nest box bottoms - screened vs solid?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CanadaEh, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. Political yard signs are more durable and you can easily clean them because they are made from corrugated plastic while cardboard is made from corrugated paper.
    Aunt Angus likes this.
  2. CanadaEh

    CanadaEh Songster

    May 31, 2018
    i rather just toss the soiled cardboard into compost pile than wash the poop of politicians faces :sick
    aart likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^ the 'tubes' in corrugated plastic would be a great place for pests to reside.
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    I went with 1/2" x 1" welded wire under my nest boxes, and would do so again. Recommendation for this dates back to poultry husbandry books written about 100 years ago. Purpose was to let dirt, debris, droppings and broken egg materials drop through the mesh to the coop floor, PLUS, if you ever had a problem with mites, the way to clean them out was to pass the next box bottoms over a hot fire and fry em.

    I line the boxes with fluffy grass hay and swap it out about once a month, or whenever it gets tired and dirty.
    CanadaEh and Aunt Angus like this.
  5. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

    Jul 16, 2018
    Sacramento County, CA
    My Coop
    I use these for pretty much everything! Just grabbed a couple from a friend who got elected to the school board. I will punch holes in the corners and use them as a wind break. Rain storm's coming, and I want to see if that'll work for the sides of my run.

    My girls don't lay yet, so I think I will use a couple for my nesting boxes. Great idea! I have leftover vinyl tile in them now, but it's kinda heavy and doesn't quite fit as well as I'd like. That corrugated stuff will be perfect.

    And maybe my friend's rhetoric will inspire them and they'll lay more.
  6. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

    Jul 16, 2018
    Sacramento County, CA
    My Coop
    Good point. I will seal up the edges first.
    Huh. I had no idea. The things you learn every day! This makes sense. I am using plastic crates for nesting boxes right now (I repurpose everything - it's kind of an addiction). Maybe I don't need a bottom at all, then... Hmm...
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I used 1/2" hardware cloth on the bottoms of my lower row of nests. My higher nests are wood bottomed. My nesting material is dried grass that I gather from places I don't mow or weed eat and spread to dry. Really close to hay. A lot of broody hens have hatched in both types of nests.

    I've read various reasons you might want a wire bottom. Supposedly they are more flexible than a wooden bottom so eggs are less likely to break. I'm not impressed with that logic, I use wooden bottomed nests higher up and the eggs don't break in those either. It might make a difference if you didn't use any bedding but that is not my reality.

    It's supposed to keep the nests cleaner, the dirt falls on through. That's part of why I did it. But I don't see dirt or debris building up under the nests. The "hay" I use for bedding is somewhat delicate and gets scratched into tiny bits but the other hay catches it before it goes on through. When I clean the nests out, which is generally after a broody hen hatches, the wire bottomed nests are marginally easier. In either case I have to remove most of the bedding by hand. The only difference is that with the wood bottomed nest I have to work harder to get the fines out (if I want them out, often I don't see a need) while with the wire bottomed ones I just have to rake them over the wire. How much time does this save, a whole minute or maybe a minute and half. To me that is negligible plus I hardly ever do it.

    As far as cleaning out a broken egg, the nesting material acts as a diaper and soaks up the liquid. I generally just have to remove a handful of bedding. I don't see any real difference between wire or wood bottomed nests. If you don't use bedding I'd prefer to clean wire than wood. At least a lot of the liquid would drop on through.

    One reason I used wire was that I hoped to get better ventilation in the hot summers. I don't want my nests to become an oven. But the "hay" nesting material pretty much seals the bottom of the nest so I don't think there is any advantage there.

    Having both so I can compare, I really don't see any real difference in either they way I do it. If i were trying to use something like sand for a nesting material well duh! Using 1/2" hardware cloth I'm not sure how many wood shavings would actually fall on through. I tried that once, wood shavings, but prefer the "hay" as it is cheaper. 1" hardware cloth might make a difference there.

    There probably are specific applications where one is better than the other but I have not seen them the way I do it.
  8. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would not want to clean egg contents off wire or the floor beneath.
    Have had lots of broken eggs in nests with a serial softshell layer here.
    You'd need a very deep nest bedding of straw/hay/whatever to soak up all the liquid.
    and train the hens not to scratch down to bottom of nest!

    I see no functional advantage to wire bottom nests, even if they did do that 100 year ago.
    I'm just full of italics this morning :lol:
  10. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I have used both types of nest boxes. Now I have all solid bottom nest boxes that I put shavings in. I have also experimented with different materials in my nest boxes. Now I use pine shavings. They do scratch it out some and I replace it. I have replaced these nest boxes but this was from many years ago when I was using Spanish moss. A couple of my Production Reds.

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