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sleeping in the nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dadschicks, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. dadschicks

    dadschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 29, 2013
    Los Gatos, California
    I have four hens in a coop that I bought as a kit so assumed it was appropriate. There are two roosting bars, but they aren't more than 1X2 at the most. The roosting bars are only a couple of inches above the plastic removable tray to catch droppings. The nesting areas are next to this area and are filled with shavings. When I come out to lock them into the coop at night I almost always find one or more of them huddled in one of the boxes. We are in California, so it is not particularly cold at night yet. I have tried locking them out of the nest boxes at night but as soon as I open it up they go right back the next night. There are two nesting areas. Does it matter if they sleep in one and use the other to lay their eggs? I removed the shavings from one box to help differentiate between the nest and the other box which seems to help.

    Also, I am thinking that I need to add some type of tray with borders like a roasting pan shape so they have to climb in there like what I have seen in other pictures on this website. Does that matter?

    Does the color or material of the box matter? Will aluminum foil tin pans work for this purpose if lined with shavings or straw?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Debbie
    I have four hens and got my first egg today. I was so excited that I immediately brought it in the house along with the decoy egg. Should I have left either the real or decoy egg in the nest longer for the other hens to get the idea that they should also lay in there?

    Debbie
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Leave the decoy in the box.

    I don't know what your coop looks like. I've seen a few kit designs that were nice but in my humble opinion, most manufactured coops are flawed in several ways. Most grossly exaggerate how many birds they'll hold. There isn't enough room in floor space or height to do what they need to do. I think many are made by carpenters that don't know much about chickens.

    A coop needs to be tall enough so the nest box can be slightly elevated, the roosts significantly higher so the birds aren't tempted to sleep in the nests and enough head room so the birds don't break their necks when they hop up onto the roost.

    The roosts should be at least 2" wide if it freezes where you are so the birds can cover their toes with their feathers.

    Sleeping in the nest is a bad thing since there will always be feces in there and dirty eggs.
    My guess is that there isn't a significant difference in elevation between the nests and roosts as chickens prefer to sleep on the highest thing possible.
    Put the birds on the roost and block the nests off at night so they can't get in them and open them up first thing in the morning till they get the gist of it.
     
  3. dadschicks

    dadschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    22
    Jun 29, 2013
    Los Gatos, California
    Thanks. I think you are right about the coop. I have to figure out a way to raise the roosts and make them a little widens. Will give it some thought and see what I can come up with. Appreciate the insight.
     

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