The litter used to furnish hens inside nest boxes, coop or cage is not only a luxury. In fact, it provides a comfortable bedding and secure foundation for chicken’s feet and legs, a soft crack-free landing for eggs, a means to gather droppings, and the ability to keep your hen’s place smell-free and dry.
Best Overall: Duncans Poultry Excelsior Nest Pads
Our best pick is Duncans Poultry Excelsior Nest Pads. The pads are produced from the best quality material and are highly-efficient in preventing eggs from breaking. The product also effectively draws out moisture of the chicken drooping, thus keeping the hen-area free from unpleasant odors.
There is a range of options when it comes to bedding for chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other poultry. The most important thing is that it should be safe for the birds to use however you should also look for other qualities in bedding – such as it shouldn’t compact down, have maximum absorbency level, should be able to control smell, and make for a proper nesting bed for birds. Damp bedding not only makes the environment smell bad but also releases ammonia which can cause respiratory problems in the poultry birds.
The Best Nesting Pads & Chicken Coop Beddings 2022
Here I’ve discussed some of the bedding materials–and a few advanced ones–and also what would be the best beddings for the chicken coop, poultry nest boxes, and for everyday chicken run.
Our Best Pick: Duncans Poultry Excelsior Nest Pads
Short-listed as the most effective overall bedding, the Duncans Poultry Excelsior Nest Pads are produced from the highest quality material. They’re offered in a package of 40, which is way more than other similar products offered in the marketplace. And each nesting pad measures 13 x 13 inches, which makes it suitable to perfectly fit in all standard nest boxes.
The thick-comfy material makes the nest pads highly-efficient in preventing eggs from breaking as well as keeping them clean. The product also effectively draws out moisture of the chicken drooping, thus preventing smells and making your cleaning process faster.
The product comes in a package of 40 high-quality nest pads made from an excelsior material. Excelsior makes for the chicken bedding. This is because it is fresher than many other materials, has more absorbency levels, and makes egg-gathering fast and simple.
Given the large volume, quality and thick material of Duncans Poultry Excelsior nest pads, they are recommended for anyone needing a large quantity of ideal bedding for their chicken coop and also for those individuals who want to ensure that the freshly-laid chicken eggs remain clean and crack-free in the hen’s home.
- Made from Great Lakes aspen excelsior fibers and brown kraft paper
- Pads are easy to place in the laying nests
- Prevents Eggs From Being Broken
- Keeps Eggs Clean
- Draw moisture from droppings to the paper on the bottom
Best for More Hatchable Eggs: Petmate Excelsior Nesting Pads Chicken Bedding
Made in the USA, the Petmate Excelsior Nesting Pads offer a comfy surface for hens to lay while helping eggs remain dry, clean and protected against breakage. The chicken box pads absorb the moisture of chicken droppings to the paper lining below, thus providing a sanitary environment for both incubation and harvesting eggs.
Compatible with a majority of nesting boxes, these Petmate nesting pads feature a soft, elastic material that hens favor over other surfaces. Hens are attracted to these nest pads, which as a result encourages the hen to lay eggs. And with added cushion protection, you never have to worry about dirty and cracked eggs.
The excelsior surface stays firm and does not tear apart like other low-quality pads, permitting hens to easily control their nests while keeping nest boxes clean. Manufactured from 100% biodegradable materials, these nest pads can be composted after use. The bundle comprises 10 nest pads sourced from Great Lakes Aspen.
The very best feature?
Petmate Nesting Pads are 100% eco-friendly so that they could be safely composted after use.
Even more, the nesting pads can readily be altered while still holding their shape, because they have somewhat thicker and denser structure. They are only offered in a 10-pack, however, their dense construction gives them the capability of making up to the amount. Due to the cushioned surface as well as the valuable egg-laying attributes, this excelsior bedding is especially perfect for individuals wanting a premium-quality, eco-friendly bedding for their hens.
- Made in the USA
- Sourced from 100% Great Lakes Aspen
- Eggs stay dry, clean, and protected from breakage
- Soft and flexible material that hens love
- Made of 100% biodegradable materials
- Conveniently fits nesting boxes
Best Aspen Shaving for Coop: Rural365 Chicken Coop Bedding
Coming in a pack of 12, this aspen shaving is ideal for almost every chicken coop and nesting box. Each pad measures 13 by 13 inches, and comes pre-assembled – which means you have to place these pads as it is in the hen’s home.
Each square-shaped pad has a kraft paper stuck to its bottom, which helps to keep the lining held collectively. This also makes installing the liners simple and reduces the quantity of work that you need to do through cleanup.
