Thursday, October 2, 2014

Nest Box Upgrades

Due in part to our apparent egg eating epidemic, and just to upgrade in general, I decided to add some extra padding and such to the nest boxes.

Right: Nest box with 2 layers of green astro-turf base.
Left: Wood shavings on top of the the turf, with dummy wooden eggs inside.
Previously, I'd been using hay on top of the wood. I upgraded this week to astro-turf under wood shavings.

The reasons I did this were:
  1. To elimate the possibility of the chickens scratching out the hay to reveal the wood alone. This has caused eggs to drop straight onto the hard wood surface, which if it cracked, would reveal the yolk to the chicken and incite eating.
  2. To provide an inedible medium in case of breakage. Hay can be eaten, but wood chips cannot, thus reducing the desire to eat the broken egg, while leaving "evidence" behind.
The morning after I did this, I caught a chicken (a red Star, in fact) eating yolk from the wood chips, and having a difficult time doing it. I put her in jail.

I ended up adding a double layer of turf for extra protection and area coverage. The wood chips filled in the rest. They've already scratched out nests revealing the turf below.

The old nest box, wood exposed, hay mostly gone..

Pile of turf squares and big bag o' wood chips.
The jury is still out on whether or not this will work.

I really hope it doesn't come down to a whole-flock cull.  :(

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