Nesting box help

Crazychickadee

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2021
18
26
39
I am hoping for some help or ideas for my nesting boxes. I have tried both straw, pine shavings, and nesting pads(plastic). My hens keep scratching all the way to the bottom of the box and than laying which breaks or crack the eggs since there is not padding….. the plastic Mats they HATE and won’t lay on. I understand why they stretch at straw so I tired pine shavings but they still push all away till there is only wood… any ideas or help would be awesome
 

WallyG74

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Mar 7, 2020
1,128
4,221
341
Meridian, MS
Mine do the same thing. I use hay but they don’t scratch down to the bottom right away. It takes weeks for them to realize it after I put new hay in. Even when they do get to the hard bottom they don’t break the eggs. Maybe I have real gentle layers???
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,896
35,873
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Use something different as a liner. I use folded feed bags to provide some cushion, and if you fold them to fit the bottom of the nest exactly they won't get dislodged. I now even put a couple sheets of bubble wrap inside the bag before folding, to add even more cushion. Put nesting material of your choice over that.

If your birds don't like the plastic lined bags, see if you can get paper feed bags instead.

coop3.jpg
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
20,059
75,545
1,237
SE Missouri, USA
Question: how deep or tall, from top to bottom, are your nests? Hens actually stand up to drop their eggs. If the boxes are not tall enough, that could be the problem. They need to be able to get off the egg without crushing it. They need to be able to sit, fluff up the nesting material and still leave some of it under her, scootch around and get comfy, and finally stand up a little as they pass the egg. If she can't do all that, the box is too small or too tight. Can you post a picture of your nests and give the dimensions in inches, length x width x height?
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,343
16,259
832
Nevada County, CA
These are kinda, but my hens LOVE them. The material is affixed to a paper backing so they can't kick it out.

20211017_220343.jpg


I had to switch to those plastic ones, though, because my ducks absolutely destroy everything else. Absolutely obliterate them.

I love my ducks, but they make me crazy sometimes.
 

raingarden

Songster
Apr 12, 2021
284
458
101
Windward Oahu
I attach a piece of heavy plastic mesh with quarter-inch openings to both sides of the nest box so it is sort of hanging there like a hammock. The box is narrow and the mesh is thick and tight so it doesn't bounce around much. The piece of mesh is also sloped a little bit from front to backs so the eggs roll against the back wall where the outside door is. Initially we put straw on top of the plastic mesh. When they scratched it all out we just left it empty so the eggs roll better and are easy to collect. It didnt seem to matter to the hens. There is room under the plastic mesh to get a scraper in there for raking out the poop and debris.
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,343
16,259
832
Nevada County, CA
I attach a piece of heavy plastic mesh with quarter-inch openings to both sides of the nest box so it is sort of hanging there like a hammock. The box is narrow and the mesh is thick and tight so it doesn't bounce around much. The piece of mesh is also sloped a little bit from front to backs so the eggs roll against the back wall where the outside door is. Initially we put straw on top of the plastic mesh. When they scratched it all out we just left it empty so the eggs roll better and are easy to collect. It didnt seem to matter to the hens. There is room under the plastic mesh to get a scraper in there for raking out the poop and debris.
That is rather ingenious.
 

Crazychickadee

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2021
18
26
39
Question: how deep or tall, from top to bottom, are your nests? Hens actually stand up to drop their eggs. If the boxes are not tall enough, that could be the problem. They need to be able to get off the egg without crushing it. They need to be able to sit, fluff up the nesting material and still leave some of it under her, scootch around and get comfy, and finally stand up a little as they pass the egg. If she can't do all that, the box is too small or too tight. Can you post a picture of your nests and give the dimensions in inches, length x width x height?
The boxes are about 14” h x14” dx19 w
 

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