Hay in the nest boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NickyPick, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    Ok, I just moved the new nest boxes into my 15 1/2 week old's coop. I tossed some shavings in them for now, but my question is about hay. Should I use hay for the nests? Should I worry about the chickens eating it? I've read that they can get impacted crops from hay. How do you know when a crop is impacted and what do you do about it?
  2. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    You can tell if it is impacted if they are acting weird and not laying or get pasty butts. I use hay in my nesting boxes even though some suggest not to but they have never eaten it. They eat the shavings but since the hay is only in the nesting boxes, they know it is their laying area and it has not been an issue.
  3. Harvey'sHens

    Harvey'sHens Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 23, 2011
    I use straw, it's not as tasty as hay so they leave it alone. It seems to stay cleaner than shavings do. I have used both.
  4. gordonburrito

    gordonburrito Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2010
    Hay also molds/rots much more easily than straw, which is why I never use it anymore.
  5. greymane

    greymane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2011
    Snyder County, PA
    How often do you change your straw / hay? Mine never stays long enough to get moldy / rot. I have to change it regularly as some of the girls do not have very good toilet habits. [​IMG]
  6. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    I've never used anything but hay for the nest boxes (we make our own hay, so I have a ready supply). The hens do love to eat some of it, especially the clover seed heads. I end up having to refill rather than replace the bedding every few weeks, LOL. But I've never had any problems with impacted crops.

    I have heard of people buying alfalfa hay for feeding to hens during the winter. I'm thinking about buying a couple bales for them this fall.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Ditto. I clean out my nestboxes once a week and the coops are water-tight, so molding is not a problem. Never had an impacted crop either. I have one hen that I've had a battle with for two years trying to keep her from sleeping in the nestboxes, so I took hay out of her favorite and put pine shavings instead. She hasn't slept in that nestbox since, but neither is she sleeping in the other boxes, so it's all good.
  8. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I use hay. I never had a problem with it. I've never changed it . I've added more hay because they squash it down all the time. Believe it or not they don't poop in the boxes. Everywhere else yes.
  9. gordonburrito

    gordonburrito Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2010
    Our "egg door" isn't a perfect water seal, so our hay molds in the very back. We've had no problems with straw though availability can be a problems, since its only easy to find around here in the late summer/fall. Our girls do not poop in the nests, so what we do have lasts a good long time. The only thing with straw is if the girls find a single wheat berry they will tear up their nest boxes checking and double checking for more. I've usually give them a bunch of straw to work over and then use is for their nest boxes.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011

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