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Best material for nesting boxes?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just opened up my nesting boxes so the chicks (15 weeks old) can take a look.  I put some straw in there but it seems sorting rough and pokey.  Does everyone use straw??  I want them to be happy little egg layers!

Mom to 2 cats, 1 English pointer, 1 St Bernard ,2 horses (boarded)  and now 5 little hens!

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Mom to 2 cats, 1 English pointer, 1 St Bernard ,2 horses (boarded)  and now 5 little hens!

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post #2 of 8

Straw would probably be best. The hens won't mind it, and if they do, they can adjust it to what they like. Good luck with your hens!

post #3 of 8

My hens prefer pine shavings over straw.

post #4 of 8

I used to use pine shavings but the girls kept kicking it out onto the floor. I began to use the  Nesting Pads  suggested by a BYC member last year. The girls took to them well and less mess on the floor.

 

http://www.eggcartons.com/Poultry-Care/13-x-13-Excelsior-Nesting-Pads

 

post #5 of 8

My hens love their fluffy towels! Each nest box has a fluffy hand towel. -no messes at all! There is no straw, hay, or shavings to fall out. The eggs are nice and clean. (does make for extra laundry, but worth it IMO)

Wife of 23 years to a dear husband, mama to 2 children, 3 Golden Comets, 2 Buff Orpingtons, Old English Game bantam, Japanese bantam, Black Australorp, Golden Laced Wyandotte, budgie, sugar glider, and a feisty Yorkshire Terrier.
 

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Wife of 23 years to a dear husband, mama to 2 children, 3 Golden Comets, 2 Buff Orpingtons, Old English Game bantam, Japanese bantam, Black Australorp, Golden Laced Wyandotte, budgie, sugar glider, and a feisty Yorkshire Terrier.
 

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post #6 of 8

We put a piece of plastic "welcome mat" (the kind with short plastic bristles) in the bottom of each nesting box and some straw on top of that.  It works really well for us.  For whatever reason they ALL use the same box and some like it nearly bare and some fill it to overflowing, lol.  Whichever way they choose, there's always something for "padding" for the egg.  When the mat gets gucked up we hose it off, let it dry and stick it back in there with a bit of straw, and let them "re-arrange" to their hearts' content.

post #7 of 8

I use rice husks. They are small, soft, and the chickens can nibble while they are laying. Because it settles around the hen and eggs it sort of  'cradles' them. Three of my chickens lay their eggs in the same nest box and I haven't had one egg damaged despite the hens energetic 'rearranging'.  The chickens absolutely love it as nesting material.  I use it for bedding for new chicks too. It also makes great stuffing for dog beds (but needs to be contained in a tightly woven 'bag' inside the outer bed casing.  It even dries quickly if it gets damp and as long as the chickens don't poop in the bedding, it still smells good when it dries and seems to resist mildew in the humidity.

I get it at the local feed store, it's packed tightly and 'fluffs' alot when loosened-much like pine shavings for horses.

OH also, because it's in a bag, it's easy to store, composts better than straw OR shavings, and I haven't noticed any dust from it.  You can sift chicken poop from it using a wide toothed kitty poop scooper but it's so inexpensive and fluffs so much it's easier to just change it if it gets soiled.

Terri


Edited by momgoose - 9/8/12 at 7:30pm

Six chickens, two dogs and a bunch o' freshwater fish.

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Six chickens, two dogs and a bunch o' freshwater fish.

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post #8 of 8

Wow, never heard of that Terri.  Thanks!  We may have to look into that...I especially like the composting part.  Straw works reasonably well for us since we really need to get a LOT of organic bulk into our clay, but the husks sound like they might work even better.  We use Sweet PDZ in the coop with the straw and it dries the poo so quickly it takes a long time for any smell at all to be noticeable.  I'll have to see if our feed store carries it :)

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