chicken nesting

runningtrailsJuly 9, 2008

I am getting my first chickens today. I ordered a dozen ready to lay hens and one rooster, hoping they will reproduce themselves, eventually.

I found a source for hardwood, mostly maple, shavings from a friend's woodshop. It's not sawdust but bigger. I'm hoping to use this as litter on the floor, instead of wood chips, but it's very soft. I couldn't find a source of woodchips, unfortunately. I've also piled it in the nesting boxes for bedding. I've put a couple of inches on the floor of the coop/shed.

Will the chickens lay in the soft litter on the floor instead of the nesting boxes? I'm planning on putting some fake eggs in the nesting boxes. I don't want to lose eggs or have to go hunting for them. Does anyone see anything wrong with using these wood shavings on the floor instead of wood chips? I'm want to raise the chickens on deep litter to compost the droppings and keep them healthier.

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Fake eggs are a good way of getting the hens started in the nesting boxes. Or, take a few from your frige and mark them and use them. Once they get started you can throw those away.
I think you will find that the hens will share nesting boxes. Mine do. They have plenty to choose from, but seem to lay in the same one. Then, once in a while they will start hiding them in a new area.
Once your girls get settled in and start laying regular if their production drops down chances are that they are laying eggs in a different area. So, you will need to keep an eye out for where they are hiding them.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Wood shavings should be good. I use about anything which is dry and has some absorbant qualities, some things arent too absorbant like shredded cane but it works ok. I use deep litter and only change it every other year or so. usually one pen per year maybe.

Dont use old eggs or any real eggs, if they manage to break any you will have gg eaters and thats a tuff one to combat sometimes. I keep a golf ball or 2 in each nest box.

A 2 gallon fount should be plenty, even a 1 galolon . It will need replenished sooner and that keeps the H2O fresher. Oxine is good to add to the water, it keeps algae/scum/slime growth down, purifies the water and is useful around the yard.

Pieces of old carpet work nicely on the bottom of lay boxes, they can be tossed when dirty and the hens wont scratch it out.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:32PM
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How deep is your deep litter? I'm afraid they'll next in it if I put it too deep. I'll put a lot more wood shavings down now. Thanks for the info!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 4:59AM
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