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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My chickens all sleep in the nest boxes at night. I didn't know they were not supposed to do this. I assumed they are warmer that way. They roost plenty on all the things I have for them during the day, but at night they settle in (sometimes four in a box - I have three boxes - six chickens). Is this a bad idea?

They are 26 weeks and also not laying currently. I live in Oregon and the nights are getting longer and temps dropping.
 

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They will learn to roost at night, that's where and how they sleep. Sleeping in the nest boxes makes for a messy nest come morning, and if they start laying eggs in poop then you get poopy eggs, the nests should stay as clean as possible. Try blocking the nests at night and they will figure out they should fly up to roost each night and lay eggs in nests during the day. I don't know what your coop or hen house/run looks like, but blocking the nests at night and opening them each morning is my advice.
 

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We have to put up a bar at night to keep them out now. They have plenty of roosting areas but they kept huddling together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not sure if the last message got to you. My main question is if they sleep in the nest boxes will they still lay eggs in them? If the only reason is poop the restrict them from sleeping in them, then I am fine. They only sleep in one of the four anyway. So the rest are clean and unused. Just not sure why I would have to keep them out if they want to cuddle together? Reasons?
 

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Disease is the main reason, respiratory problems from ammonia smell from standing, setting, laying, and yes even "cuddling" in their waste. Roosts allow poop to fall to the ground, and provide ventilation so they don't breathe in bad stuff all night, chickens are really prone to respiratory infection, as well as eye problems from ammonia. And they are still young so "cuddling" is what they are used to, but like all other things in life there comes a time for them to grow up. They can still get close on the roosts to help stay warm, just in a box for 8-10 hours isn't healthy for them. I currently have 22 pullets the same age and they have been roosting on their own at night and they know no difference now. When they start laying I'll have over 50 hens producing eggs, I sell eggs and that's the first thing I think of, keeping eggs as clean as possible, and if the birds arent healthy they won't lay. Hope you can convert them to the roost. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You are obviously very knowledgeable and I am sure you have good intentions on sharing that knowledge. I would suggest though, that you work a bit on your presentation. I am very new to this and I appreciate your help but you come off pretty demeaning. Even though nest boxes might not be a great place to roost, a soap box isn't the best place to stand.
 

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Hmmmmm... I don't know what was demeaning, just trying to help you and your chickens. Sorry if you took something the wrong way. You ask a question you get an answer, that's usually how it works. I'm not all fluffy sweet and cuddly I just state the facts that I have learned first hand. Again good luck !
 

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Knowing why something is done makes me more likely to understand it, remember it, and follow it. Knowing how much experience a poster is nice too. I have never even held a chicken - that makes any suggestions I might have less trustworthy than from someone with years of experience.

If giving too much detail and providing credentials is demeaning, please stay on your soapbox!
 

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BigECart said:
Knowing why something is done makes me more likely to understand it, remember it, and follow it. Knowing how much experience a poster is nice too. I have never even held a chicken - that makes any suggestions I might have less trustworthy than from someone with years of experience.

If giving too much detail and providing credentials is demeaning, please stay on your soapbox!
Thanks BigECart !
 

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Training Pullets to Roost?

My 6 Girls are 19 weeks old and still sleep in their nest boxes. They free range right up until its almost too dark to find their way into the coop, how could I block up the nest boxes when they cant see them on their way back in?

Any tips are welcome thanks folks :)
 

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We have dog wire squares we put in front on the nestboxes on the inside nest openings. We put them up before dark. We also have 2 nestboxes hung on the outside of the house that the "late layers" can lay in if they need a nest after we block the other nests that open from the inside. The chickens got into the house and fussed a little at first but soon settled on the roosts. We have plenty of room for them to roost with 3 levels. Hope this helps.
 

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Great advice cogburn :cool: didnt think it came accross as demeaning,just solid answer to question:confused:

I only have 6 hens but their health is most important thing and natural for them to roost,my first three took to perches quite well but my new girls went for the nestbox, i think mainly because they stayed out in the garden until it becomes too dark to find the perch as they let the older hens in first.

I had to move them out and put them on perch for a week and now they are happy,i tried blocking but found they had layed on the floor even before 6.30am and got broken eggs.

After a couple of weeks they are in a routine and look happy on perches:)
 

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location of roost bar

You might also look at the height of the roost bar in relation to the nest box. Most birds will want to be as high as possible. Is your roost bar lower then the nest box?

We really cut down on the feather pulling, pushing and upset birds at sundown by having a level roost bar. There are 24 birds all at the same height - the pecking order issue and birds pooping on each other is much less stress on the flock.

We tried deep litter using straw. We lost a bird to E.Coli! The straw did not absorb as well as a the flake shavings. The ammonia was not something we could smell but it was the root cause for losing a bird. Switched back to pine shavings and things seem to be back in order - waste collection wise.

So to your point on birds sharing a single nest box - the volume of poop and waste they are sleeping in will kill them. Is that to blunt for you?
 

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To discuss ...

to consider or examine by comment, etc.; talk over or write about, especially to explore solutions ...

We all look at the world in a different view ... It wouuld be nice if we could keep the "nasty" remarks to ones self ... thanks...
 
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