Hen empties nest and egg broke when dropping


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 6, 2010
I have wood shavings AND straw in our four nest boxes, but one hen goes into each one and scratches all the shavings and hay to the side so there is a perfectly bare wood bottom. She does this in every box. Today we got her first egg and it had a beautiful perfect hole right in the end where it hit the wood. Not just a crack, a hole.

Am I right in thinking it shouldnt be eaten since it was opened on the end?

my main question though,
What should I put in there for a cushion that she cant scratch away? I thought of cutting pieces of an excercise mat to fit the box and then putting shavings and straw over that. It would need to be replaced every now and then from getting scratched up.
Any ideas?
thanks chicken friends.


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
First, that perfect little hole is most likely NOT from the egg being dropped. It's from a chicken pecking it. NOT GOOD. I'd scramble it with the shell crunched up real good with it and feed it back to the chickens.

Some folks use astro-turf. I have rear rollaway nest boxes in which I use "nest pads" which are like plastic astro-turf.

Another thing to consider is the height of the front "lip" to the nest box - it should be four or five inches high so the hens cannot kick all the bedding material out of it.

Hope that helps!


9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
Granite Falls, WA
I had the same problem and went with plastic backed astro turf type stuff. I bought one lineal foot off the roll at the hardware store and cut the squares to fit the boxes. They fit snug and the birds can't scratch them out. I can also take them out and hose them off if need be. I have not had a broken egg since I lined the boxes and the bonus is, the birds quit sleeping in the nest boxes! I had a couple who insisted these were their bedrooms but apparently they don't like the new carpet.

Just make sure your cut your edges clean or the girls will pick at any loose strings or fibers and you don't want them eating that. A nice sharp box cutter works well.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 6, 2010
Thanks so much both of you for your response. You are right. I believe the hen pecked the hole in the egg. And astro turf....what a great idea.

we will see if we get another pecked egg tomorrow.

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