What nesting material for nest box?


9 Years
Sep 8, 2010
Hi all. I just finished building my new coop (https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/timms-medium-coop). My girls are just a month old, but it's not too soon to think about what goes inside the nest box. I built mine with no lips to make it easy to clean them (just scrape the stuff into the main coop), but the pine shavings that I use for litter won't stay there. They just scratch it out into the coop. I suppose I could add a lip to keep it in, but I wonder if there is something better. Straw? Those little fiber mats that line the bottom of the box for new baby chicks? Thanks for any thought!

Hens like to "customize" the nest. With that customization, they tend to kick out bedding if the nest box doesn't have a lip to help hold it in. The smaller the nesting material size, the easier for it to get kicked out. If you don't want to be constantly filling the boxes, or even run the risk of an egg falling out, I would put a lip on the nest box.
I use hay and straw. They love it. Each of my nest boxes has a 2 inch lip on the front. The back has a 4 inch lip, but it also opens up for outside access. I haven't ever had to "clean" out the nest boxes. The hens do that for me. If there is a little buildup of manure, I just take it out. as needed.
Thanks! I'll add a lip to the coop side of the box. And maybe I'll buy a bale of straw.

I have used all types of litter for coops.

I have not tried sand (sand gets good reviews on this site).

Of all the things I tried to date wood pellets have been the best. (I tried wood pellets as a last resort when pine shavings were not available.) They are super absorbent and swell up and eventually turn to saw dust. The droppings just seem to vanish and turn to dust when it comes in contact with wood pellets .

Replace my litter and clean my coop every October after I harvest my garden.

Works for me in my deep litter method.

I do add to pellets from time to time.

I have 63 trips around the sun so it is not my first rodeo.

I have anywhere from 10 to 15 birds housed in my 4x8 coop.

Through the winter months it froze harder than concrete with -40º temperatures. The poop froze before it could be absorbed by the pellets and there was like a crusty layer of poop in certain areas where they collectively took aim (no smell, messy feet or flies @ -40º). Come April things started to look after themselves.

Oh I might add I do have poop boards 3½" below my roost that I clean every 2 to 3 days (excellent for catching eggs laid through the night).

In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new.

Easy peasy!.

Chicken coop is salvaged 4x8 metal shed.

Hokum - Thanks! Wow, wood pellets and feed bags. Clever. Wood pellets are very popular for heating around here, hence easy to get and cheap. Maybe I'll give them a try. Shavings are a dusty mess. Unfortunately, my Agway chicken feed comes in some kind of plastic-like bag, not those nice old burlap, so that may not work for me.

And how nice of you to set up a deluxe deer feeding station!

@ TimM

Are you old enough to remember burlap bags???
I wish burlap bags were still available.
My feed bags are woven with some sort of synthetic fiber.
It resembles burlap a bit but that is where the comparison stops ..

I can not think of anything now that comes in burlap bags.

At first glance I thought your coop was a John Deere Tractor LOL.
Nice work!

Welcome aboard BYC!
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