nest box bottoms - screened vs solid?

CanadaEh

Songster
May 31, 2018
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Canada
Should I use screened (1/2" or 1/4" hardware cloth) or solid (plywood) bottoms in our nest boxes?
I understand the rationale for screened one is to allow poop/dust to fall through and only good bedding to remain in the box. Does it really work or does it only ad limitations on what to use as nest bedding - i.e. can't use small wood shavings or sawdust with screen bottoms? Any other pros/cons of either?
 
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rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
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No reason to use a screen, not sure what is supposed to be falling through? If the holes are big enough for any debris to fall through, so would the bedding.

Nest boxes should remain clean and poop free with a solid bottom. I've cleaned mine out ONCE since April/May, the bedding was clean and reusable and the only debris were sticks and feathers that the hens put in there. If you're having problems with poop in a nest box, it likely means the chickens are sleeping in the box.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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I can't see much of a reason, when I clean a nest I have a scraper that will scoop up most the fines left behind, also have removable pieces of vinyl in bottom to make cleaning any broken egg debris easy peasy....matter of fact, a broken egg would be a PITA to clean off a mesh nest bottom. So maybe mesh bottoms with vinyl liners. Just my thoughts.
 

CanadaEh

Songster
May 31, 2018
264
473
156
Canada
removable pieces of vinyl in bottom to make cleaning any broken egg debris easy peasy....matter of fact, a broken egg would be a PITA to clean off a mesh nest bottom. So maybe mesh bottoms with vinyl liners.
went with the mesh bottom before getting all the replies. Figured I could always put a piece of cardboard over it (easy to replace with new one instead of cleaning).

We use fall leaves for deep litter bedding in the coop. Chickens work it by scratching and pooping into something that resembles dust/dirt. If the nest bedding gets soiled/shredded as well it will be hard to clean up the said dirt/dust from the bottom corners/seems/etc. But with the mesh bottom there should be no dirt/dust as it will be falling through automatically. The mesh is 1/2" square hardware cloth, so should keep the leaves in unless they pretty decomposed and need to be removed.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
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Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
The real reason for screened bottomed nest boxes is to allow humidity to circulate over and around the eggs during incubation. To accomplish this a nest floor of sod is used as a base with a hand full of straw thrown in for good measure. The setting hen will arrange things in a cup or bowl shape and this will help keep all the hatching eggs little end down. Place the sod grass side down.
 

tigger19687

Songster
Jun 27, 2017
1,540
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Bedford, Massachusetts
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I have been using Hay/straw for nest boxes and so easy to just take the whole 'hay nest' out when i want to replace it. I seem to change them out once every few months just to make sure it doesn't get moldy or anything. If there is cracked egg or really gross wet mud I do it then too.
I have 2 solid bottoms and 1 section that has a plastic shelf as the nest area so it has some holes on the flat shelf area. It doesn't matter. I would rather a solid so they don't get cold bottom hahaha or if you are going to have Chicks then it will keep the heat better
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
23,046
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Florida
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I can't see much of a reason, when I clean a nest I have a scraper that will scoop.
I've tried everything over the years. Now I use shaving in my nest boxes and every now and then scrape them out and replace them with fresh shavings.
 

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