Nest box, coop and run material.

nursing1894

Songster
Dec 6, 2021
91
291
106
Miami, FL
Hello Friends,

Thanks for welcoming me. I am a new BYC member. I have built my chicken coop and run. Its located on concrete next to my shed house. My questions are….

1. What material should I place in the nesting area?

At the moment I have a shoe box with artificial pine tree in one of the nesting boxes. My chicken liked it.. this is what I used when I had her in my shed house… but now that I have a new home for the chicken should I put hay?? Paper litter?

2. What material should I put in the coop? Right now I have a washable dog pee pad. It’s soft. See attached pic.
Above the coop I have two roost. Is the coop her sleeping spot?

3. What material should I put on the ground of my chicken run? It has been rainy lately and the only areas that stay dry are the coop and nest. As you can see I’m such a newB that I put pee pee pads. Silly me. Now they are wet from the rain because the chicken run is not rain proof.

4. I have the feeder and water in the coop because I have not yet seen her come out to the run. Also she is broody…I want to make sure she eats and I don’t want the food and water to get rained on? Perhaps I can place it in the run section that is under the coop?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much.
 

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STACEYH

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 14, 2021
2,192
11,852
631
Illinois
I use straw in coop and nest boxes. I know many use pine/tree shavings. My feed and water are outside only. I also have grit bowl and oyster shell bowl in run. Part of my run has a roof for everything to stay dry.
 

saysfaa

Crowing
Jul 1, 2017
1,222
2,748
281
Upper Midwest, USA
Are you in the US? If so, pine shavings are nearly universally available and will work well for the nest box and coop. Other options: pretty much anything nontoxic and not too dusty, preferably absorbent.

Not cat litter and probably not sawdust.

Leaves nontoxic plants from grass to deciduous tree leaves and pine needles (long and soft pine needles more so than short, sharp ones), lawn clippings will work if you can get them dry before they mold... they are then essentially hay, hay, straw, coffee grounds, shredded paper and cardboard, wood pellets, cotton hulls.

It was a good idea to put the shoe box and christmas tree in with her when she moved because they are familiar to her. I would leave that for now and put the bedding in the other nest box and and on the floor.

For the run, I've seen many people say wood chips work very well. Some people like sand - that seems to be either a wonderful choice or a terrible choice depending mostly on climate.

Chickens like to scratch so puppy pad don't last very long even if they aren't rained on.

They are also flock animals - they do much, much, much better if they aren't alone. How long has she been broody? And, hm, are you sure she is broody - vs lonely or not settled in yet? If she is broody, giving her a few chicks is likely the best way to give her a friend without her hurting the newcomer in such a small space.

I don't know enough about broody hens to say anything on that.
 

nursing1894

Songster
Dec 6, 2021
91
291
106
Miami, FL
Are you in the US? If so, pine shavings are nearly universally available and will work well for the nest box and coop. Other options: pretty much anything nontoxic and not too dusty, preferably absorbent.

Not cat litter and probably not sawdust.

Leaves nontoxic plants from grass to deciduous tree leaves and pine needles (long and soft pine needles more so than short, sharp ones), lawn clippings will work if you can get them dry before they mold... they are then essentially hay, hay, straw, coffee grounds, shredded paper and cardboard, wood pellets, cotton hulls.

It was a good idea to put the shoe box and christmas tree in with her when she moved because they are familiar to her. I would leave that for now and put the bedding in the other nest box and and on the floor.

For the run, I've seen many people say wood chips work very well. Some people like sand - that seems to be either a wonderful choice or a terrible choice depending mostly on climate.

Chickens like to scratch so puppy pad don't last very long even if they aren't rained on.

They are also flock animals - they do much, much, much better if they aren't alone. How long has she been broody? And, hm, are you sure she is broody - vs lonely or not settled in yet? If she is broody, giving her a few chicks is likely the best way to give her a friend without her hurting the newcomer in such a small space.

I don't know enough about broody hens to say anything on that.
 

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Banana01

Songster
Feb 18, 2021
746
1,231
221
San Martin, Peru
I like artificial materials, like your wreath, it is a really good nest material. I do not like hay and organic materials because of insects and moisture, but i live in a mite infested jungle. Ive used plastic rice bags, polyester towels, down feathers, plastic mesh material, etc and it didnt really make a difference because broody hens keep it clean generally. The best material so far is just a cotton towel or down. The shoe box can stay, they like boxes as long as it is in good condition.

