The problem we had with our chickens retiring for the night inside their nesting boxes and on top of them, instead of roosting on one of several tree branches supplied for that purpose, has been resolved by draping a plastic mesh in front of the boxes at nighttime. In the morning, when I open the coop to release the chickens for the daytime hours, I swoop the netting upward and secure it out of the way with clothespins so that the nests are available for morning egg-laying. When I return to gather eggs, I unpin the netting so that it can fall down in place ready for nightfall once again. Cleanup is now a cinch and the eggs are squeaky clean! Since our girls have demonstrated that they understand the urgency in returning to the safety of their coop every night, Monday we will open the fence to allow them to roam freely on our property.
If only all of our animal issues had successful solutions... We are battling a woodchuck that persistently digs yet another hole under my garden fence. He has nibbled all of the leaves off my bush beans and Swiss chard. In addition, we have what we think is a raccoon that is knocking down our bird feeders in the middle of the night. Leaving a porch light on helps to deter it. Then there are gophers... mound after mound of dirt in our yard and also my veggie garden. Did I mention a turtle depositing her eggs smack dab in the middle of our 1/2 mile long driveway? Eeeeeks! What is she thinking?!!