How to train your new hens to sleep on their roost and not in the nest boxes

Roosting chickens not in the nest boxes

One common problem with new chickens is their refusal to sleep on the roost at night. If your flock is brand new, the chickens may not know where they need to sleep. If you are introducing new chickens to the flock, they may choose to sleep away from the older birds. New chickens try to stay clear of established chickens because of the pecking that takes place until all the chickens know the new pecking order.

New introductions may not even make it back to the coop if they are free ranged. This article explains how I teach my hens to head for the coop each night. They may also want to sleep in the nest boxes. This article explains why you should not let chickens sleep in the nest boxes. A few reasons are:

  • Soiled eggs
  • Egg eating
  • Dissuade laying hens from laying in the boxes

How I train my chickens to not sleep in the nest boxes

So how do you convince a chicken to sleep on their roost at night? Well, for me it is fairly simple because I do not have any light in the coop at night. This means that once the sun goes down the chickens stay put, no matter where they are.

I take note before the sun goes down the current location of all the chickens. I sometimes herd them towards the coop if they are far away. When it gets dark I grab a small flashlight with a red lens (like these ones on Amazon) and check the coop to be sure they are all in. If not, I walk around and look for the straggler(s). Once found I place them on a roost. I have found the red lens keeps the chickens from jumping off the roost after I place them on it.

At times, a chicken will try to sleep in a nest box. When it is dark, I remove the hen and place them on the roost. The key to all this is I do it in the dark to make sure the chicken does not leave the roost. I have tried this method while there is still some daylight to find the chicken has just moved back to the nest box I just removed them from.

A week or two of this and the chickens will begin to sleep on the roosts where they belong.

Do you have a chicken who just refuses to stay out of the nest box? Check out this surefire method to stop chickens from sleeping in nest boxes. Guaranteed to work!

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