The problem this time was the placement, mounting and type of nest box made it difficult to use any of those other methods in this situation. I finally decided to put an end to this nest box sleeping thing and out of desperation I took all the nest boxes out of the coop!
I started by taking all the nest boxes out, washing them and leaving them outside for a few days. It was the dead of winter and I only had my 2 youngest girls laying regularly anyway. They ended up going behind a board I leave in that coop for the guineas and laying their eggs back there. The chickens all started sleeping on the roosts again so I added a nest box back. We went a few days without anyone sleeping in that nest box so I added a second. Finally I added the last 2 nest boxes back in and that's when I discovered that I am a complete idiot sometimes. The perch on the front of the plastic nest boxes I had bought, is made to fold up to block access to the nest boxes. You can laugh....I did!
Well at least I learned that if you take all the nest boxes away you can retrain them to sleep on the perches! The reason I did this though is because of where these nest boxes were mounted I couldn't use any of my other methods which have worked in the past. Here are the other methods I've had success with:
I've blocked access to the nest boxes. When I had wooden nest boxes I just placed a board across the front of them after about 3pm so the chickens couldn't get in to the nest box to sleep.
I've removed the nest boxes. The silkies have plastic nest boxes sitting on the floor of their coop. I just pick the nest boxes up and put them in the run in the evening. Occasionally I would find a hen had decided to sleep out there so I simply picked her up and put her in the coop at lock up.
Add a new roost higher up then the highest nest box. They love to be up high and unfortunately if the nest box is higher then the roosts they'll choose to sleep there. Always make sure the roosts are higher then the nest boxes.
As a last resort I've picked each hen up at night and put her on the roost. This works best if done in the dark. I use a headlamp that has a red light option and it seems to help since it's not super bright.
Or ya know...just fold up the perch like it was made for. *sigh*
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