How do you keep chickens from roosting in nest boxes? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hello! I've had chickens for several years, but cannot seem to keep them from roosting in the nest boxes. I tried burlap hung in front of the entrances, without success. I also have tried to go in after they are asleep and physically move them, but they manage to return. Help! I'm tired of the mess!

-- Jennifer Ortiz (, February 06, 2001


I have a few older hens that do this. They just perfer the nests, i think. I scoop out the straw or shavings and replace when needed. No clue how to stop them though.

-- Shau Marie (, February 06, 2001.

By making a roosting area for them that is more attractive to them than the nests boxes. Don't get your nest boxes to high in the air. Try hanging a light bulb above the area you want them to roost on, and have them higher than the nest boxes. Make sure the roosts are not to big in diameter making it comfortable for them to grasp. You can also temporarily move the nest boxes as to upset their whole routine. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, February 06, 2001.

You could put a board over the top at an angle. It would be like half of a roof at a 45degree angle or more to make it uncomfortable to sit up there because of the slant.

-- Denise (, February 06, 2001.

When all else fails, and it probably will; just add noodles or dumolings to the offenders.

-- Ed Copp (OH) (, February 06, 2001.

I wish ours would roost in the nest boxes. They prefer to spend the night on the fence rail. Wind and rain doesn't bother them. Fortunately we don't have a problem with predators.

-- Skip Walton (, February 06, 2001.

Ours have always roosted in the nest boxes, but we haven't really seen it as a problem. We keep a thick layer of hay in the nest boxes (some type that doesn't cause weeds if put in the garden) and clean it and the poop out every so often ~ it's a GREAT addition to the compost pile!! And easier to get than what's on the ground under the roosting rails!

-- Wingnut (, February 07, 2001.

Jennifer, I checked your post to see if there was a cure for this problem. I have had chickens for many years and still do not know how to keep them out of the nestboxes. Like another person mentioned, I just clean out the boxes and add new straw at regular intervals. I might try lowering the nest boxes, seems like a good idea. I'll let you know if it works.

-- karen (, February 07, 2001.

Some of my chickens roost in the nest boxes too. I guess the positive side is that it may save a couple of late eggs from freezing over night. This year we had more in the nest boxes than before(same old chickens) I kinda wondered if it was because it was colder and they would be warmer in there? I just try to look at the positive and live with the negative. Tami in WI

-- Tami in WI (, February 08, 2001.

Two of my youngest chickens were both going through their molt and were practically naked. I noticed they started roosting in the nest box (either for warmth and/or protection from pecking). Now that they are fully feathered they are back on the roost with the other birds.

-- Barb (, February 08, 2001.

Jennifer: Some of our older hens roost in the nest boxes, too, and I didn't know how to remedy the situation, until I talked to a neighbor who raises chickens also. When their new pullets are getting used to the big chicken house(after moving them in from the brooder house), the first few nights just as it gets dark, he and his dad go in and shoo all the pullets up onto the roosts. Every night for a few nights, and they learn to roost in the proper area. It must pay off, because they seem to learn where to go after the initial training period. Our older hens will probably stay where they are until they become soup, but when we move a new batch of pullets in I'm going to try this. Hope this helps in some way.

-- Peggy Taylor (, February 08, 2001.

It is a hassle but my husband made covers from peg board to go over the front of my nests at nighttime. We just drove in nails on each side at the top to hang them from. I have three nests across one end of a chicken tractor. In the late afternoon before the chickens go to roost I put the cover across the front. You have to remember in the morning to take the cover off so they can lay. I forgot once or twice and felt really bad about tramautizing them.

I also have a "chicken barn" with nest boxes I bought for $25.00 from someone getting out of a big laying operation. These nest boxes have roost bars in the front which can be pushed up to block the chickens from getting into the nests at night. This has been easier than the covers but I still have to remember to lower them in the a.m. In the barn I actually have a make shift nest on the floor in case I forget.

-- Mel in N.C. (, February 10, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