I am hoping this helps other newbs out there, too... I've heard straw is the best medium for nest boxes. (I've also heard it brings in nasty mites, as straw is hollow... I'd rather not invite that kind of trouble into the coop, if I can help it.) Meanwhile, my barred rock started laying, and won't use the nest box, but rather, the nice fluffy pine shavings we have in the coop. (The run is filled with sand after a short "dabble" with deep litter, and I will never switch from sand again! But I digress...) I guess the sub- header for this thread might be... "Why won't they lay in the nest box, and what can I do to make it more cozy for them?" Anyway, I still can't get to the bottom of why people are so very fond of straw. Thoughts?