My Chickens Keep Moving the Hay out of the Nesting Boxes

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NekhilG, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. NekhilG

    NekhilG In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2017
    Victoria, BC
    Hi Again!

    My chickens have recently started laying eggs and I have started to put hay in the nesting boxes. They are using the nesting boxes which is great unfortunately thought they are moving the hay out of the nesting boxes. I know they are not sleeping in the boxes, I read up and an article said that they like to scratch it until they are used to it. If this is true, how long until they are going to stop and should I keep readjusting it? I don't have a ton of time to keep putting the hay back into the boxes.

    Please Help,

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Young layers tend to be more vigorous in the boxes, often scratching out the bedding. I like a hay shavings combo. Keep replacing it. It should become less as they get used to laying.
  3. NancyNurseCxMama

    NancyNurseCxMama Songster

    Jun 1, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    My six girls kick out the pine shavings, check out the boxes, and toss out the ceramic eggs on a regular basis. I often find those fake eggs several feet away from the nest boxes.
    They leave the lone real egg that ONE of them is laying alone, however. Even if I hold it up to them as an example of what they should be doing, they give it a soft peck and turn away.
    I am thinking it is a chicken thing.
    SonoranChick likes this.
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Put a larger/higher lip on the nest boxes so that they are unable to kick out the hay.
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    My boxes have about a 3" lip, and it would need to be a lot higher to prevent the hens from 'rearranging' everything almost daily. Shavings, hay, whatever, all gets moved around and moved out. I just keep adding more, and figure that the stuff they drop adds to the litter on the floor. Redoing the lip on the boxes probably isn't going to happen here, although that would help.
    NancyNurseCxMama likes this.
  6. NancyNurseCxMama

    NancyNurseCxMama Songster

    Jun 1, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I figure they are just doing their chicken thing and refill the nesting boxes as needed. They look happy, healthy, and content.
    Minor pecking order stuff but, in general, pretty darn good girls.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    Still, could take a couple weeks after the last one starts laying.
  8. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    It's a young layer thing. I kept finding bedding and fake eggs kicked out of the box in the weeks before the first one started laying, and then gradually things calmed down. I only have about a 1" lip on my box but that's good enough once they get the hang of laying.
    NancyNurseCxMama likes this.
  9. SonoranChick

    SonoranChick Crowing

    Aug 31, 2014
    Southern AZ
    Yes to all of the above....young layers tend to "play" in the box. This is easily solved by giving your entrance a lip as others have suggested, or you could try using swamp cooler pads. They're made of natural material and they can't be scratched apart but provide ample cushioning for the box. Plus they're fairly affordable. Good luck!
    Fairview01 likes this.
  10. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

    Jan 26, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    Swamp cooler pads. Terrific idea. Not edible like hay, not absorbent but porous to allow contents of a broken egg to drain away.

    I use homer buckets as nest boxes. Cut off half the bottom. I used straw stalks that I collected from the run after they got all the seeds out of it. Absolutely no interest in scratching it out I think because unlike hay which is edible, coarse straw stalks aren't. They actually make a fairly nice real nest in the bucket. I guess they wiggle their butt back and forth as the straw gets pushed up along the sides after about a week. I just have to pat it back down.

    As far as the swamp cooler pad goes I use it in the next nest box I insert. They finally decided using the homer bucket is better than just squirting them out in the coop wherever. Not going to upset the consensus that that homer bucket is the place to lay by changing something in it.

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