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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jtr, Jun 14, 2011.
which should i use in my laying boxes
I prefer shavings, as I feel it keeps the boxes dryer.
Pine shavings. Straw can get moldy, and it's hollow, so it can also harbor mites.
I use wood shavings for my nest boxes and also for my 8" deep litter on the dirt floor. The shavings on the floor work great with the droppings. When I open the coop in the morning I scatter cracked corn around the coop litter. That starts a feeding frenzy as well as lots of scratching. In a matter of a few moments all of the droppings have been scratched into the litter. The silkie and bantam hens keep their broods on the litter by scratching out hollow places they all can fit into. They move to another area just about every night. As the wood shavings break down I fill a couple of 5 gallon buckets and scatter this around the yard plants which the chickens will scratch in as chickens do. I just replace the shavings that I remove with fresh. It takes a couple of months or more for me to change all of the litter which seems to work really well. Even here in the rainy season the litter stays dry. The soil does contain moisture but it is not wet, there is a 2' cement foundation. There are mice that move in but they end up in a live trap which gets dumped out in the middle of the flock, yep, the hens gobble em up as fast as the little buggers hit the ground. A couple of the hens will jump up trying to get the mice before I can dump them. The shavings in the nest boxes gets raked out as soon as the shavings crumble, the hens like the fluffy new shavings. Only once have I had an egg laid with out a shell which was absorbed by the shavings and was easily raked out of the nest box. The nest boxes have a trough like bottom which keeps everything more or less in the middle and makes it easy to rake out as needed (I made a hoe like rake, no teeth, out of strong sheet metal which is about 6" wide to do the raking). A couple of times I've been late collecting eggs only to find an egg that was scratched out of the nest box by a hen adjusting things to suite her but it didn't break on the deep littler. I do not have a mite problem with the 7 hens, 5 turkeys, 6 silkies and 8 bantams. I scatter wood ashes along with the wood shavings where the chickens and turkeys take dust baths which may help with any mites or bugs that might pester the flock. HTH
We use hay. This is because we have horses and so much of it. I don't think it makes a difference between straw or wood shavings.