foul one's (own) nest

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foul one's (own) nest

To do something that creates problems for oneself. I wouldn't talk to the boss while you're angry—you'll just end up fouling your own nest.
See also: foul, nest
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

foul one's own nest

Fig. to harm one's own interests; to bring disadvantage upon oneself. (Alludes to a bird excreting into its own nest. See also It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.) He tried to discredit a fellow senator with the president, but just succeeded in fouling his own nest. The boss really dislikes Mary. She certainly fouled her own nest when she spread those rumors about him.
See also: foul, nest, own
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

foul one's nest

Also, foul one's own nest. Hurt one's own interests, as in With his constant complaints about his wife, he's only fouling his own nest. This metaphoric expression transfers a bird's soiling of its nest to human behavior. [Mid-1200s]
See also: foul, nest
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

foul your own nest

LITERARY
If someone fouls their own nest, they do something which harms themselves and damages their chances of success. Man has invented a hundred ways of fouling his own nest — the grime, the pollution, the heat, the poisons in the air, the metals in the water.
See also: foul, nest, own
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

foul your own nest

do something damaging or harmful to yourself or your own interests.
The proverb it's an ill bird that fouls its own nest , used of a person who criticizes or abuses their own country or family, has been found in English since the early 15th century.
See also: foul, nest, own
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
But what I contend against is the way medical men are fouling their own nest, and setting up a cry about the country as if a general practitioner who dispenses drugs couldn't be a gentleman.
Chickens, unfortunately, have a predilection for fouling their own nest. I would put off the job as long as possible, then, holding my nose with one hand, scrape out each box with a short-handled hoe before relining it with fresh straw.
Indeed, most people are likely to be far more responsive to arguments about not fouling their own nests than they would be to quasi-mystical, high-blown statements about rocks having rights.
Our magazine is, after all, a publication of the left which generally shares Cockburn's political perspective, and he is one of those strange birds that take special pleasure in fouling their own nests.