Having Trouble With Bedding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by EggHeadedMama, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. EggHeadedMama

    EggHeadedMama New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Evergreen, CO
    Hi -

    I have eight chickens and until now I have had good luck with straw bedding and straw also in the nesting boxes. The first couple layers would lay in the nesting boxes no problem. Now that most of them are laying, they are laying all over the coop. I think it is because the straw is all over the bottom of the coop. Does anyone have any suggestions of what else I can use? I'm worried that wood shavings may have the same effect. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Best,
    Kristi
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    As new layers, they will take a month or so to adjust to the whole idea of laying, and a number of odd things can happen, including trying out different spots to lay. I doubt changing the type of bedding in there will matter, but you could try it. Mine like the hay in their nests and will turn round til a hollow is scooped in the middle of it. I never had much luck with pine shavings in nests as they would kick it out, even over a 1x4 barrier -- but again, every flock is different. Do you have fake eggs in the nests, like golf balls? These apparently send the message that this is a good place to lay.

    I have an older flock and mine still do not always lay in the nests, though they usually do. Once in a while one will decide she likes a corner of the coop better, or even the floor in front of the nests. Apparently, one can even get the others doing the same, as there will occasional be a pile of eggs in an odd spot for a few days, then they go back to using the nests.
     
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  3. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps


    Ditto. I have found that if I put several eggs in one box, it soon becomes the "nest of choice" because obviously other hens liked it..... Chickens are entertaining.
     
  4. EggHeadedMama

    EggHeadedMama New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Evergreen, CO
    Thank you for the responses. Human logic tells me that they might just think they could lay anywhere because of the bedding and the nesting box are both straw. I am finding chicken logic is very different! [​IMG] The ones not laying in the boxes are new layers, hopefully they'll catch on from the other girls. I will try the golf balls or eggs in the box and see if that works.

    I am also glad to hear that they do make themselves a hollow in the nesting boxes. I keep adding straw thinking that it can't possibly be comfortable and the next day it is hollowed out again. There goes that human logic again. So much to learn!!!
     
  5. wsmith

    wsmith Chillin' With My Peeps


    yup! We are all learning, even if we have had chickens for years.

    Another thought is to collect the eggs later in the day, and leave them in the nest box for the young ones to see. That's what I do when I have new pullets starting to lay. For a week or so, they are all over the place. On the floor, out in the yard, etc. Mine usually realize where they are supposed to lay fairly quick.
     
  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I have been around the sun 63 times.

    It is not my first "Rodeo!"

    Heat???
    Nobody "I know" heats a chicken coop.
    Healthy "cold hearty" chickens die from heat not cold.
    I live in Canada last year was subject to -40º (C or F take your pick) no light or heat in coop NO PROBLEMS. You have to feed heavier during cold snaps with extra corn I find.
    Chickens have been raised on this continent for over a hundred years without heat.
    If you feel you must supply heat to your chickens I suggest keeping your chickens in the house that way you can huddle with your birds when the hydro goes out.

    Acclimatize
    Chickens will die from cold if not given the chance to acclimatize. Hydro is more apt to go out in an ice storm or blizzard when subject to below 0º temperatures in my opinion.

    How would you supply heat then to your un-acclimatized birds ???

    Diary of last winter cold snap check out the link:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/738994/chickens-arctic-conditions-prolonged-period

    Watering
    For along time I used heater tape around a bucket with chicken watering nipples. It worked excellent. However me being me I neglected to change the water as often as I should.

    Last year I switched to white rubber contains the wife found somewhere. The freeze solid every night but the ice just pops out of them in the morning and I replenish them with fresh warm water. They have black ones at the feed store that are similar but large than mine.

    The chickens congregate around them like people having their morning coffee. The only draw back is my yard is pepper with small ice bergs the size of the buckets.

    April looks after that however..

    [​IMG]
    My Coop is a salvaged 4x8 metal shed here are a few tips and a quick look at my set up.
    My floor are planks with a layer of tin for rodent proofing. On top of the tin I have a piece of vinyl flooring cut one foot longer than the length and width of my coop (roughly). Six inches squares are cut out of the 4 corners of the vinyl flooring. This allows the friction fitted flooring to travel up the walls six inches around the perimeter of my 4x8 salvaged metal coop. Shovel out the heavy stuff into a wheel barrow. Pop out the vinyl flooring hose it off pop it back in.
    Easy Peasy!

    Bedding
    I have used all types of litter for coops.

    I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

    Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

    Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.


    Works for me in my deep litter method.

    I do add to pellets from time to time.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

    Through the winter months the pellets froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

    POOP BOARDS are the "BEST" addition yet. Handles well over ½ of the poop in my set up keeps ammonia smell in check 3½" below roost excellent for catching eggs laid through the night (roost are in cups for easier removal and cleaning). I recently friction fit a piece of vinyl flooring over my poop board.it makes clean up even easier; Pop out; Scrap; Hose; Pop in.

    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

    Easy peasy!.


    [​IMG]



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    I house an assortment of birds in this baby barn (¼ inch veneer plywood between birds and elements) no heat no light no problems.
     
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  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    The bedding is the same in my coop as it is for the nest boxes(flax) MOST(see, i didn't say all lol) of the time they lay in the nest box but every now & then you get a hen who wants to mix things up and lays in the coop itself.

    There is always a rebel in a flock [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  8. EggHeadedMama

    EggHeadedMama New Egg

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    Oct 17, 2013
    Evergreen, CO
    Thank you everyone - Sometimes I am happy when I am wrong and I find that what I am worried about is normal (Don't tell my husband) I thought it was bedding confusing, but sounds like it just happens. My girls seem pretty smart as far as chickens go, so I think they'll figure it out. [​IMG]

    Hokum Coco - Thank you for all your insight. I was wondering if wood pellets would work - we have a pellet stove so that would be easy. I don't think I can do the deep litter method - I just don't have the room. I suppose cleaning out a layer of it when needed would work? I am just learning about "poop boards" and I would like to do that, but I'm trying to figure out how to do it.

    My biggest problem is that I anthropomorphize (sp?) my chickens. As a vet tech I should know better, but its easy to do with animals you care so much about.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    If you must anthropomorphize them, at least be aware of it, I say!! lol....

    I would caution you about wood pellets, that they don't have anythign undesirable in them, like some sort of starter fluid. They may not -- but I've read in the past that at least some of them did. It may be this is no longer true. Of course if they are just wood, they would be fine.
     

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