I have researched a huge amount on the correct bedding for the chicken coop, to make it as inviting as possible for the chickens, as I want them to be happy, and lay eggs. Happy chickens happy eggs, or so they say! I thought that shredded paper would be ideal for the coop, as it is absorbent warm, and most importantly free.
People warned me that the paper would be an epic fail, but as usual I knew best, and couldn't see why it would be any different to straw, how wrong can one person be! Someone mentioned that the paper would stick to the eggs, but I couldn't see how this would be an issue. Again how wrong could one person be!
When eggs are laid they have a wet solution covering them, which protects the interior of the egg, this mixed with shredded paper is the perfect recipe for paper mache! The instant the egg is laid, the paper sticks, transferring every letter onto the egg. This didn't really bother me as I thought the eggs looked unique with their letters and words covering the shell. However, the paper stuck hard to eggs, causing them to become heavier, and harder to crack, this was an issue.
Also paper is too light, it flies everywhere, and as the chickens begun to kick out the paper, the vast majority of paper ended up on the orchard floor. I spent more time picking up shredded paper than anything else. The chickens were left with no nesting, and refuse to lay on wood, which caused a decline in eggs, and defeated the whole point of using the paper.
The chickens managed to remove all of the paper, and it ended up attached to the bushes and trees, making them look like a set of fairies had decided to play the traditional Halloween prank and toilet paper the trees. I could imagine a bunch of 2 inch fairies running around having a party in the orchard with my shredded paper.
This was the final straw, as I spent all day placing new bedding in the boxes, cleaning the orchard, and shouting and swearing at everything I could. My eggs were like lumps of cement, and resembled the kids school project when they had to cover the balloon with paper mache. I have noted this down as an epic fail, and we will not be repeating the process again!