best type of laying boxes : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We have these really slick laying boxes in the chicken coop that make the eggs roll out into a tray to be picked up. The boxes are made of metal, with a wooden roost running outside of each of three levels of five boxes each. Here's a picture, taken peeking in the hole where the doorknob should be in the coop door.

Our problem is that these boxes are very hard to keep clean. The chickens foul the nest, and it gets down into the wire mesh floor...fortunately the whole apparatus comes apart, albeit not very easily, and we try to pressure wash it at least twice a year. I talked to a guy who had lots of these in a semi-commercial arrangement, and he said he never had much of a problem with the chickens fouling the nests. Is the problem that I just don't have enough roosting space for them, or is it something else?


-- Chuck (, January 08, 2002


If they are fouling it, then they are in it moer than they should be. Granted some birds deficate from the roost, but if there is accumulation, that's not where you want them to lay the eggs you eat. I use milk crates, filled with straw. Easy to clean, and I compost, so there is no waste. Even the free rangers go where I want them too, if I leave enough things around. I have an upturned trunk, facing a wall that I filled with straw. The goose liked it, so she lays there. Chicken that free range go where they see others go.

-- Wendy A (, January 08, 2002.

Chuck, convert the "automatic" nest boxes to old fashioned "you reach in and get the egg out yourself" variety!!! Fill each nest box with pine or cedar shavings ( I like the cedar because it repels mites) and clean out dirty shavings and replace as needed. It is normal for some of the chickens to foul their nest boxes. The shavings totally eliminate the need to wash the eggs then.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, January 08, 2002.

I agree with Annie. It's cedar shavings for my "ladies". (Buff Orpingtons) 5 gallon buckets set on edge, with 40% of the lid glued at the entrance.

-- Buddy (, January 08, 2002.

Hi Chuck, I use straw in my nests and compost it for the garden. Like you said, maybe you don't have enough room in your coop for them to roost. I don't know if putting nesting material in the nest boxes would help or not, you might want to give it a try. Gee, I guess I have never had this problem before! I'm not much help! My chickens free range during the day and I close them up at night. My coop is pretty large, plenty of room for them. Good luck to you and let us know what works.

-- cowgirlone (, January 08, 2002.

Chuck, I use Coastal hay and the hens rarely foul their nesting boxes. I use Booda Loo large covered cat litter boxes. I put a lot of hay into the boxes and the hens arrange it to their liking. The boxes sit on the ground of the pens.

It appears from the photo that you have quite a bit of space for the birds to walk around there. Maybe that's the problem.

-- ~Rogo (, January 08, 2002.

I bought 83 cent, one gallon buckets at Penny Pincher's. We use cedar shavings for nesting and floor. Broomsticks, shovel sticks, whatever nailed up for roosting. I used wood to make laying boxes, but they prefer the black buckets wedged between the ends of the broomsticks. Wicked cheap, easy to clean(just dump the buckets), and plenty of eggs. No poop on the eggs either. So the chicken feel more closed in, there's an old rug tacked just above the buckets; looks like a hamock. Kids gather the eggs, so there's no fancy trays, but it all works fine for us:)

-- Epona (, January 09, 2002.

Hi Chuck.

I have wooden nest boxes 18" off the floor. I put a good amount of pine shavings in. I get very few broken eggs and the eggs and nest box stay clean. Any droppings I just grab the cat litter scoop that I keep in the coop and scoop it out. I do not have a pitch to the top of the nest box so the hens like to roost there at night which is no problem, I keep a wide putty knife in the coop also and just scrape the droppings off when I collect eggs. I have found that what works for others might not work for me and what works for me may not work for others. I tried to put burlap over the front so that hens would not roost in the nest box, I found that they loved this and would all try to roost in the nest box. took the burlap off and none roost in the nest box now.

-- george (, January 09, 2002.

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