Will nesting box pads stop my problem?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickenHawk12, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chirping

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    I have 9 hens. 3 BOs that never learned to roost, and later we hatched 6 more RIRs that DID roost (because we added a better roosting bar). The BOs have been sleeping in the egg boxes pretty much since we moved them outside into the coop 3 years ago. I put big flowerpots in the egg boxes at night and take them out in the morning, or else the eggs are so covered in poop that I can't use them. Plus I have to clean out the egg box every day if I don't block it off. But if I'm not home at bedtime, it's a disaster, and now the RIRs have started picking up this bad habit and THEY have started sleeping in the egg boxes too. Their butts always have clumps of poop hanging. My coop design is very difficult to deal with and it's hard to get in there (it's up off the ground and the back door drops open, I can only lean in and I can't reach all the way to the opposite wall without a shovel or stick. I can barely reach the roost).

    I don't know what to do to get them to roost. I've tried moving them once it's dark but it doesn't work. So now it's damage control. Do you think that if I get washable nesting box mats, it will at least save the eggs? And maybe keep them from sleeping in there? I'd rather wash mats once a week than have to block and unblock the egg boxes twice a day.
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Something that's been going on for 3 years... I'd cull them and start over. :hmm Even if that just mean rehoming for free at their age. Chickens are creatures of habit... and UHG, do they EVER believe in and follow monkey see, chicken do! :barnie

    I think if you use something other than mats it might be easier to clean... or at LEAST keep your eggs cleaner. I use hay as a base and add shaving to "refresh" on occasion. Adding in a few shavings (each morning for you) can at least dry out/cover the poo and keeps the eggs clean... hopefully. :fl
     
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  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    Are the roosts located higher than the next boxes ? If not, can the boxes be lowered or the roosts raised ? Chickens generally roost at the highest point possible.
     
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  4. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chirping

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    Yes they are higher. Basically my coop design sucks, but my father built it for us, so that's what we got. Problem is that they aren't roosting. They are sleeping sitting in the nest boxes, and the ones that don't fit sleep nestled on the coop floor.

    I'm ready to give them away, but my kids will not be happy about it :-(
     
  5. ChickenHawk12

    ChickenHawk12 Chirping

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    Yes, I have discovered they are such copycats :-( I guess just continuing to cover the poop or continuing to block off the boxes at night is my only option. I thought about getting plastic insertable boxes (my boxes are part of the coop, it juts out on one side with a lid outside the run that I can access the boxes from) with a high lip, in hopes that they won't try to sleep in there. I had no idea the coop design was going to be so terrible, and it's been the root of all the problems and why chicken keeping has been a big PITA for me. It seemed like a good idea at the time, up off the ground for safety and to give them shade/extra space in the run, back panel that folded down for cleaning....I thought they would roost on the crossbeams, but they didn't. The newer hens did, but then they picked up that bad habit :-(
     
  6. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    How long is your highest roost? How many chickens do you have total? Can you post a picture of the inside of your coop (show the roosts and the nest boxes)? Hopefully we can help you modify your setup somehow in a way that might help!
     
  7. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

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    Also maybe a roll-away nest box, that way even if they sleep in there, if the eggs roll away once laid they may stay cleaner. Just brainstorming here.
     
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  8. Chickening101

    Chickening101 Chirping

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    That's a good idea...maybe roll away nest boxes. I would recommend that too.
     
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  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    I was thinking about this... maybe the roosts ARE the problem? If it's a prefab coop those roost poles are often two inches wide or under.

    Also roost height may be a factor..

    Don't waste your time moving them after dark... it isn't working. Get those nests blocked BEFORE they head in... so they will have to choose another place.

    Great suggestions from the pirate... I like to call her. :thumbsup :p
     
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  10. Build a new coop, you now know what does not work so GO BIG, walk in, size matters.

    Good luck

    Gary
     
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