Chickens clearing out the nesting boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dleong, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. dleong

    dleong New Egg

    Jul 4, 2010
    My chickens are 18 weeks old, and we got our first egg yesterday. My question has to do with the nesting boxes. I made a nice bed of grass clippings and they scratched it all out and layed the egg on the wooden floor of the box. They did the same thing when I had wood shavings in there.

    The nesting boxes are about a foot square, and a foot high, sloping down to nine inches. They have a 1 inch lip in the front, so I know the materials are not simply falling out.

    Should I do anything about this? If so, what?

  2. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    What breed of chickens do you have? Need to know their size and character.

    Your nesting box would not he high enough for my chickens, especially my NN, even my New Hamps like to stand up and turn around in the box. They may want more room (Highth).

    Before you go changing anything. Try the rubber shelf liner, its harder for them to get it out. Just cut a piece to fit the box. I put a couple layers of feed bag and then the rubber matting then a bit of straw, but my boxes are 12 " high without a slope.
  3. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:I tried pine shavings once and they did the same thing-- kicked it out of the nesting boxes. I think the problem is that chickens like to fluff their nesting material and make a little well in the center, so with shavings and grass clippings, the result is that they kick it out of the box while doing their nesting preparations. I wonder whether they're looking for all the little critters that may have found their way into the grass clippings too?

    I switched to hay in my nesting boxes and have no problems with the hay staying in the boxes. The girls do their prep work and make a nice little nest for themselves and the eggs are protected from cracking. When the hay gets a little thin in the middle and/or when it gets pretty flattened out, I simply add more hay. Hay is much less expensive than pine shavings (which I do use on the coop floor). It's worth a shot.

    An overhead shot of 2 of my nest boxes (before I put those Silver Spangled Hamburg eggs under my broody girl):

    My broody hen, making good use of the hay:
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  4. Jen71

    Jen71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2010
    Thanks for the replies - I have the same situation and this info is really helpful.

    My coop has a few nice, dark nesting boxes which were filled with pine shavings, but instead of laying there, my hens used the straw in the run to make a few cozy round nests (just as you described) under the coop building!
    I will change to straw in the nesting boxes right away so they can create nice cozy nests in there too.

    We are LOVING having fresh eggs everyday! Chickens ROCK! [​IMG]
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    My birds seem to always prefer straw to shavings although, eventually, they will carry off most of the straw so it has to be replaced. When new straw is put in they will rearrange it into a nice pocket before using it.
  6. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I also use straw in my nesting boxes, pine shaving in the coop.
  7. dleong

    dleong New Egg

    Jul 4, 2010
    Thanks to all.

    they did the same thing with straw, so I finaly just carpeted their boxes. Seems to work just fine.
  8. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2010
    My girls just like to arrange things to suit themselves. They threw the fake eggs out of their nest boxes and rolled them into their perfect little home-made nest UNDER the nest boxes. They definitely prefer the hay by the way, and fortunately my coop is large enough to just keep a bale of hay in there so they can replenish the nest themselves, and I have a nice place to sit.
  9. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    What a wonderful idea. I am going to add a hay bale now. Thanks! Mine prefer hay and I was just bringing in a bit at a time.

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