The bedding in your coop does more than just add a little extra comfort to your chickens. The right bedding materials help keep the coop warm and dry, and also make cleanup a lot easier.
In a nesting box, bedding provides a soft place for eggs to land until you can come to collect them. Every chicken keeper has a different opinion about which bedding materials are right for chicken nesting boxes. You want an option that dries quickly and provides cushioning and insulation for your laying hens and their eggs.
To help you make the right choice for your coop, here’s a rundown of the top 3 chicken nesting materials to have.
STRAW OR HAY
Straw and hay are favored materials among chicken keepers. When you imagine a cute, rustic coop, you probably imagine a floor covered in golden straw or hay. These materials provide good insulation for each nesting box.
Plus, your hens will love scratching in it while near the nesting boxes—though that can make cleanup a pain from time to time. Straw and hay also won’t retain dust, which is great for the air quality in your coop.
Unfortunately, straw and hay do retain moisture in a nesting box, which means you will need to clean out and replace them more often than other chicken nesting material options.
Wood shavings are another popular choice among the top nesting materials for backyard chickens. Pine shavings are a common and easily available choice. This nesting material dries out fast and takes longer to break down than other options, meaning you won’t have to replace it as often.
The natural pine scent also helps keep your coop smelling fresh and clean. Some chicken owners also use cedar shavings, which have most of the same qualities as pine shavings.
However, some people worry about the strong cedar scent affecting chickens’ respiratory systems. If you want to play it safe, only use cedar shavings in a coop full of adult chickens.
You can also find chicken nesting pads to use in your each chicken nesting box. These options come in a variety of materials meant to provide a soft, clean, and insulated space for your hens and their eggs.
Many chicken nesting pads are washable and reusable, making them an economical choice for your coop. If you want to keep nesting boxes clean, these pads are a great choice.
What materials do you use in your chicken coop nesting boxes? Give us your top recommendations in the comments below!