Aspen shavings are valuable for poultry because they are classified as a much healthier type of wood shavings to utilize; resist mold better than pine or straw; absorb moisture, and are effective in separating droppings from eggs. And there is no probability of eggs rolling out or cracking since they’ll be cushioned with nest baits since they keep shape to make a safe nest for your hens’ eggs.
Due to their easy-to-use, excellent quality, good quantity at an affordable price – Rural365 Coop Bedding is suggested for anybody wanting clean eggs, a healthy platform for hen, and a fast and simple cleanup procedure.
- USA grown aspen shavings
- Made from Wood shaved from logs
- Recyclable and compostable
- Safe, high quality, all natural aspen with no additives
- Kraft paper on the bottom keeps the shavings together
Certified Product for Chicken Coops: Standlee Hay Company Animal Bedding
Standlee is one of the best high-quality brands in the marketplace known for producing reliable chicken-farming products. This product is fantastic for anybody looking for a coop bedding that is excellent for ducks, hens, goats, and sheep.
This wheat or barley chopped straw makes it excellent for cleaning as well, given the easy-to-clean thick straw consistency. The Chipped Straw is chopped into 4″ pieces so customers just discard soiled bedding. And it is quite simple to deal with, which makes it good for setting up bigger poultry coops. And it is also biodegradable, all-natural, and weed-free.
Though the product offers quality, it is highly expensive as well. Therefore, we best recommend this product either for a nesting box or for those conscious and wealthy hen owners who wish to nourish their hens with certified bedding produced according to the best standards!
The straw material is easy to manage; generates minimal waste; supplies protection for eggs; and 100% secure for hens.
- All-natural bedding material
- Certified noxious weed free wheat or barley straw
- Great for composting
- Excellent for chicken coops
- Minimal waste with easy clean-up
Best Odor-Resistant: DooKashi for Poultry Chicken Coop Natural Odor Eliminator & Compost Accelerator
In case you’re searching for a healthy and natural additive to put on your already-existing chicken bedding, then consider buying the DooKashi Compost Accelerator. It is a pet waste odor eliminator that eliminates ammonia, neutralizes odors, and extends the life of chicken bedding.
DooKashi is 100% natural and clinically proven to eliminate odors at the microbial level without using any chemicals, perfumes, or masking agents. And the best part? If ingested, it is safe for both pets and humans!
Once sprinkled on the already-existing chicken bedding, the DooKashi’s Certified Organic goes to work to absorb the waste such as hens poo and at the same time eliminate germs and disease-producing microbes. The unpleasant ammonia odor is also removed for a fresh environment.
And this spread can help to reduce the total quantity of grime and waste build-up. It also stops hen waste from building over time. Given that the fact that it removes ammonia it is helpful to boost your hens’ respiratory systems and eye health.
The product comes in a 2-pound bag, so it could last for around a couple of months if you distribute it on your chicken bedding every couple of days. Considering the health benefits and as well as bedding-enhancement properties and compost acceleration features of this product – it would be exceptionally great if you sprinkle this product on your hen’s bedding.
Irrespective of the type of bedding you have, it is fantastic for keeping your bedding smell-free and organic to your chickens.
The best part?
Dookashi’s microbes operate on many different germs and odor particles. The probiotic breaks down and consumes the odor particles rather than covering them.
- Lessens the strong, damaging smell of ammonia
- Protects the hen from respiratory issues
- Reduces dirt and waste build-up which contributes to illness
- Stops the spread of salmonella
- Speeds up the composting process for nutrient-rich poultry manure
Best Plastic Bedding for Hens: ASTROTURF Plastic Turf Nest Pads
The ASTROTURF Plastic turf nest pads feature grass-like tufts on the upper side and a smooth coating on the Bottom. There are tiny holes throughout the pad that prevent hen waste from sticking and makes cleaning a breeze. You can easily remove the debris and dirt, by simply hitting the pad against a hard surface or hosing it off.
These poultry nest pads improve egg production by attracting hens on the comfy bedding. These nesting pads are compatible with nesting boxes and coops and offer the cleanest environment to your chickens.
These pads have a proper air circulation system; support the egg, and allow contaminates to fall through to the floor underneath. Each plastic sheet measures 11.75″ x 12.875″ and these pads can be used with or without additional nesting material, like aspen shavings or chopped straw.
- Easy to clean and manage
- Cushioned support for preventing eggs to break or crack
- Provide air circulation to the hen sitting on the pad
- Long-term usage
Importance of Chicken Coop Bedding or Nesting Pads
A secret to maintaining chickens healthy and odor-free is the use of a quality coop bedding, or litter or nesting (whatever you say it).
