Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nest Box Bedding

Down with wood shavings!

Kristine says our chickens hate wood shavings as bedding in their nest boxes.

She went out to collect eggs today and didn't find any eggs in the nest boxes, but she found 11 eggs on the floor under the roosts. Ick!

So, ok, I need to get rid of the wood shavings. Sigh...
And the boxes looked so nice. 

I read up on lots of different kinds of bedding that people use in nest boxes.

Straw! Our hens like straw! It is easy to handle. I like it too because it looks good and the hens like to snuggle down in it and make a nice warm nest.

Hay: I wouldn't want to use hay because it is supposed to spread chicken lice and not last very long?

Newspaper: People shred up newspaper and use that for nest box material. I bet the ink could make your light chickens spotty. LOL

Plastic Mats: I've read about people using plastic mats in nest boxes. Sounds neat because you can just shake them and hose them off and dry them and they are ready to use again.  But my hens are too picky.

Wood Shavings: I like the shavings. They smell good. But the chickens don't like them and Kristine said the fumes from the shavings can be bad for livestock to breathe. Now she tells me! Oh, well, I can use it out in the pen.

Leaves: I have used leaves in the chicken pen, but not in the nest boxes. The chickens are out in the leaves all day, so I suppose I could try putting dry leaves in the nest boxes  especially if I cleaned out the boxes and put in new leaves every day or so.

I read that some people use different shredded mixtures of straw, hay, shavings, newspaper or leaves. Interesting. I suppose people use what they can. 

Since we have so many leaves around here, this year when the leaves are well dried I'm going to bag some to use in the winter. At least I can use them as cover in the chicken pen. I'll see how that works.

Peek at the Past
The door is staying put!

[0 eggs]
All the eggs were poo eggs. Ick!



Nancy K. said...

Fortunately, my chickens seem quite content with shavings!


Toni aka irishlas said...

Just goes to show you never know until you try. My chickens love the pine shavings... they liked straw too, but, shavings better. Callie, you haven't spoiled you hens have you? Maybe they'd prefer egyptian cotton? Good luck figuring this one out - and you probably want to do it quick so they don't lay under the roost again :-)
Happy March!

Melodie said...

It is so disappointing to get all poo eggs! Happens to me a lot to.Those go in the dog's food,no waste here and healthy for my pooches!

Jennifer said...

My chickens like the straw better... but some of my nestboxes do have wood shavings. Need to get more straw :)

Lee said...

I liked your Coal Creek link. My neighbor gave us a square yard of plastic astro turf (fake grass) left over from his putting green installation (don't laugh). The hens know nothing else and except for Daisy's first egg, before we opened the boxes, we've never had an egg laid outside the boxes and they stay very clean. Perhaps if you lined the nest with the stuff at first, then sprinkled something they like over it at first, they would get used to it. Sorry you had to deal with "poo eggs"!

Leslie said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog. We like the shavings around here. I am glad the girls agree. It is easy to clean. And like you said, it looks nice! I like the look of straw too and would consider using that. It has that old fashioned look to it, reminds me of my grandpas chicken coop :) I suppose anything that makes them happy (and lay in their boxes) is fine.

dirtyduck said...

im using pine shavings for lilly(duck) and they do smell pretty strongly, and i HAVE wondered if its ok for her.
lol thats funny that ALL the chickans laying their eggs on the floor!!!

i think i asked about lil my pekin duck and about how long they lay eggs for? but i searched around and i cant find it, maybe i didnt ask. would you happen to know? she is four years old, is she done?

i did a small post about them a few days ago, if you want to see that, its like two down from that post on the same page (uh make sense?lol)
soapnuts are from india and they create soap from there shells.
maca is a "superfood" that people use for all dif things, balancing hormones is supposedly one property of it.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

My chickens do NOT like pine shavings. I think pine is ok, despite the scent. I have read that CEDAR shavings for animals - chickens or guinea pigs, hamsters, etc. have fumes that are bad for them. My chicks like straw, but only lay in one or two boxes, and poop in the rest of them. It is god-awful to clean out. I would totally LOVE to try those plastic mats, or astroturf. I've never seen mats like that sold for chicken use. WOnder where they got them? ANd I wonder what made them think that chickens would like, or at least use, them? I would not think they would.
I HATE poo-y eggs. I LOVE clean ones!

Becky's Barnyard said...

I have been using mostly hay. I didn't know about the lice. They seem to like it. I also use some pine straw.

Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

Just pop some golf balls into their nesting boxes and they will lay in them. Also put a couple of their eggs in the boxes for a day or two. My chickens will lay anywhere I put the golf balls. Good luck.

Knatolee said...

I've got a layer of wood shavings in each nestbox, covered by lots of clean straw, which I change out every week or two. Plus they have "privacy" curtains (old tea towels!) over each nest box.

We use the deep litter method for our coop, which involves about 10" of wood shavings and a small amount of food-graded diatamaceous earth. If it gets too dusty in the coop, we can wet down the shavings a tiny bit (not too much! nYou don't want damp, obviously.)

I've never heard anything about the shavings-fumes being dangerous for the hens, although I suspect that depends on the type of shavings being used (I think ours are pine, bagged, from the feed store.)

Good luck finding the bedding that makes your girls happy. Leaves sound like a good idea too.

Tanya said...

Too bad the chickens don't like the wood shavings. My neighbor raises rabbits and his wife makes wooden planters and things so her shavings go to his rabbits. It always smells so nice around their place! And then the soiled shaving get thrown in their vegetable fields... Very organic!