Sleeping in Nesting Boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by EmilyP, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. EmilyP

    EmilyP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know I saw a post about this a while back but I can't find it now....

    Any suggestions on how to keep our chickens (and roosters) from sleeping in the nesting boxes?? (Aside from closing them off all together) We just started noticing them doing this! They had ALL (8) been sleeping out in the pen on one bar even in the rain but now my husband has noticed them getting into the nesting boxes at night. It hasn't been especially cold when they are doing it either (Georgia its only been getting into the mid30s at night) but its going to get much colder tonight and through the weekend. They have a roosting bar in the house to use as well.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    How old are these birds and have they ever made use of the interior roost bar? Can you show some photos of the interior of the coop?
    One option short of closing the nest boxes off is to simply go out at the time they go to roost and physically lift each bird from box to roost. It may take several nights of repetition for them to get the idea, but it generally does take hold eventually. However, it is important to also consider the roosts and interior of the coop to determine if there are other factors making the nest boxes the most attractive option as sometimes a simple adjustment is all it takes to help them decide for themselves.
     
  3. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    In addition to what @Ol Grey Mare said, make sure the roosts are higher than the nest boxes. By instinct, chickens like to sleep in the highest possible place and if the nests are positioned higher than the roosts, the chickens will prefer those.
     
  4. EmilyP

    EmilyP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are about 8 months old. When we first put them in the coop they did not have access to the nesting boxes and slept on the roost just fine. The roosting bar is higher than the "top" of the nesting boxes. I will try to get a picture of the set up this evening. My thought is that the roosting bar outside has a piece of plywood over it so they would stop pooping in their food and water *was not originally intended to be a roosting bar* and they are too lazy to balance fully on the bar inside since it is smaller diameter. A second thought is that there isn't room for all of them to roost anymore? Wasn't an issue before since they weren't sleeping inside at all.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    If the roost bar inside is uncomfortable it is natural they would opt for a different sleeping place -- since you suspect the bar may be too narrow for their preference a simple step there would be to change the interior roost bar....it's not so much about being lazy or not, but about doing what is most comfortable.
     
  6. Joe19

    Joe19 Just Hatched

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    Is the roosting bar in an enclosed area? Or does it have a wall behind it? I know that hens like to feel secure. I saw a video once where a bunch of hens were on a roost and it had a wall behind it. The roost was extended for more birds PAST where the back wall was. The chickens would not use the new part until the wall was put behind the new extionsion. Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  7. EmilyP

    EmilyP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Was not able to get a pic this weekend as it was too dark. Yes they have a roosting bar inside of their house, it does have a wall behind it. I think the bar we currently have it not "big" enough for them they stand on the end where it goes into the wall and the other support board for the bar.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I do believe you have answered your own question. I'm guessing you have a pre fab coop which is not designed for the number of birds you have. They will seek out the safest place to spend the night. As neither the inside roost is big enough in diameter for them to comfortably perch, nor long enough for them to all perch there together, they are opting for the nest box. A perch should be at least 2" diameter. (IMO) I prefer a 2 x 4, laid on the flat. It should be at least long enough to allow 12" per bird. Once they are on the perch, they will crowd together into a shorter space, but, especially in a small coop, they need that much room to get up there. It also needs to be at least 12" away from the back wall, and have plenty of room in front of it to allow the birds to easily jump up and down from the perch without bumping the wall in front of the perch. It needs to be above the top of the nest boxes, and it needs to be at least 18" below the ceiling of the coop. The coop it'self should have a minimum of 4 s.f./bird if you have a small coop and flock. You can get by with a bit tighter spacing if you have a larger coop, perhaps 64 s.f. or larger.
     
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