Chicken Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 5 beautiful hens that insist on cramming into their two nesting boxes (12x12") to sleep at night. I have 6 feet of roosts so I know there is plenty of room for them all and they are about 16" off the ground. There are plenty of shavings for a nice soft landing and the polls are 1 1/2 in diameter. I thought I did everything right but they don't seem interested at all.

They are not laying yet (but close since they are 20 weeks). Should I close off the boxes so they can't sleep there and are forced to sleep elsewhere=roosts? Thanks for the help!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Are your nest boxes equal in height or higher than the roosts? Chickens like to roost at the highest point they can and if the choice is a comfy nest box or a thin roost, they are going to choose the nest.

The roosts sound awful thin to me, with the average roosts being anywhere from 2 in. to 4 in. wide for comfort purposes. That might help improve roosting also.

Lastly, it can help if you go out at night and place them physically on the roost. And don't be nice about it when you remove them from the nest box. They need to equate that nest as being a bad place to sleep because they are rudely rousted from it each night and placed on the roosts.

I recently did this with some junior birds and their foster mama who kept insisting on the nest boxes...all 5 large birds crammed into, standing room only, the one nest box. First I added a roost because, though there was plenty of room on the other roost, the older birds were not going to let them roost there without a tussle.

Then, I removed them abruptly from the nest box, hanging them upside down for the trip to the roosts. I did this under cover of darkness with just a small flashlight. It wanted it to be as shocking as possible and a little frightening for them.

Three nights later they are roosting full time and no more poop in my nest box.

Every once in awhile, over the years and even with roosts and nest boxes at appropriate heights and widths, I get a young bird or two that needs a wake up call...literally...and training to the roosts. It always works.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,300 Posts
mine sleep in the nest box. i tried to get them to roost but they wouldnt, i clen the nest box regularly so it's not a problem to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! The roosts are higher than the boxes, the boxes are only about 4 inches above coop floor. I will get thicker roosts, in a book I read it said that 1 1/2 was sufficient so who knows if those authors know what they're talking about...?

I will try placing them up on the roosts tonight and also adding a curtain. these ladies have got quite a habit of it, I hope I can break it! I really want them to use that whole other area of the coop and not poop where I want them to lay eggs.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Is there a reason why the roosts are so short? Birds like to roost higher if they can, the higher the better.
 

·
Junior Member
Joined
·
37 Posts
mamahen, What breed are the chickens? Some breeds don't like to roost.

Kaax
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I had the same problem with my 5 hens. They wouldn't stop sleeping and pooping in the nest boxes so I closed all access to them with a sheet of plastic leaving the only viable place to sleep on the roost. At first they were sleeping on the wire mesh floor but I put them on the roost a few times and now they love it. They are 19 weeks old. Just yesterday I opened access to the nest boxes and made straw beds in them for laying. Went to check on them at 11 last night and they were all sleeping on the roost
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bee said:
Is there a reason why the roosts are so short? Birds like to roost higher if they can, the higher the better.
I have Buff Orpingtons, ameraucanas , and a golden sex link. They are not flighty birds, they enjoy exercise but i don't see them flying too much in the yard. When I took a chicken raising class from my local extension I asked if 16" would be fine and the teacher (a phd professor in poultry from Utah State University ) said that would fine. He said sometimes if the roosts are too high it will make for rough landings which is hard on the birds and can result in occasional blotches of blood in the eggs. Anyways, he went into detail about it but I can't remember it all perfectly.

Also my coop isn't very tall, the end with the roosts is only 34 or so inches high. It's not a big coop so flying and flapping is difficult, the girls get 4 sf of space each. If I raise the roosts it won't be much higher. I have never seen them on them even during the day. Maybe I should have made the coop higher all together :/

They trained well for roosting in the brooder on small poles but I think the transition to coop resulted in being someplace cozy where thy can cuddle each other...? New to all of this so I'm still learning!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,954 Posts
Sounds like you are about as high as your coop will allow. Not much you can do about that, I guess. Time to start evicting them from the nest at night and placing them on the roosts. Sometimes they just require training, particularly if they have no older birds to show them the way.

My birds usually have roosts that are 4, 5 and even 6 ft. tall at times. My current roosts are about 4.5 ft. but I would have even higher than that if my coop allowed for it.

I don't have a phD, though, so you can take all that with a grain of salt! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
100 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bee said:
Sounds like you are about as high as your coop will allow. Not much you can do about that, I guess. Time to start evicting them from the nest at night and placing them on the roosts. Sometimes they just require training, particularly if they have no older birds to show them the way.

My birds usually have roosts that are 4, 5 and even 6 ft. tall at times. My current roosts are about 4.5 ft. but I would have even higher than that if my coop allowed for it.

I don't have a phD, though, so you can take all that with a grain of salt! :D
Sounds good, thanks Bee! I like getting all the info, help and education I can get, phD or not ;) let the chicken training begin!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top