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Chicken 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 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.

Nesting Box Curtain Functions

- 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 blocking the other chickens' 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



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