The bedding in your coop does more than just add a little extra comfort. The right bedding materials help keep the coop warm and dry, and also make cleanup a lot easier. In nesting boxes, 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 nesting boxes. You want an option that dries quickly and provides cushioning and insulation for your hens and their eggs. To help you make the right choice for your coop, here’s a rundown of the top 3 nesting materials for chickens.
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 your nesting boxes. Plus, your hens will love scratching in it—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, which means you will need to clean out and replace them more often than other bedding materials.
Wood shavings are another popular choice among the top nesting materials for chickens. Pine shavings are a common and easily available choice. This 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 keepers 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 hens’ nesting boxes. 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.
What materials do you use in your nesting boxes? Give us your top recommendations in the comments below!