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#64353 - 07/16/07 08:05 AM Bedding for nest boxes?
Anonymous
Unregistered


What should I be putting in my nest boxes for the hens to make nests from?

As a little background, I got my hens yesterday from a friend. I was under the impression that hens don't really need much in the nestboxes, however, these hens, on their first day in my coop, spent a great deal of time scratching and moving about the bit of pine shavings I put in the boxes(complaining loudly all the while), and consequently would kick each others eggs out. I have a 2 x 4 laid flat at the entrance to keep bedding and eggs from rolling out, maybe I need something taller?

Maybe I should just give them a break and let them relax and get used to the new digs? I was very happy they laid eggs for me on their first day. Here is a photo of the nest box with the door open, they all seem to like it a bunch and knew right away what it was for.


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#64354 - 07/16/07 08:45 AM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I stuff mine with straw or hay or dried grass clippings.

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#64355 - 07/16/07 09:25 AM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Bumble's Poultry Offline
Feather

Registered: 07/17/06
Posts: 24
Loc: New York
I used to use pine shavings and noticed alot of "moisture" and a cracked egg when the hen would leave the nest. After awhile I converted to straw and noticed that the moisture was gone and the damaged eggs.

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#64356 - 07/16/07 11:31 AM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I use grass hay since I always have it laying around from the horses and goats. It works really well. As for the hens digging around in the nest box they are probably just getting comfortable and "making" their nest. I've never heard of chickens kicking other eggs out though. My chickens actually protect any eggs, even if they aren't theirs.

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#64357 - 07/16/07 12:09 PM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Garden Chick Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 447
Loc: Minnesota
You have a pretty big nest box there. Stuff it a couple inches deep with good clean dry grass hay, they'll make a nice nest in the corner, and the eggs won't roll around.

If chickens are in the egg laying stage, they won't "take a break" just because there is no nest, the eggs will end up where ever they feel secure enough to lay one. You want them to be in the habit off laying in their nest boxes.

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#64358 - 07/16/07 12:50 PM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Seems like straw or hay is the way to go then, I will hunt around and see if I can find a place to buy a bale of hay and put some in there. It's Iowa, you would think I coul hay anywhere.

That's good they won't take a break. I think I had read that chickens can stop laying when they have recently moved. I sure am happy to finally get my chickens, I have been lurking here for a long time wishing I had some.

Gardenchick, my husband built these boxes to the exact dimensions for "heavy breeds" in the "story's guide to chickens" since I would like to eventually get some buff orpingtons. smile

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#64359 - 07/16/07 03:37 PM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Michael TX Offline
Chicken

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 95
Loc: Texas
I really like cedar shavings--they repel mites!

--Michael

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#64360 - 07/16/07 03:52 PM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Laura, put a trash bag in your car and keep your eyes peeled. I have never bought hay for my nest boxes. I just stay on the lookout for places where somebody lost a large bale and ended up leaving behind plenty for my hens. wink

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#64361 - 07/17/07 07:04 AM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Garden Chick Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 447
Loc: Minnesota
Susie, the best of recycling, right?

Mulberry, Wow! I haven't read the book. My nests are the old tin set, about a foot by foot by foot cube and my buffs get in and out just fine. When you get the buffs, you'll be happy, they are good chickens, nice eggs. I have only three, but got one more pullet this year along with 2 astralorps, can't wait to see how they do.

I guess some hens will stop laying if the move was traumatic, but seeing as you've gotten an egg already, you must have taken good care of your girls! Way to go!

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#64362 - 07/17/07 10:53 AM Re: Bedding for nest boxes?
Speckled Hen Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 534
Loc: Georgia
Straw makes a much better cushion for the eggs. Since it molds to the hen's bottomside, it makes a bowl as well and helps keep eggs inside the nest. I do put a handful of cedar shavings under the straw to deter bugs.

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