sleeping in nests?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gaeamama, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. gaeamama

    gaeamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2007
    WMass.
    Why are my hens now sleeping in or on their nest boxes?
    They used to sleep on the floor or the roost, now they've taken to sleeping in and on their boxes! Two usually crowd into one box, one sleeps up top, and the fourth sleeps on top of other, higher up boxes that no one uses, but I keep a waterer up there for pigeons.

    Here's the history:
    * got 6 pigeons about a month ago that share the space, but generally stay up in the rafters... no problems between chickens/pigeons.
    * a little while later we had a possum problem for a couple days.. he's now gone.

    I'm thinking they started sleeping up in and on the boxes when the possum showed up... makes sense. But they're staying up there and the boxes are becoming a mess with their poo!

    I do need to redo their roost and that might encourage them to go back there. It's made like a ladder out of tree branches, but it's gotten crooked and one rung is broken.

    Oh, and we put in a large dog crate for a sick-ish chicken approx 2 wks ago. Sometimes the pair that crowds into a box will sleep in there. I do plan on moving that crate out. Maybe there's been too many changes lately? Or were they scared up high because of the predator (possum)?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Herechickychick

    Herechickychick Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2009
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    I've seen people put doors on their nest boxes just to keep them from sleeping in them. you could close them at night a open them early in the morning. I dont know if this works, i've never tried it, but if this really becomes a problem you could try it. Good luck![​IMG]
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Re-do your roosts. Make sure they are not wobbly and are higher than your highest nest box.
    If the pigeons are roosting directly above the chicken's heads they may not like that rustling going on above them, but that's just a guess on my part.
    When, despite building everything just right, I had two hens that decided to start sleeping in the nest boxes I went out every night and moved them to the roosts. If you're persistant they will get the hint.
     
  4. gaeamama

    gaeamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2007
    WMass.
    Yeah, I'll definitely redo the roosts... and higher too. I think that should help.
     
  5. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    California
    I also think re-doing the roosts is a good idea. I notice mine sleeping in the nesting boxes when they were moulting and it was cold. ONce their feathers came in, they resumed sleeping on the roosts.
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Good that you'll remodel the roosts.

    I didn't have problems with pigeons and chickens together but the chickens will not be happy to have the pigeons pooping on them [​IMG].

    They are frightened of things invading the coop. I've noticed a change in behavior because of mice. It's understandable and we can understand that they see a nestbox as a safer place than the floor. Good thing the possum is gone but sleeping in the box will become a habit [​IMG] - don't allow it.

    Put something in the nestboxes in the evenings or go out there with your smallest flashlight and move them onto the roost immediately after dark. Nest boxes are for eggs. You may be encouraging egg eating or laying on the floor or both [​IMG].

    Steve
     
  7. gaeamama

    gaeamama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2007
    WMass.
    Thanks!

    I just spent the day cleaning out the coop and put up another roost for them. I went out just now and they're all back in their regular places [​IMG] So tomorrow I'll figure out something to block the nests at night and encourage them to the roosts.
     
  8. Montana-Hens

    Montana-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2008
    Buxton, Montana
    I had this problem and now I have a little plywood I slip in front of my next boxes at night....

    What made them decide to change I'll never know but it put an end to it.
     

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