my chickens keep moving the hay out of the nesting boxes...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cluckler, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. cluckler

    cluckler New Egg

    Aug 15, 2010
    we have 3 nesting boxes, and 6 younger hens (4 different breeds) that should start laying in Jan or Feb.
    we keep putting hay in the nesting boxes so that when they are ready to lay, they have a nice little place to sit. they pull it all out and scatter it on the floor of the coop within an hour or so.
    should we keep putting the hay in the boxes, or should we just leave them bare? we're worried that a nesting box with no hay is not a good place to lay eggs..... any thoughts?
    -Amy & Nathan
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  2. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Ughhhh..I know that feeling only too well. Once they realize there is nothing there and you keep putting it back in..they will eventually pack it down when they start laying,until then good luck...
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I used hay in my nesting boxes, but the same thing kept happening- the hens would scatter it all over the place and the boxes would be bare. I use shavings now, so they can re-arrange it as much as they feel they need to, but some shavings actually stay in the boxes and cushion the eggs when they are being laid.
  4. cluckler

    cluckler New Egg

    Aug 15, 2010
    --- so you use shavings? the man we bought the coop from said to use hay and not shavings. he said there was some type of shavings (cedar?) that would "burn their butts." yikes.
    what type do you use? maybe i can switch to those for now....
  5. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Pine shavings from the lumber yard are fine. We open the end of our bag (comes in compressed bales of 7.0 cubic ft) to let it air out as we just take from it as we need it. There is a coarse and a fine level of shavings. Ours prefer the fine for the nests. We use coarse for the floor. Could use either one but we do spoil our girls too.

    ETA - Correct when he says do not use cedar shavings.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  6. kittycooks

    kittycooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I put a mix of aspen shavings (from petco) and straw, but mine tend to throw the straw out too. A couple of months before they started laying I put some golf balls in the boxes. My hens seemed to have some "nesting" instinct and would roll them around a bit. Once they dropped their first egg they seemed to know what to do.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Before mine started laying they would kick the hay out. I just kept filling the box's with hay & now that their laying they leave it in the box's. I have 6 box's 5 are filled with hay & one is filled with pine shavings. They have never layed an egg in the box's with pine shavings. Who really knows? If it works don't fix it. Also, I live on a hay farm so I'm glad they like the hay.
  8. TheWaddler

    TheWaddler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I made my boxes just big enough for the ladies to get in and do their business, no room for tom-foolery! This was after doing some reading and finding out about egg eating and how they solved the problem with boxes barely big enough for them to stand in, this way they can't stand up and spin around or foul the boxes since they can't stretch out. My buff fills the box with her tail sticking out if you lift the top with her in it, have to tuck it back in to close the top but they all use them for the most part. My leghorn sometimes lays in the compost bin next to their coop but I think it is because the buff is in there when she wants in and won't settle for another box.
  9. Ema

    Ema Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2010
    N. Ontario CANADA
    my chickens used to do that too, and on occasion they still do, until I figured out I have picky the straw was not pushed down and formed into a bowl shape they would take it out....
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I used to have that problem with straw and shavings. When I raised the lip to about 5", they stopped scratching the bedding out.

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