Your food and water you could put in this area, but you may end up having to replace the pee pads as she gets them dirty, are they washable? Consider using washable towels, i use cotton.
Screenshot_20211207-005353_Chrome.jpg


The area underneath should be in the grass, or over a place she can scratch and forrage for grit and other bugs and green grass. Concrete will damage their beaks over time and is hard for them to eat off of, especially if you put food on the concrete. At least put down wooden boards for her to eat off of, and let the concrete get dirty with layer of mud and sand is what i do if they are going to eat off it.
Screenshot_20211207-010007_Chrome.jpg
 
Last edited:

3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
11,950
31,342
1,116
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
The area underneath should be in the grass, or over a place she can scratch and forrage for grit and other bugs and green grass.

Just what I was going to say. The coop needs to be located on grass and dirt -- natural materials for a livestock animal. Not only is it better for the chickens but long-term exposure to the chicken poop over time will damage the concrete.

@Banana01's preference for non-organic materials is rare and based on an unusual environment with unusual challenges.

The vast majority of chicken keepers use organic bedding for all purposes in the coop, run, and nestbox. In the USA pine shavings are the most popular because they are universally available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to handle.

Straw is traditional, with chopped straw being less prone to packing/matting and easier to handle.

Some areas have locally-available materials -- such as pine straw (the long, soft needles of the loblolly and longleaf pines), here in the US southeast.

Some people use dry autumn leaves.

Where, in general, are you located? Climate matters. :) You can put it into your profile for easy reference so we can give better advice.

Also, exactly how big is the coop and run? And how many chickens do you have?

Makers of prefab coops are notorious for wildly exaggerating how many chickens can be kept in them -- fooling new chicken owners and thus creating problems that rob them of their joy in keeping their birds. :(
 

nursing1894

Songster
Dec 6, 2021
91
291
106
Miami, FL
I like artificial materials, like your wreath, it is a really good nest material. I do not like hay and organic materials because of insects and moisture, but i live in a mite infested jungle. Ive used plastic rice bags, polyester towels, down feathers, plastic mesh material, etc and it didnt really make a difference because broody hens keep it clean generally. The best material so far is just a cotton towel or down. The shoe box can stay, they like boxes as long as it is in good condition.

Your food and water you could put in this area, but you may end up having to replace the pee pads as she gets them dirty, are they washable? Consider using washable towels, i use cotton.
View attachment 2920861

The area underneath should be in the grass, or over a place she can scratch and forrage for grit and other bugs and green grass. Concrete will damage their beaks over time and is hard for them to eat off of, especially if you put food on the concrete. At least put down wooden boards for her to eat off of, and let the concrete get dirty with layer of mud and sand is what i do if they are going to eat off it.
View attachment 2920862
Thanks so much! I really liked your detailed recommendations! Yes, I just moved the run to the grassy area today so she can scratch and forrage for grit and other bugs and green grass. She was happy. The pee pee rug in the coop is washable. Thanks again! I went to this feed store today and got a few things from the ideas you gave me. Thank you for the description and arrows!
 

nursing1894

Songster
Dec 6, 2021
91
291
106
Miami, FL
I like artificial materials, like your wreath, it is a really good nest material. I do not like hay and organic materials because of insects and moisture, but i live in a mite infested jungle. Ive used plastic rice bags, polyester towels, down feathers, plastic mesh material, etc and it didnt really make a difference because broody hens keep it clean generally. The best material so far is just a cotton towel or down. The shoe box can stay, they like boxes as long as it is in good condition.

Your food and water you could put in this area, but you may end up having to replace the pee pads as she gets them dirty, are they washable? Consider using washable towels, i use cotton.
View attachment 2920861

The area underneath should be in the grass, or over a place she can scratch and forrage for grit and other bugs and green grass. Concrete will damage their beaks over time and is hard for them to eat off of, especially if you put food on the concrete. At least put down wooden boards for her to eat off of, and let the concrete get dirty with layer of mud and sand is what i do if they are going to eat off it.
View attachment 2920862
:yesss::thumbsup
 

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