So you are saying to yourself, “but didn’t you just change the nesting boxes?” and you would be right! Why did we change again? Let me explain.
First and foremost we want to have the best eggs for our customers. That means big, fresh, CLEAN eggs. Clean to us also means easy to clean.
Our first set of nesting boxes were your standard wood filled with hay. The hay became a problem because the girls kept kicking it out so there was nothing to cushion the eggs. Sometimes an egg would break and we had to take time cleaning out the wood box and disinfecting it. We decided wood, which is porous, was not the most sanitary option for the ladies to nest in. We even tried disposable nesting pads. They increased the cleanliness but a broken egg would still soak through.
PLASTIC!!…..Plastic is easy to clean, right? Of course it is! So our next set of nesting boxes were made out of plastic buckets. We used the nesting pads and could easily pull out the bucket and wash it. The hens took to them right away but we quickly ran into a snag. The ladies grew so fast over the winter that they started to have a difficult time turning around in the bucket, stepping on or messing on the eggs. This was not working at all.
After calculating the cost of the nesting pads we decided that buying a fancy nesting box would eventually pay for itself. This high tech looking box has got some great features. The red flaps give the ladies privacy. There are no walls in the box so more hens can use it at a time. There is a washable rubber mat for them to sit on. The mat is at an angle which causes the eggs to roll down into a tray in front. That tray is covered so the chickens can’t get at them.
At first the ladies did not want to use it. They started laying eggs on the ground. I put some nesting pads on top of the rubber mat which got them started. I slowly removed the material and they are now laying clean eggs and not cracking them anymore.
See the ladies checking out the new nesting boxes on their YouTube channel: