“Thank you for your newsletter, it’s very helpful. I have set up three nesting boxes at the side of the chicken coop. However, my six chickens insist on using them as a loo i.e. pooping in them all the time. Any suggestions?” ~ Chrissie
Chrissie, thanks for the question.
I have a few ideas that I’ll share, hopefully one of them will fit your situation.
I wonder if they are laying their eggs in there too?
If not, is the place they are laying acceptable, meaning out of the way, and can it be kept clean? If the answer to that is “yes”, take down the boxes all together and forget about where they’re “supposed” to lay.
Chickens do most of their pooping at night while on their perch.
If the boxes are open topped and your chickens are using them to perch, they will make quite a mess. The solution to this would be to put a slanted top on the boxes so they have nothing to hold on to while they sleep. Even though a flat topped box is not as comfortable as a perch, they’ll still hop up there and settle in for the night. The top must be slanted causing them to feel like they’re sliding off to keep them from perching on top.
If your boxes have a top and they’re going inside to poop, a solution would be to close off the boxes after everyone has finished laying for the day. Use whatever material is handy, just as long as they can’t get inside. You may still have some “dual purpose” happenings but it should cut down on the mess.
As a last resort, we have to really shake things up sometimes.
If it’s feasible, take down the old boxes and put up new ones someplace else. It’s not my first choice but the change might give you a chance to re-train your chickens to use things for their intended purpose.
I hope this offers you a solution, Chrissie.