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Why is straw being kicked out?

PUBLISHED: 16:25 09 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:26 09 January 2014

My 10-year-old daughter’s three chickens live in an Omlet Eglu. We have used straw to fill the nest box with no problems, until recently, that is. Suddenly, the straw was being kicked out of the nestbox. We tried shredded newspaper instead, which ‘solved’ the problem for a couple of days, but they then started to kick that out, too, and eating the wet newspaper in their run as if it was spaghetti! We are back to the straw, but the dominant chicken is now kicking it out before the door to the house is even closed! Eggs are now being laid on the floor of the empty box! Any suggestions welcome.

Charlotte Popescu says:

I have never had an Eglu but have done some investigating and gather that there are slatted bars for roosting, which are on the floor and there are no perches. Hens instinctively like to perch and this is natural behaviour. Perches need to be higher than the nestbox as hens like to perch high up. If the nestbox is higher than the roosting bars then your dominant hen will be sleeping in the nest box, and I think this is what is happening, especially as you say she is in the nestbox when you close the door, presumably in the evening.

Solving this problem is going to be hard. You could try blocking off the nestbox every evening. Another idea would be to move the offending hen from the nestbox once it is dark and place her on the slatted bars; hens do not see well in the dark so she would probably stay in place once you had moved her. If you were to do this on several consecutive days she might get the message and join her friends on the slatted bars of her own accord.

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