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Hen won’t sleep on her perch

PUBLISHED: 12:11 01 July 2014

Please could you explain why my Light Sussex chicken sleeps in her nest box at night and what I should do to stop her?

I have two chickens - my other one is a Barnevelder. She always sleeps on their perch. They are both about a year old. My Light Sussex has been broody twice and both times I tried to break the brood with the advice I found in Your Chickens, but could not. If I block the entrance to the nest boxes she sleeps on the floor. I am worried she is starting another broody patch and also I don’t like her contaminating the area where the eggs are laid. I do try lifting her onto her perch. These are my first chickens so I am not sure if this behaviour is normal for some chickens.

Jeremy Hobson says: Sometimes it just happens that a particular chicken is pretty determined! It looks as if you are doing all the right things when it comes to encouraging the Light Sussex to sleep on the perch. All I can suggest is that you continue to keep lifting her onto the perch (and blocking off the nest boxes overnight) in the hope that she eventually realises what is required of her. I am presuming that there is sufficient perch space for your two ladies and the reluctance to perch is not because she is being pecked every time she’s put too close to the Barnevelder. You are right to want to keep the nest boxes clean from faeces and the like.

As to the Sussex going broody – pick up the newly laid eggs as soon after laying as practicable; leaving eggs in the box encourages broodiness. Should she go broody again, I have had success with unwanted broodiness over the years by putting the hen in a coop or similar that has a slatted or wire floor where there is no opportunity for brooding (don’t forget adequate food and water). Some breeds hardly ever go broody but some, such as the Sussex, are far more likely to do so.

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