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Sleeping in the layer/nesting box!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 3nglishteacher, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. 3nglishteacher

    3nglishteacher In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2008
    My first flock -- almost 1 y/o free ranging EEers -- but sleeping and pooing in the nesting boxes has never been a problem until recently. Lots going on: 22 hens down to 2 eggs/day, about half are molting so feathers everywhere!, been cold lately (am in central VA) so was wondering if they're trying to get warm or just bein' ornery. The only big difference I can recall is that I used to use pine shavings but got too expensive, so I filled the coop with straw, including the boxes. Can't think how that would matter to a hen but .... any thoughts how to break this filthy habit?

    Many thanks!!

  2. eeiko321

    eeiko321 Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    Quote:hi, apparently straw is alot better to use for chickens than pine shavings especially due to the fact they crap in the coop.

    you might need to move them.

    im pretty sure its normal that they poo alot during sleep
    apparently like 1/2 of thier doings happen during sleep.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Are your roosts higher than your nest boxes?

    Do they lay eggs outside while free ranging?

    Do you have a light in the coop?

    I had young ones that wanted to roost in the nest boxes (prior to laying age) and I covered all of the nest boxes until they were 19 weeks old, by then they were all used to the roosts and still fight for the premier roosting spot.
  4. lowerowe

    lowerowe In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2008
    melbourne, australia
    I've tried everything as well. my ladies just sit in nest box everynight. i move them and PUT THEM ON ROOST every night! have been doing it for last three or four weeks. even cover up nest box and uncover next morning. nothing works. roosts are higher than nest boxes (see pictures)
    nest box one with cover on
    looking thru to roosts from nest box further one lowered to see if they would use it. (nope)

    everyone says if i keep moving them they will learn...........well i got stupid ones.......but i love them

    please anyhelp would be appreciated, i at the end of my rope![​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  5. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    I had to finally make a door for the nest boxes, and close them up each night. Otherwise the youngsters all huddle in one box.
  6. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I use cake cooling racks that I hang in front of opening to nest boxes. It's a pain having to do that every night, but it better than dirty nest boxes.
  7. sunnydee

    sunnydee Songster

    Jul 17, 2008
    I would try adding a heat lamp at night and point it towards the roosts. With them moulting, they might be trying to stay warm. As far as switching to hay, I have always used shavings except once when I ran out. When I put the hay in, none of my girls wanted to go in their coop. As soon as I put shavings back, they were fine.

  8. pookiethebear

    pookiethebear Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    Mine love to sleep in the nest boxes as well. Only 3 will roost on the roosts. When it is really cold or blustry out they will all huddle up in the boxes. We deal with it. We go out each moring to open the pop door and clean out the nights poop from the boxes. We keep the nest boxes with saw dust and use a plastic fork to flig out the waste onto the coop floor. The coop floor is covered in pine shavings that I turn stir up and will clean out totally in the spring.
  9. 3nglishteacher

    3nglishteacher In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2008
    Thanks for all responses -- some things come to mind. The boxes they've chosen for sleeping actually are on the top so almost equal in height with their highest roost, which is on opposite wall. So that makes sense from what others have said. I put a piece of scrap wood across & in front of the boxes tonight, so will see.

    Cold...maybe, but one reason (other than $) that we "filled" the coop with straw was for insulation. Last night was in the 20's. Coop is 9x12 with 22 chickens and all but 3 roosting -- 2 squeezing in boxes and 1 with a lame foot who sleeps by herself on her special shelf [​IMG] When I went in early this a.m., water wasn't frozen inside the coop but of course the outside one was. So I'm leaning away from "It's cold!" More towards ornery. Moody. They've been oblivious to other changes in bedding during the past year.

    I'm really hesitant to use a light. Not that I'm cheap, tho I am, but their coop is quality shelter and by day I see the lil boogers out in blustery, windy, freezing rain patiently digging up grub, no hurry. And too, I don't want to fake anyone into egg production. If they want/need a rest, I can wait for eggs.

    So will see if I can retrain them! Thanks so much - this really is the most awesome site for help for us newbies!
  10. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    The longer you are on here the more you will enjoy BYC

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