Nest Box - How to keep the "litter/bedding" in it


11 Years
Feb 20, 2008
Buxton, Montana
I have a chicken who has decided nothing can be in a nest box. She spends hours daily kicking scratching out what ever we put in the box. She does this to the point that eggs are now getting broken in the nest box. (3 out of 6 eggs were broken yesterday)

She has always been a bit of a problem in this area, but she has become obsesive now and it is turning into a problem. We are thinking that long term we may have to either cull her or pull the nest boxes and do a redesign.

I am looking for a short term solution as it is still cold and winter in Montana and we are not going to "redo" the next boxes in the short term.
not sure how your boxes are designed but a higher lip at the front should do the trick. Long term would be a roll away nest box, where the eggs roll away from the hen as soon as she stands up.

I've seen a few designs on here, do a search and you'll come up with plenty of ideas.
Are you using shavings? Have you tried hay? That's what I use and they seem to like to "arrange" it into nice round nest-shapes and then leave it alone, more so than shavings, which I did try at one time. I also have a good sized "lip" in at the front of my nests - a 2X4, actually, and that is essential for keeping the bedding in. I guess the other issue is whether there is something edible in there - bits of grain, or? - that she's looking for. I have gone to "community" nests, with long boxes big enough for 3 or 4 nests without any dividers, thus room for a chicken to get out of the way without eggs being broken if another comes in to take over that spot, which has worked well for me.
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Short term? All I can think of is collect eggs 15 times a day. Could you staple or screw down a softer surface in the bottom of the box?

When you can redo the nest boxes, roll-out ones would be very helpful. Here's a thread with some great plans, something to read while it's still a deep freeze up there!

Maybe you can start them now, if you have a warmer place to work. Good luck with the soccer player hen!
Couple of good ideas given already: change nesting material was my first idea, too. What have you been using?
Order plastic nest pads online from QC Supply. Get the economy ones. My girl emptied the nest boxes every time I filled them no matter what I put in. Then we started getting broken eggs and egg eating. These pads are plastic and I cut them to fit snugly and they have been in place since Day 1. You can just shake them off to clean them or rinse with a hose. I love them!

I would think the lip of 2 inches would be the cure on the bottom of the entrance, with long stuff for material. My boxes are wire, and have the 2 inch lip in front, and the sides of the entrance is also smaller then the box itself. I use pine straw. and when I put it in originaly, they formed it and have never messed with it so far. Hope this helps

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