When I only had the two Barnevelders (Hannah Hen was still sleeping across the road in her paddock), they had a smaller house with two nesting boxes, which they loved to sleep in.
Because I wanted the nesting boxes to be kept clean for the laying of eggs, I put cardboard boxes in the nesting boxes at night (and took them out again in the morning), which forced the girls to sleep on the perches. So far, so good.
Then when I managed to capture Hannah Hen, I upgraded their accommodation. This house had five nesting boxes and I don’t happen to have five cardboard boxes of the right size lying around. So I left the girls to it and hoped they would sleep on the two lovely perches in their new house.
But no. They all started sleeping in the nesting boxes, with the two Barnevelders squeezing into one nesting box at one end of the house (the nesting boxes you see in the upgraded accommodation photo in the link above) and Hannah Hen sleeps in one of the smaller nesting boxes at the other end of the house (there are three smaller ones at that end).
A few weeks ago I got home after their bedtime. I wanted to check that they were all in the house (as they free range and I always worry that one of them will be missing (like here) and I saw one of the Barnevelders had squeezed her bulk into the little nesting box that Hannah Hen sleeps in (she had backed herself in) and there was Hannah Hen sleeping on top of her and all I could see of Hannah Hen was her little fluffy bum sticking out. I was a bit worried that night that they would both suffocate but no, the next morning they were up and about. (I would loved to have seen them when they woke up and tried to get out of that small space.)
But thank goodness, the two Barnie girls are back sleeping together in the larger nesting box, both backed in.
So what to do about them sleeping in their nesting boxes? Well I don’t care anymore. Each morning I clean out any pooh that might be in the nesting boxes and if there is a damp patch, I fluff up the wood shavings to dry it out. A very small price to pay for happy hens.