I tend to favour wood shavings over straw for the hens’ nesting boxes. For one thing, I can easily carry a bag of shavings into the stall that serves as their winter quarters, while a bale of straw is heavy, awkward and obliges me to slither sideways through the door holding it tight to me. Besides, shavings smell nicer. With only four nesting boxes to tend to (the 22 hens studiously ignore the other four on the adjacent wall, prefering to queue up daily to make deposits in the “fave four”), I don’t use the whole bag in one go. Being the worksaver that I am, I decided this last time to just leave the bag in the stall and scoop out a fresh handful when I needed it. The next morning I caught a slight movement in the bag as I collected eggs and, upon inspection, discovered a hen that had streamlined the process even further by laying her egg right in the bag!
Straight to the Source