A chicken bedding absorbs moisture, insulates the ground from cold, provides chickens an opportunity to dust, boosts egg production, keeps eggs clean, and prevents eggs from breaking or cracking.
Furthermore, chickens enjoy dusting themselves and love fluffing litter in their feathers. After having a dust bath, the birds are as clean as a person from a shower, and since the dust acts through their feathers it discourages parasites as well.
People complain that chicken or poultry birds smell so bad and create an awful mess. Although the problem occurs, it is only when they are kept indoors that lack fresh air, or when their cage becomes dirty due to droppings of poops. A better nesting is all you need for backyard hens to help reduce odors, keep the air safe, and provide the hens with a healthy lifestyle.
By far the most commonly used litter is wood shavings. Wood shavings have a pleasant smell, are absorbent, and do not pack down. Sawdust is also good but dusty and chickens may stir it up, causing the dust to scatter everywhere in the coop.
Straw is another common bedding for the hen. It is cheap but not very absorbent. Furthermore, straw is more difficult to scoop out as opposed to other bedding. Sometimes dry leaves are used as litter, too. They are good and free, but they are only available in the fall season and can quickly break into powder.
Litter should remain dry to stay odor-free. Four to six inches of wood shavings last half a year before it has to be altered. As it stirs, droppings become integrated into the shavings. Therefore, about every six months, you have to scoop the old jumble from the coop with a scoop (a snow scoop works nicely ) and replace it with new chips. The used bedding can be composted or a thin coating can be worked into garden soil for nutrient supply and water absorption aid.
When the bedding becomes wet, typically when a waterer leaks or tips over, it is vital to instantly eliminate the soggy shavings and replace them with new dry ones.
Types of Chicken Beddings & Their Features
Lining your hen’s nests, coops, and cages with something soft and clean protects the eggs from cracking, controls the smell, and keeps the environment fresh. Each chicken keeper has their own favorite nest liner. Below, we shared the types of poultry bedding, their properties, pitfalls, and benefits.
1). Straw and Hay
Sun-colored straw, with its pleasant, earthy smell and elastic texture is exactly what many chicken keepers reach to line up their hens’ nest boxes with.
2). Pine Shavings
Pine shavings are a highly desired and sensible choice for nesting pads. They are easily available at several feed-supply shops, big-box shops, and perhaps even pet-supply shops. Pine shavings are cheap and don’t break quickly, making them the perfect bedding material. Even though it will fade with time, the smell of pine is inviting.
3). Cedar Shavings
Talking of a nice odor, an alternative to pine shavings is cedar shavings. There is a great deal of controversy about the aromatic nature of cedar shavings and their consequences on hens’ delicate respiratory systems. But, lots of chicken keepers have found success with this shaving, claiming that it does not harm their chickens.
This shaving is easy to find in shops, but it’s a bit more expensive than pine. They also smell great and are natural insect repellent.
4). Sand Bedding
Sand, if used as a chicken coop bedding, can be an outstanding option but only for those people who have the time to deal with it. Sand as a coop bedding is expensive and needs to be replaced twice a year if properly cleaned and taken care of.
Many poultry-keepers say that sand is ideal for outdoor runs. It does not break, it dries quickly, plus it doubles as a material for dust baths. Make sure that you use the builder’s sand (located at home-improvement shops), as sandbox sand is too fine and clumps.
5). Grass Clippings
In case you’ve sufficient, grass clippings make for a workable coop bedding alternative, however, they have a few drawbacks. They tend to retain moisture. They dry, shrink as well as smell.
However, if you choose to line your hen’s cage or nest with grass clipping, then be sure that the clippings aren’t sourced from a yard that has been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals.
6). Shredded Leaves
This is an option if you find so many dried leaves in your area during the fall season. But they have a short life, are neither too absorbent nor have a strong tendency to fight against moisture. Wet leaves create a slippery surface which could result in splayed legs, particularly in younger birds.
7). Recycled Paper
While they are available in abundance and are free, you have to use them with caution. Office paper is processed, and ink may be toxic to hens. Paper, the type found in fliers and magazines, also includes a great deal of ink – which makes it dangerous for hens if consumed.
Maybe among the best choices in the marketplace nowadays, hemp is created from the stem of the cannabis plant life. As it is odorless and absorbent, it is a perfect substrate option and it’s an all-around item that is organic. This can help keep the hen’s cage clean for a longer period. In addition, it repels insects as well. As a natural pesticide, it functions nicely and many poultry farmers state it is worth the purchase cost, even though it is somewhat more expensive than many other alternative beddings.
