Coconut mats for lining nesting boxes??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chieftain, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Chieftain

    Chieftain Songster

    Dec 21, 2009
    Some of you have been following my Chicken McMansion construction threads and it is coming along nicely. I do have a basic question though,

    I have built two good sized external nesting boxes, one that will be accessed from outside of the run, and the other accessed inside the run, but outside of the coop.


    This is a backyard coop and I have limited storage for materials like straw and hay, and I am considering other materials that may be suitable for lining the nesting boxes. The boxes themselves are double walled, with 1 1/2" of foam insulation in between the plywood skins. The cover hatch wil be of similar construction.

    I wonder if those coconut husk mats that you can buy for lining flower baskets, would be a good choice for lining the inside of my nest boxes?? I can get any size I want, including by the foot on a 3' wide roll if need be. The inside walls of each box has been primed with Kilz, and the walls have been painted with latex porch paint. The floor along with the Hardi-backer floor in the coop will be painted with a 2 part epoxy floor paint for durability and ease of cleaning.

    The front bottom edge of each box will have a lip to retain nesting materials in the box, and it seems to me that it would be pretty simple to staple a coconut mat in each box as a nest starter. The local Blue Jays here (and other birds) love the stuff, and have stripped our hanging baskets that are lined with coconut mat for their nesting material. It's very durable, and is easily picked and pecked apart, and if it gets too nasty it would not be hard to remove the whole thing and replace it periodically. It's nice and soft, so eggs won't get knocked around, and both boxes are communal, at least for now.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?? Better idea, or a good reason not to use the mat??

    I am starting from scratch with a new coop, and I have no way to store a whole bale of hay...

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Seems like an unnecessary expense - they will likely get pooey at a faster rate than you are expecting, and dunno how they'd stand up to repeated washing and drying. Also it will not be as cushiony as a good depth of loose material, possibly leading to more broken eggs depending on the behavior of your particular hens.

    The main advantage of coconut-fiber mats that I can see is that the hens won't (easily [​IMG]) be able to kick the stuff out of the nestbox like they sometimes (just *sometimes*) do with loose materials such as shavings or straw... but OTOH, adding a sufficiently high lip to the box fixes that problem even with loose material.

    I dunno, I don't see any big dire reason NOT to use the coconut-fiber mats if you want to try them, but I kind of expect that after a while you will probably be happier switching to a more conventional loose material [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. Chieftain

    Chieftain Songster

    Dec 21, 2009
    Thanks Pat! I'll think on this one some more....

  4. fargosmom

    fargosmom Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    I use pine shavings in our coop and nestboxes . . . and a bag of compressed shavings doesn't take up much space really. Plus it expands to be quite a bit of bedding, and it's cheap cheap. The full package is only about 2x3x4 or so, and I can make a bag last 6 months. HTH.
  5. sovia

    sovia Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Black Hills of SD
    I use the nest pads from ever since I bought some to meet the minimum order for free shipping. I have been very happy with them. My birds don't poo in them very often and they don't need to be changed frequently.
  6. ErieSpurs

    ErieSpurs Chirping

    Oct 5, 2009
    Elyria, OH
    It's worth a shot. I wouldn't staple them down though, if the hens can tear it up anyway then it just seems like an unnecessary step.

    The only issue I see with using the coconut mats it moisture. The mats are designed to help hold moisture to keep the plants hydrated. So if the chickens are damp from rain or use the restroom inside the nestbox, the coconut would hold the moisture. It may not be too much of a problem for them, but you would want to make sure no mold grows. It may also have a not so pleasant aroma.

    I still say it's worth a try, if it doesn't work you can try something else. Possibly the mats that Sovia mentioned. I've heard nothing but good things about them. Good Luck.
  7. trilyn

    trilyn Songster

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    First of all-gorgeous coop-lucky birds!! Another option could possibly be those green fake grass welcome mats-you know, the astroturf ones? I think those could easily be removed, hosed off and replaced. They're even cheap enough that you could buy extras and replace without the drying time. Personally I use the shavings with my girls and they seem to love it, no cracked eggs and they seem to like moving the shavings around to make it comfy for them. My boxes are made of sheet metal and I used luan to line the bottoms and then the shavings on top-seems to work and I only had 2 frozen eggs out of dozens this year!

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