Communal roll-away nest boxes - freezing eggs?

wobit

Chirping
5 Years
May 12, 2014
28
38
89
Western Massachusetts
Hi all,

I'm considering purchasing a readymade roll away nest box, such as bestnestbox or similar.

Does anyone who has more experience than I do want to share their wisdom?

I live in MA, we do get very cold and have some issues with frozen eggs even with the traditional, inside the coop single hole nests with hay. I'm considering, for ease of collection at least 9 months of the year, mounting this thing on the outside of the coop with a hole in the side of the coop for the girls to enter, but egg retrieval happening outside. So there are two issues: 1) Security -theoretically a raccoon could open the lid and take all my eggs because it's outside. Does anyone lock these things? 2) The eggs will freeze faster because they are outside the coop. My neighbor gives up on roll-away and diasbles it during the winter. Anyone have good use of insulating foam or blankets, or one of those low-wattage aquarium heating pads - minimal electricity pull and won't make a humid coop for my girls. Think of it like using a birdbath deicer for the waterer, just enough to keep things from freezing.
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
16,535
55,555
1,267
Melrose Park Illinois
The communal egg box is nice. You would probably need two aquarium pads to cover the whole egg compartment floor. I think you would also need some blankets over the Egg Box during extreme cold. Metal does not provide any insulation at all.
I would keep it locked out to prevent predators from accessing those eggs.
Would you be able to use one heating pad in your present nesting box, under the hay?? Just to prevent eggs from freezing. ?? (instead of hay) Maybe switch to a nesting pad like, product made from recycled wood. (forgot the name at the moment, but can research and find it)
Read all the precautions associated with that pad to minimize risk of fire.
The electric pad will not increase humidity inside your coop. It is just radiant heat with no humidity associated.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
 

jthornton

Free Ranging
Aug 30, 2017
4,132
7,836
512
Poplar Bluff, MO
My Coop
My Coop
I built a wooden roll out nest box (plans here) that is mounted in the wall of my run as the coop is just a roosting area and no room for anything but roosts. We get down to 0°F in the winter and if you collect them within a couple of hours your OK with a wood box. A silicone heating pad may be an option for you if you can only collect the eggs in the evening. I lock my cover at night but outside my run is protected by a chain link fence and hot wires and the chickens are in the chicken yard during the day so I don't lock it.

One of the things I learned about my roll out nest box over the last 10 months of using it is a slightly angled floor won't stop an egg eater however a pretty steep angled floor will stop one from having the chance to bust the egg. I also figured out if they can see the egg some will pull them back and if she is an egg eater well you know what happens. Since I've elevated the angle this last time my egg eater has not been able to bust one for over a month now.

JT
 

wobit

Chirping
5 Years
May 12, 2014
28
38
89
Western Massachusetts
This guy uses those pads, but under bedding.
Might be too warm for direct contact?
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/heated-nesting-boxes-help-stop-frozen-eggs.67252/
That's very helpful because that's very close to what I'm thinking of. My husband uses those seedling mats for germination in the spring over the past many years, and I have also used them to help with continuous-brew kombucha inside. They supposedly only raise the temp 10 degrees in comparison to surroundings, but I have high hopes of that preventing frozen eggs. Except, I will put the mats under the egg collection tray instead of the nest box, and try to insulate the outside to increase the efficacy if it's not enough to prevent freezing.
 

wobit

Chirping
5 Years
May 12, 2014
28
38
89
Western Massachusetts
I built a wooden roll out nest box (plans here) that is mounted in the wall of my run as the coop is just a roosting area and no room for anything but roosts. We get down to 0°F in the winter and if you collect them within a couple of hours your OK with a wood box. A silicone heating pad may be an option for you if you can only collect the eggs in the evening. I lock my cover at night but outside my run is protected by a chain link fence and hot wires and the chickens are in the chicken yard during the day so I don't lock it.

JT

I can't honestly commit to any schedule - I work a rotating shift and it's anyone's guess when I will be around and awake. Since you made your own you probably could make a lock pretty easily, I wonder how I will retrofit the galvanized steel to be held closed? Seems as though most that use this collect eggs regularly before dusk. I do have a flexible electric chicken fence around the outside, which has been transformative for us.

Your DIY plans look great, if only I was handy. The truth is, simply, I'm better at earning money than making crafty things, so it makes sense for me to support small chicken businesses that make products like these.
 

wobit

Chirping
5 Years
May 12, 2014
28
38
89
Western Massachusetts
The communal egg box is nice. You would probably need two aquarium pads to cover the whole egg compartment floor. I think you would also need some blankets over the Egg Box during extreme cold. Metal does not provide any insulation at all.
I would keep it locked out to prevent predators from accessing those eggs.
Would you be able to use one heating pad in your present nesting box, under the hay?? Just to prevent eggs from freezing. ?? (instead of hay) Maybe switch to a nesting pad like, product made from recycled wood. (forgot the name at the moment, but can research and find it)
Read all the precautions associated with that pad to minimize risk of fire.
The electric pad will not increase humidity inside your coop. It is just radiant heat with no humidity associated.

Thanks - yes we will probably form some sort of rigid insulation over the boxes, depending on how we can do so without preventing lifting the lid. We are accustomed to the use of seedling mats, both for their intended purpose and for giving a little boost to ferments (continuous brew kombucha). I'm not inclined to further work the present boxes - I don't like the single holes, and I don't like the lack of roll-away functionality. So I won't be heating the current nests. But I'll get a few pads to put under the egg collection tray and put insulation all around the outside.

It may take a month for me to get it all setup and then I'll post pics.

Thanks for the insights!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,235
126,320
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
That's very helpful because that's very close to what I'm thinking of. My husband uses those seedling mats for germination in the spring over the past many years, and I have also used them to help with continuous-brew kombucha inside. They supposedly only raise the temp 10 degrees in comparison to surroundings, but I have high hopes of that preventing frozen eggs. Except, I will put the mats under the egg collection tray instead of the nest box, and try to insulate the outside to increase the efficacy if it's not enough to prevent freezing.
Do come back here and let us know who it works out,.
Take pics along the way, then when it's done and working you can write it up for others to use as a solution.
 

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