"Nest pads" or straw or excelsior in nest boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PJCluck, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. PJCluck

    PJCluck In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2010
    Living Free in NH
    My 8x20 coop and 20x50 run are done, indoor and outdoor waterers flowing, the birds love it all. Eggs are due in November or thereabouts. I have my 3x3 nest boxes built and ready to install. They have a slight incline so the eggs roll to the back (well, it's the plan, anyway...designed from sketch in the Gail Damerow book - the BOOK), where I can get them through the three horizontal hinged, lockable doors on the coop's outside.

    I need to figure the lining for the nest boxes. FarmTek sells 12"x13" 'nest pads' (EH1406) for $2.81 each, that look like that green, plastic astro-turf stuff you can buy at Home Depot. The BOOK suggests using excelsior pads. A neighbor just has ratty-looking straw. Questions: 1) is the FarmTek nest pad the same as the plastic stuff from HD? 2) Where can I buy excelsior pads? 3) What are YOU using to line your next boxes?
  2. BankerJohn

    BankerJohn Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Lecanto, Florida
    I bought a fake grass door mat and cut it in half to lay in a 5 gallon bucket that lays on its side for their nest boxes. I tilt the 5 gallon bucket and the eggs roll out to the opening for easy retrieval. The door mat is plastic and just needs a good washing every once in a while. I then pour DE on it to keep the bugs away.

    I wouldn't pay shipping when you can get something like this at HD.
  3. kichohana

    kichohana Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    Johnston County, NC
    I just use wood shavings. The entire compressed bag costs about $5 for 5.5 cu ft. It is compressed and will fluff up and make nice nest liner. When/if it gets poopy, it's inexpensive to replace. I like it because the chickens get in it and "wallow out" a comfy area to put their egg in. If it gets too compressed I can just fluff it up.

    Straw is also good for nestboxes, but it can harbor mites. It is also inexpensive.

    Excelsior pads can be purchased at eggcartons.com. A package of 10 costs $12 - plus tax, ship n handling. I don't see the benefit since the cost is not conducive to being changed/replaced obasis if needed. Excelsior is just wood fibers - eggcartons.com website states that theirs are manufactured from Great Lakes aspen excelsior fibers and brown kraft paper.

    The roll-out nest pads (Farmtek has these) cost about $3 each and look like astroturf/fake grass. I guess they would last a longtime, but I can't imagine them being too comfy for my hen's bums!

    Just my $.02 worth. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  4. PJCluck

    PJCluck In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2010
    Living Free in NH
    Thanks for that advice. The point of the pad is that the eggs will roll away, 'downhill' to the edge where they're grabbable through the outside door. They'd get hung up in straw or wood shavings, I suspect. But I am going to try some with shavings, some with excelsior, some with the astroturf things, and see - I have nine boxes and only 14 hens, so plenty of opportunity to test.
  5. pilgie

    pilgie In the Brooder

    Hi: I have no idea what I'm talking about yet but my farmer/mentor/friend said that I would be better to use wood shavings rather than straw. He mentioned that they are cheap and keep the odour down when compared with straw. I've never seen a nesting pad.

    My question is - drum roll [​IMG] What do you do with the stuff that's cleaned out of the coop? can it be composted?
    John Sanders likes this.
  6. moondog425

    moondog425 Chirping

    Jul 29, 2010
    I use wood shavings, cheap , works great. I have had no problems with broken eggs or keeping it clean.[​IMG]
  7. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Songster

    Mar 21, 2010
    Hi! I got the FarmTek pads. They work well and are easy to clean. The hens don't roost on them or stay in the boxes for very long since I put them in, so not much poop. The eggs do roll nicely out to the back in mine. I also got them for the "roll-ability". Good luck!
  8. Shaun

    Shaun Songster

    Sep 24, 2008
    SW Central Michigan
    Tried using wood shavings in the boxes for our hens - they never took me seriously, and went and made nests in the straw on the floor! Can't imagine Astroturf! I think I'd try wood shavings and straw!
  9. hipeatall

    hipeatall Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    I picked up some heavy duty AstroTurf at Home Depot yesterday. They cut it off the roll for me so I got a 1 foot x 12 foot piece for about $6.00.
    My plan is to cut it down, put the pieces on the floors of the nest boxes and then add hay. I really think it's gonna work great. I think it'll help keep the hay in place in the boxes and it'll keep the hens from scratching all the way down to the wood or metal bottoms of the boxes anymore... which my hens LOVE to do! [​IMG]
  10. catdaddy66

    catdaddy66 Songster

    Nov 18, 2009
    Lugoff, SC
    Quote:It most certainly can be composted! I had a pile that I cleaned out of my coop and, being lazy, let it sit for several weeks. Lo and behold, sunflowers started growing 'cause I treated them w/ BOSS!! That is some good compost!

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