Slow Learner Re: Roosting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AUChickenGal, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ugh. I'm pretty sure there is no "quick fix" for this problem, but I thought I'd ask around in case anyone had an idea I hadn't tried yet.

    My 5 pullets will be 18 weeks old tomorrow. They are starting to show signs that they are getting close to laying - comb and wattle growth, reddening in the combs and faces, and squatting - so I have opened up my nest boxes. One of them, my little Welsumer (who is my favorite in the group for her sweet personality), has decided to start sleeping in the nest boxes. I have a prefab coop, but a large one (around 54 square feet of floor space, not counting the nest boxes - and they have an additional 100 square feet of run space, plus are allowed to free range for around 1-3 hours every afternoon, depending on my schedule). There are about 12 linear feet of total roost space split between three separate roosts. After spending some time on these boards, I did some modifications on the coop to raise the roosts and increase ventilation, so I feel that the size and location of the roosts have been eliminated as possible problems. Four of the five pullets immediately took to their new, higher roosts, but Cora (the Welsumer) is not getting it. I've spent about 45 minutes every evening in the dark this weekend playing "musical chairs" with her. I take her out of the nest box and put her onto the roost, where she stays for a minute or two before hopping down and going back to the nest box. Lather, rinse, repeat. When she finally stays for several minutes, I leave, only to discover in the morning that she has obviously slept in the nest box (due to the feces and feathers she leaves behind).

    Is she just going to take longer than the others to figure this out? She's not getting bullied off the roosts, and even if she were, there are other roosts she could choose to utilize. I wait until it's so dark I nearly can't see the chickens to move her, and she still somehow finds her way off the roost and to the nest box. She's sleeping in one of four nest boxes. Should I just resign myself to allowing her to sleep in that one? Has anyone else every experienced this before? I adore this sweet little girl, but she is driving me crazy!

    Here's a picture of the offender. Isn't she cute? She's a bit plain and small compared to the rest of the flock, but I'm smitten anyway.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Make so she can not get into / on nest at roost time. Once she goes onto proper roost for a couple nights she could stick to that verses the nest. The obstruction can be removed.
     
  3. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They've been in the coop since November, and the nest boxes were completely blocked off until last week. The very first night the boxes were open, she started sleeping in one. She was sleeping with the rest of the flock until then. I can block them off at night, although it is very inconvenient to do so. It looks like that might be my only real solution, so I guess I'll go back to doing it for a while and hope that she eventually gets with the program.

    Sometimes I really wish it were possible to reason with animals!
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Resuming blocking and make certain light levels not too low hen birds go to roost.
     
  5. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! That's the plan for now. I hope this little phase of hers ends soon!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Cover nests an hour before roosting time, uncover well after dark or first thing in the morning.
    Or put her on the roost well after dark when she can't see to get down.
     
  7. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The nest box was clean this morning, and I only had to move her once this evening before she stayed put. Maybe I was just being impatient before. Fingers crossed that we're over the hump now.
     
  8. AUChickenGal

    AUChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This girl is thoroughly confusing me. A week later, and I still have to move her from the nest box to the roost every evening, although she'll stay out once I move her. She has started moving all the fake eggs in the nest box under herself when she goes to bed every evening. She's not broody - none of my girls have laid their first eggs yet - but she's doing an excellent imitation every evening. She even does the broody growl when I open the nest box and reach for her to move her to the roost. What in the world is going on with this girl? Is she just terribly confused? Will she eventually figure the system out?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It can take more than a week.
    This year with my pullets I had to cover the nests in the evening for a couple months to keep them from roosting in the them.
    They pretty much stopped after they started laying and worked their way into the pecking order.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

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