Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nesting Box Curtains - Not as Frivolous as They May Seem


A few months after we started raising chickens back in the spring of 2009, I saw a coop with a valance over the row of nesting boxes in one of the myriad of chicken magazines I subscribe to.  I thought - what a cute idea. So I googled 'chicken nesting box curtains' and got over 140,000 hits!  Wow! Who knew such a thing even existed?


I do a fair bit of sewing, so I decided to make some curtains for my coop too.  I found some pretty red floral fabric and a curtain rod and marched down to the coop with my scissors and tape measure, ready to measure and cut the curtains and then bring them back to the house to sew them up.

~original curtains spring 2009~
Long story short, one staple gun and ten minutes later, the chickens had curtains, tiebacks and all.


 Soon there was a waiting line to lay in the nesting boxes! 


Over the next few years, the curtains have been ripped down and new ones put up.  It only takes a few minutes, I usually just staple new ones up, although this past spring I did install a curtain rod.  The curtains looked so cute and made collecting eggs even more of a joy than it already was, which I didn't even think was possible!

~spring 2013 curtains~
                 
But back to that first year I put the curtains up....at that point, I believed that the curtains were purely for me. I got enjoyment out of them, the girls didn't seem to mind them... no harm, no foul.


So imagine my surprise when I read shortly thereafter in an issue of Practical Poultry magazine that nesting box curtains actually have a function and appeared in a newspaper article written about a backyard chicken keeper back in the 1970s.

Not only do chickens prefer the most private, darkest areas they can find to lay their eggs, the curtains can actually encourage a broody hen, and by blocking their view of the eggs once they are laid, even partially, can help curtail egg eating.  Curtains in the winter also help to keep the boxes warmer, preventing frozen and cracked eggs. They help a broody keep her chicks warmer after they have hatched by retaining her body heat inside the box.

Curtains can also help discourage multiple broodies. Broodiness is contagious to some extent, and the sight of a sitting hen can trigger the urge to sit in others. Blocking the other hens' view of a broody can help prevent that.

Curtains, by blocking others' view of a hen while she's laying, can also prevent vent pecking, an uncommon, but potentially serious occurrence which occurs when others see the red, swollen vent that pops out when a hen lays her egg and are tempted to peck at it.

-yup, my broody actually pulled the curtains closed for more privacy!-
I feel vindicated.  It appeared that my decision to dress up the coop a bit wasn't purely for MY enjoyment after all.  


So now, each spring when I clean out the coop I rip down the old curtains (although being fabric they technically could be washed - but no thanks, I'll just staple up a new set each spring !).  I just got this spring's curtains up last weekend.   The girls took to them immediately.


Now if I can just find a valid reason for having bows on the nesting baskets....

Our Christmas curtains 2013



Source:


BECAUSE LIFE IS JUST BETTER WITH CHICKENS!


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17 comments:

  1. Let me know how your girls like it and post pictures on our facebook page.

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  2. I copied her and can attest to the enjoyment by all! _ Becky Neville

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  3. Am getting ready for hens, coop is going up next weekend and then we'll get our girls. Am so going to copy this curtain idea, I have lots of lovely floral fabrics lying around. Keep up with the good advice, it's great for a new hen owner like me.

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    1. Thanks Anastacia ! Keeping chickens is alot of fun anyway, but things like this just make it a bit more fun ! I am thinking of making drapes for the coop windows also that are double-sided for some extra draft protection in the winter...

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  4. This is so cute!! I'm a first time chicken owner, and my chicks are 13 weeks old so no eggs yet, however I will be keeping this in mind!! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. This is so adorable! I will be implementing this into our coop sometime this next week. The ladies will appreciate the extra darkness now that we've added a screen door for summer. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. This is creative! Had never though of using curtains with nesting box. Thanks for the awesome idea :D.

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  7. A little tip I learned the hard way ... The first time I put curtains on the nesting boxes, I didn't sew the edges, thinking, "It's just for the hen house." The edges of the curtains frayed, as fabric always does, and one of the hens got her foot caught in the frayed threads. Fortunately, I was nearby at the time, and she wasn't trapped for long. I took the curtains down and made new ones, turning the edges under twice in a rolled hem and stitching them on the sewing machine.

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  8. Love this!!!!
    I'm so inspired!
    Looks like I have a new project! :)
    check out my little coop here ..
    http://choresandchandeliers.blogspot.com/2012/10/yes-i-have-wreath-on-my-chicken-coop.html

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  9. Ours go to the darkest roosting box or the "can". Now I understand why. Curtains will be made tonight! Thanks for the info!

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  10. The curtains are cute! But is it just for fun or do they serve a purpose?

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    1. A study was done that showed that the chickens prefer the darkest most secluded place to lay that they can find.They also hide the eggs to deter potential egg eaters. So yes, they do serve a purpose too.

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  11. You are such an inspiration! I'm having so much fun planning and dressing up the chicken coop! Almost ready to put curtains in. Who knew it could be so much fun to have chickens...I grew up with the chickens in their coop...period. No frills, but I did name them all and carry them around our little farm (so much for my dad's idea of duel purpose hens lol).

    Not to leave the (now very large) ducklings out, I just love the house my husband built using your plans...and so do the ducks :) Have made treats using your recipes, and cleaning and freshening products, too. It's so much fun doing fun thing for me that I SWEAR the chicks and ducks love, too.

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    1. That's awesome! We had chickens growing up too and they just lived in the shed, had a pen to scratch around in...its MUCH more fun now!

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