It’s been a little while since I wrote about the chickens or about Villa Pollaio. It’s high time I rectified that! So today I’d like to talk to you about nesting box curtains. Now before you start rolling your eyes at me, there is actually a function to nesting box curtains. I didn’t just hang curtains in our chicken coop because I wanted it to look pretty (although, that helped immensely)!!
When we were building Villa Pollaio I knew that nesting box curtains were going in from the start. Lisa over at Fresh Eggs Daily recommends adding curtains to just a couple of boxes at a time so that your hens can get used to them gradually. Since our chicks saw them from day one I didn’t think it mattered if I covered all the boxes at one time. After all, they were just peeps when the first saw them!! They won’t know any different. But I would agree that established laying hens would need a transition period to get used to the new routine.
Why hang curtains on your nesting box?
There are definitely pros and cons to having curtains in your chicken coop.
- There’s no denying that it’s stylish. Window treatments (*cough* nesting box treatments? *cough*) add a little pizzazz to an otherwise functional space. There’s nothing that really causes any harm to the chickens if you hang them in there… they won’t really try to eat them… there’s no choking hazard… it doesn’t encourage predators. So, why not?!
Chickens like a private, secluded place to lay their eggs. It’s safe to them. If your hens are laying in all the wrong places, maybe a set of curtains would make those nesting boxes look a little more inviting to them!
- It can discourage multiple broody hens. If one hen sees another one being broody that will certainly give them an idea! If your broody hen is hidden behind some cute curtains… well, out of sight, out of mind!
- Discourages vent pecking. I have to admit, I’ve got no experience with this one. None of our hens (knock on wood) have ever been prone to this behavior. We’ve had curtains from the very beginning. Maybe that’s a sign that it works to discourage this… maybe we’re just lucky… But I’m not gonna take any chances!!
Curtains help retain heat in the nesting boxes. Whether you’re trying to prevent cracked eggs in the winter, hatching eggs in the spring, or whatever, curtains will help hold that heat in! I gotta be honest with you that we’ve had some issues with egg cracking this winter. With that said, on the coldest days of the year lots of those hens piled into the nesting boxes and hung out there rather than sleeping on the roosting bars. So, do I think curtains help to keep the nesting boxes warmer? Yes and no.
OK, the con (singular). It can encourage broody behavior. Maybe this is a pro for you if you want to hatch eggs. But if you don’t have a rooster (like we don’t), then your hens that go broody aren’t contributing to the production of your flock. We’ve got one hen in particular that goes broody on a regular basis. Again, not sure if this is a direct result of the curtains or if she’s just “that way.”
Villa Pollaio’s World’s Cutest Nesting Box Curtains
I am horribly indecisive when it comes to fabric, so I made a mish-mash curtain design. I had a main panel of fabric that has an adorable border at the bottom and then did alternating tops to make things more interesting. I also chose to sew french seams on the curtains. This might sound like a lot of extra work, but really, it doesn’t take that much extra time and it saves you from having to worry about finishing seams or fraying or chickens trying to eat exposed thread!! (You know they’ll try.)
The finished results were hung on an inexpensive telescoping curtain rod that I got from Bed Bath and Beyond. I never bothered with tiebacks, more because I was lazy than anything else, and once the curtains were hung I never got around to adding them.
Any nesting box curtains for you? We’d love to see some pictures!! Post your curtains in the comments below!! Happy nesting!!!