Here is the external view. I wanted to be able to collect the eggs without having to enter the coop, so I had my husband build an external egg box. The box is locked with a caribiner clip so smarty pants raccoons can't get in. The interior measurement of each box is 12" x 12" x 12".
Below is the interior view from the inside of the coop. I dust the area with diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring substance found in fresh water lakes. Go here and here for info on DE. When mites or lice or other creepy crawly things are exposed to it, or ingest it, it literally cuts them or dries them out eventually killing them. It's a mechanical not chemical killer of mites and lice. I don't think it happens immediately but instead over time and seems to become a deterrent/irritant to the bug.
It can be a lung irritant so one should wear a mask when applying it. You can touch it and hold it, but it makes your hands super dry and with Chicago weather you can't afford to have drier hands, so I use gloves. Note: Always buy the "Food Grade DE"
They can scratch all they want but the pad stays in place and the eggs don't hit the hard wood. It's also easy to clean, just hose it off. It's kind of prickly but my hens love it and my eggs are very clean.
I did test it out by putting a gray nest pad in only one box and not the other. The hens used the box with the fancy nest pad. Then I added another plastic nest pad in the other box and they are now using both boxes. So I guess I can assume they like it.
They started laying eggs December 28, 2013 and now lay a total of 10 -12 eggs a week on average. One week I got 14! Every egg, except the first egg, has been found in the egg boxes.
Every egg laid is a gift and the fact that they actually use the egg boxes amazes me every time.
Check out my gallery of egg pics, to me every egg is a masterpiece of nature.