesting box for the past week. She was previously broody about a month ago but broody jail knocked that out of her. She was back to normal for a few weeks until I kept catching her sleeping in the nesting box. I thought she may have been broody again but she gets up and acts normal in the morning and does her chicken thing through out the day. She also has been the one girl who likes to keep to herself and do her own thing. Not sure if I should just let her keep doing her thing or not. Thanks for the help!!
 

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
29,000
47,833
1,232
Colorado Rockies
First, you need to block off the nest when evening comes. Nest sleeping isn't a good habit, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to break.

Next, you need to observe this hen's interactions with her flock mates to determine of there is an underlying social reason for this behavior. She may be picked on, bullied away from food, and if there's a rooster, chased around and mated beyond her endurance to deal with it.

Watch closely at roosting time. She may be knocked off the perch and stymied when she tries to find a roosting spot. You may discover you need to add more roosting space or lower perches if she seems to have trouble flying up to a perch.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
31,520
35,452
971
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I agree. When my chicks are young, I block off the nest boxes so they don't develop the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes. I have had it happen and then they poop in the nest box and then if another bird lays her egg in that nest and then poop is likely to get on the eggs and I hate poopy eggs. Lesson learned the hard way. Good luck...
 

Padorna23

Chirping
Oct 19, 2020
71
80
78
New Jersey
First, you need to block off the nest when evening comes. Nest sleeping isn't a good habit, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to break.

Next, you need to observe this hen's interactions with her flock mates to determine of there is an underlying social reason for this behavior. She may be picked on, bullied away from food, and if there's a rooster, chased around and mated beyond her endurance to deal with it.

Watch closely at roosting time. She may be knocked off the perch and stymied when she tries to find a roosting spot. You may discover you need to add more roosting space or lower perches if she seems to have trouble flying up to a perch.
I don’t have a rooster so that wouldn’t be the case. When I’m outside with them it doesn’t seem like she is bullied. I have a camera I will set up in the coop to check out the behavior when they go to roost. I’ve also been putting her on the roost with the other birds when i get home from work hoping that would knock out out of her.
 

Padorna23

Chirping
Oct 19, 2020
71
80
78
New Jersey
I agree. When my chicks are young, I block off the nest boxes so they don't develop the habit of sleeping in the nest boxes. I have had it happen and then they poop in the nest box and then if another bird lays her egg in that nest and then poop is likely to get on the eggs and I hate poopy eggs. Lesson learned the hard way. Good luck...
Yeah I had them blocked until they started laying, this hasn’t been an issue until this week
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
31,520
35,452
971
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Maybe there is a bullying issue and that is her escape. I have had that and then re-homed the bully. Usually once the bully is removed all is well and then the bully is in a new environment and then goes to the bottom of the pecking order. I have also removed the bully and put the bully in a cage for a few days then put her back with the flock and that sometimes works. I have several coops and sometimes have just moved the bully to another coop and problem solved because she is now not the alpha. Good luck...
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
29,487
27,186
997
Southeast Louisiana
The downside of her sleeping in the nest is that you can possibly get poopy eggs. Are you getting poopy eggs? Even if you are not now that can change in the future so I think it's best to change that habit because of the future potential.

Since this is a new development something has changed. It sounds like a change in the pecking order. It could be a hen has become the new dominant hen which can have trickle down effects. Maybe her being broody and then coming back has instigated some changes. It will be interesting to see what goes on at bedtime with your camera. My guess is that another hen is picking on her as she tries to settle down on the roost so she is looking for a safer place to sleep. By now she probably goes straight to the nest.

I don't know what your coop, roosts, and nests look like. Does she have a safe place to sleep that is not your nest, preferably one higher than the nests. Can you install such a place that is horizontally separated from the main roosts, higher than he nests, and a bit lower than the main roosts. If so you can try putting her on that at night instead of near he other chickens.

As long as you are not getting poopy eggs I don't see this as an emergency that demands immediate action though I think changing this habit is worth pursuing. A common phrase on here is to solve for the peace of the flock. I don't know that this is a peace of the flock issue but maybe a wellbeing of the flock. When I have this type of issue I've been known to remove the one doing the bullying but often I remove the one being bullied.

Good luck!
 

Padorna23

Chirping
Oct 19, 2020
71
80
78
New Jersey
So I checked the camera and it seems like she is just broody again… the past two days she’s been in the nesting box and started puffing up again when I go to grab her. No bullying just being broody, I just picked up some fertilized eggs for her to hatch so we’ll see how she does as a momma.
 

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