Nest boxes


10 Years
Aug 21, 2009
Star Valley Wyoming
When I was building my coop I talked to other people about how many nest boxes to use. Everyone I talked too regreted building so many because the chickens prefered only a few. I put 8 in my coop of 20 layers. They only use 4-5 a day like I was told but my question is why are my eggs always so dirty? I try to put new straw in a couple times a week but everyday my eggs are a mess and have to be washed. Do I need more boxes even though they are not using them all or what do I try different?
My dirty eggs usually come from the hens' mucky feet standing in the nest box and walking all over the other eggs laid in there. My run is very muddy after all this rain/snow and they've tracked it all over the coop, roosts and nest boxes.

My plan is to go to the garden store and have them fill the back of my pick-up with sand and I'm going to dump that in their muddy run, then maybe the coop/roosts and nests will stay cleaner!
Do you have a bar or something outside so they can empty their bowels prior to entering? Sometimes that helps. Also make sure the nest boxes are well off the floor or the chickens will scratch around in there, but don't make them higher than the roosts or they'll sleep in them and make them dirty as well.

Also straw is not very absorbent. I use sweet timothy hay from bags they sell for guinea pigs for my nest box; yes, one 12" x 24" box for six birds. I had an egg once in the middle of the floor, the rest of the time they all use it. They rarely dirty it and I only use a bag every four months. Shavings works well for nest boxes, as does alfalfa. Straw gets dirty.

When I have dirty eggs, it's usually because of dirty butts and some clipping of feathers is in order.

I put pine shavings in my nest boxes, I have tryed hay and grass but the seem to like the pine better. I do have one that roost in the nest and that's how mine get a little dirty. My boxes are about 2 ft off the floor at the bottom. I also have a bar or step out side that the get on before nesting.

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