nesting material

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 2hot2chicken, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    We use fir shavings for the bottom of our coop and to fill our nest boxes since its free to us and that is what we raised our chicks in.

    Question is what do you use in yours?

    Im wondering if I should try hay? Our silkie hen we bought a few days ago is used to laying in hay and has layed us 2 eggs now and she layed both out in the yard in 2 different spots in the middle of the day. 1 was probably a stress related lay thanks to my dog but I found 1 again today in some gravel where they were taking a nap at.

    Im gona try taking the shavings out of 1 box tomorrow and lining it with hay to see if she will lay eggs in it then......

    Just looking for maybe some other ideas? Ive heard of sand, anyone use it and what were the good and bad about it?

  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I assume nest are to be used for hatching. I place 1.5 to 2 inches of a sandy-loam soil in nesting box and dried fescue hay or red wheat straw about 4 inches deep when loosely placed in. Soil mix with occasional addition of water seems to mimic conditions eggs normally exposed to prior to and during incubation when on natural soil. Plant material my hens tend to shred once incubation begins. During late winter months I place a layer of insulation below nest box to reduce heat loss from below.
  3. tandpmiller

    tandpmiller Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 28, 2011
    If you are not using them for hatching I'd recommend this:


    We are still in the planning stages of our nest box, but after reading here at BYC I know that we'll for sure be using nest pads like these. I've read that they are designed to allow the hens to scratch around in natural nesting behavior. It also keeps the nesting area cleaner. Apparently you can take them out, hit them a few times against a tree (like beating a rug [​IMG]) and slip them back in.

    Anything that is easy to clean gets my vote!
  4. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I use grass hay. I had it leftover from a rabbit we had. You could just grab a few handfuls of long grass and stick them in there to see if that might help.
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I was using spanish moss but lately I have been putting pine shavings in my nest boxes. We do have a chipper/shredder that goes on the back of one of our tractors so I can make my own chips and the spanish moss is hanging on the trees here. Right now we have the tiller on the tractor so I have been buying my pine shaving as I have been cleaning coops and moving birds around as I sell some and hatch new ones. I think it really doesn't matter what you use as long as it works for you.
  6. yankeedoodle300

    yankeedoodle300 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Chicken Heaven
    I use Pine Shavings for bedding, And thats what we always used. I have never heard Fir is good for them, but i DO know NEVER use Cedar
  7. mclevinson

    mclevinson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    Gilbert AZ
    I use a square of carpet covered in shavings. The hens scratch out the shavings daily, when I gather eggs I put in another big handful.
  8. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    I use pine straw. (the stuff raked up from beneath the longneedled pine trees) And/or grass clippings from the riding lawnmower bagger. I've also used leaves raked up in the Fall. Whatever is free and obtainable.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Some of these materials such as pine chips and needles may help control lice.
  10. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Quote:We know a few people around oregon who use them as fir trees are very common here and thus the shavings are cheaper then pine and you can buy in bulk at landscape supply places. Which is where my husband works and gets them for free......

    I know you cannot use cedar but I have noticed no difference in the chick or chickens using fir and a couple of the farmers we know have been using fir shavings for many many years with happy healthy chickens. So we use em to.

    Fir does not have the same dangerous oils and such that cedar has.

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