I know this illustration could be a bit larger, but it does offer an array of bedding options to consider for your flock. So put on your reading glasses, because research is always our best tool in chicken keeping.
There are many different types of nest box bedding that chicken keepers use. There’s no right or wrong one, you just have to find the one that suits your birds needs or preference for the type of next boxes you have.
Nesting material is important, if your hens scratch around in their nesting box and kick all the bedding out you’re going to have broken eggs. The kind of nesting boxes you have are also important. If they are semi enclosed for privacy, such as a wooden box with a hole for entry there is a less chance your birds will kick out their nest material. Shredded burlap partially covering the entry hole is also helpful.
Bedding Materials / Pros and Cons
Wood shavings: A great choice if you have a box that will prevent the chickens from kicking it all out of the nest.
Straw: Many people use straw, it’s inexpensive and goes a long way. However, it does get hard and brittle which can cause irritation to the hen’s vent area. It also can get moldy, so it’s very important to keep in turned.
Grass hay: This is my choice of bedding. I like it because it’s soft and stays soft for at least a month and my birds don’t kick it out of the nest.
Sand: Clean, and makes for an easy clean-up using a kitty litter box scoop. But I think sand would be rather difficult to replace… not to mention it’s heavy.
Shredded paper: Becoming very popular in today’s world of massive household paper shredding. Some people mix it in with shavings, others use it alone. It can go in the compost pile, and what’s really nice is there’s is an endless supply, especially if you or your friends subscribe to a newspaper.
Solutions for Broken Eggs in the Next Box
Lining the bottom of next boxes with a cushioning material under the nest bedding can be very helpful if you are finding broken eggs. Here are a few ideas that are often used as nesting box liners.
- Corrugated cardboard
- Rubber shelf liner
- Carpet, upside down
- Artificial turf, upside down
- Rubbermaid kitchen sink mats