It is the most downrated bedding by experienced chicken farmers. It is harmful because of its powdery nature along with the dust it harbors. It has neither good absorbing properties nor is good for the chick’s health.
10). Turf Nest Liner
Plastic turf pads possess grass-like tufts around the top side and a smooth coating on the bottom. Holes throughout the pads make the pads simple to wash and prevent debris. All you will want to do is hit it against something or hose it off – and all the droppings and debris will be wiped away immediately. They also provide good cushioning for eggs and usually have a long life.
Made from straw-like aspen fiber, excelsior pads also make for one of the best chicken coop beddings. Their biggest benefit is that the eggs do not get buried in material. The drawback of excelsior is that it can’t be washed or reused, and has to be replaced when it becomes soiled.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Coop Bedding or Nesting?
Chicken bedding, also known as nesting pad or coop bedding, is the substrate you will be scattering at the base of chicken coop or cage to absorb fluids, cushion hens’ feet as they walk, and protect the eggs from cracking or breaking after they’re laid.
Why Do I Need Chicken Bedding?
Chicken bedding is something you put in the base of the chicken coop or nesting boxes which can collect hen poop droppings waste and moisture. With bedding, the coop won’t smell as much since there’ll be something there to absorb the things that make it stink. This helps the hen’s room stay cleaner since the waste could be absorbed into the bedding. Apart from its cleaning and odor-control properties, a quality bedding also boosts egg production, protects the eggs from breaking and cracking, keeps the outer eggshells dry and clean, and provides a secure foundation for chicken’s feet and legs.
How Often Do I Change the Chicken Bedding?
It needs to be replaced after it gets soiled. You may understand when to replace your chicken bedding since the coop will create a powerful odor. It will also become soiled and nasty with time. So when you start to see this, you will have to scoop all the chicken bedding from the coop and line the coop with new, dry bedding. You’ll understand from the smell and appearance of the bedding that when it is the right time to change it.
Other Chicken Beddings We Have Reviewed
Although these nesting pads can’t make it to the list of our top-rated Chicken Beddings 2022, they are still worth the investment.
Standlee Flock Fresh is a combination of Chopped Straw, Alfalfa Forage, and Organic Clinoptilolite (Zeolite) granules. Designed for chickens, Flock Fresh is formulated to decrease ammonia and encourage egg production whilst providing a clean, comfortable, and odor-free poultry area.
- Absorbs moisture
- Releases nutrients through composting
- Environmentally sustainable
BWOGUE grass nesting pads help provide cleaner, better quality, and much more hatchable eggs. These pads are inexpensive, easy to put in the nests, and assist in egg collection. They draw moisture out of droppings.
- Biodegradable & Environmentally Friendly
- Protects the eggs from breaking
- Helps in faster egg gathering
Dr. Hemp Premium All Natural Pet Bedding is simple to use. Line your chick’s bedding and clean as necessary, replacing after 2 months. Dr. Hemp pet bedding is much more absorbent than wood-based goods, enabling you to use less product as time passes. It’s all-natural premium-quality bedding that is also recyclable and biodegradable.
- Premium Quality
- Excellent Moisture Absorbency
- Spoils after a long time
My Favorite Chicken Excelsior nest pads are simple to install, are biodegradable and natural. The substance is absorbing and makes a dry, sanitary nesting for eggs. The eggs remain fresh, clean, and on top.
- Easy to install
- Natural and biodegradable
- Good Absorbent
- Eggs stay on top, clean, and fresh
Hen Coop Bedding
These pads provide cleaner, fresher, and more hatchable eggs. Each package includes ten 12×9-inch nesting pads. The pads are easy to put in nesting boxes and can also be easily bedded in a coop or hen cage. The item is sourced from 100% nontoxic material and is created in the USA.
- Offer a hygienic method for hatching and collecting eggs
- Sourced from 100% non-toxic, hypo-allergenic Aspen Pine
- Good quality product with good absorbency
The hemp substance can absorb the moisture out of waste and smells much better compared to any wood shaving bedding. It is offered in a huge 300-liter bag, which continues for extended periods and measures 31 lbs. The hemp is sourced from a chemical-free, natural plant.
- Available in a large bag
- Economical price
- An excellent source of composting
- Made without any pesticides
Each package contains 12 nesting pads, each measuring 13 by 13 inches. These excelsior aspen shaving cubes are perfect for almost every chicken coop. The pads come pre-assembled, so you just have to put them straight away inside the hen’s home.
- Easy to install
- Good absorbency
- Stay in good shape
- Easy-to-clean design
- Kraft paper on the bottom of the liners keep the shavings together