My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

The chickens are sleeping in the nesting boxes


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.

9 thoughts on “The chickens are sleeping in the nesting boxes

  1. aww so cute! my hens usually sleep on perches but i’ve always understood that some like to snuggle up and some owners even give theirs teddies! when they go on top of each other i think it’s when they are competing for the best spot! x

  2. Adorable post.

    My girls stared out sleeping in their nesting boxes. I had 2 largish boxes with a divider in each dividing them into a total of 4 nesting boxes for 3 hens. Each night 2 would squeeze into 1 and 1 in the other in one of the doubles. Generally I could tell by the poo distribution than one of them had her head in the box and bum out. I took your approach to just cleaning out the poo and fluffing the straw.

    As the girls got bigger I removed one of the dividers (in the double they’d all been sleeping in) and they seemed to like that better. But suddenly, they all moved to the perch. No idea why. So now it is rare to find poo in the straw. And the 2nd double nest box is still a double but I’ve removed the straw because no one sleeps or lays there so it only has paper on the bottom just in case (in case what I have no idea).

    Yours my move to the perch on their own. Or, maybe not. Chickens are clearly individuals even though they are flock animals.

  3. Your hens have a much more luxurious life than mine. I just leave mine to it!

  4. Like you, I leave my girls to it and yes, they do sleep in the nesting boxes. Most I’ve see in a hen pyramid was 4 in one box! I’m not quite sure how they managed it but hey, who’d try and understand chickens??!!!

  5. Pingback: Mother Hen abandoned her chicks at 10 weeks « My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

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