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Sand in Nesting Boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by stubbornhill, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know...sounds like a really silly question, but I have to ask it. In our new coop, there is plenty of roosting pole room, 2x4's wide side up, enough room for all, and every night, all 6 nesting boxes are full of hens. And to be honest, whatever, if they want to sleep in them that's cool. Except...and we all know what the exception is. They dirty the boxes up. The hay is nasty every morning. We have sand for the coop floor which seems to be working out very nicely. Is there any reason that sand couldn't be used in the nesting boxes? Please state the obvious and not so obvious, because I am really considering it.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Take them out at night, and put something across the boxes so they can't sleep in there. Poopy eggs are so gross, and do you really want to have to clean them out every morning? I wouldn't.

    No sand, no sleeping in the nest boxes! ICK!

    If you really really want to let them do that, I guess it's OK.
     
  3. VelvettFog

    VelvettFog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Which is higher - the nesting boxes or the roosts?
     
  4. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suspect that the sand in the nest boxes would not cushion the egg enough when it is layed and the egg may break.

    As chicmom suggested, take them out of the nest box at night and block it. If you move them after dark they will probably stay put without you blocking the nests off.

    You need to figure out why they are bedding down in the nest boxes and not on the perches. As stubbornhill asked, are the roosts higher than the nest boxes? Hens usually go to the highest, most secure area and that may be the nest boxes in their chicken-minds. You could also take a look at the roost and make sure that there isn't anything about its location or environment that would make the hens feel vulnerable while they are asleep.
     
  5. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The new roosting poles are easily a foot higher than the nesting boxes. I guess I can block the boxes off for a few nights and see what happens. Obviously, if they're blocked off the hens won't be in them. I think that possibly the main reason they are doing this is that the older hens and the newer chickens have not really formed one flock. The three hens are a flock and the new chickens are a flock and the one Partridge Rock poullet is her own flock. They all live in the same coop, but when free ranging you can see it and the older girls, pick the nesting boxes to sleep away from the younger ones. And then some of the younger ones just follow suit and take the empty boxes. We'll see how it goes!
     
  6. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine slept in the boxes at first. I think I blocked them for a few nights and they quickly took to the roosts and have never gone back.
     
  7. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Mne also, just one night. I have shavings in my nesting boxes. I haven't had to clean out poop other than that first night.
     
  8. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your suggestions, I will give this a try. I am just happy that the younger hens are starting to lay their first eggs and most have figured out that the nesting boxes are the place to make that happen. This is how the coop is looking so far.

    [​IMG]

    You go through the man door in the cow barn to get into the coop.

    [​IMG]

    The two windows closest are the chicken coop. They now have hardware wire on them and we will be getting plexiglass to put over them for colder weather and then of course the windows can be completely closed in coldest, most windy days.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:chuckle chuckle!

    Sand is SUCH a good cushion that when we accidentally drop eggs from waist height (3-3.5') onto the coop floor, and they bounce. [​IMG] Now, I still ALWAYS expect the eggs to break of course, but nope... they bounce.
     
  10. stubbornhill

    stubbornhill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:chuckle chuckle!

    Sand is SUCH a good cushion that when we accidentally drop eggs from waist height (3-3.5') onto the coop floor, and they bounce. [​IMG] Now, I still ALWAYS expect the eggs to break of course, but nope... they bounce.

    Nice!! It is pretty amazing to me what the eggs can actually take before they break. I had two in my pants pocket again the other day. Got sidetracked, forgot they were there and started doing something else. Schootched down and started working on something and then felt something cold on my leg. Now obviously this time of year, fresh eggs would not be cold; but the thought of having two crushed eggs in my pocket made me stand up quick! They were fine. (thankfully!) [​IMG]
     

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