External nest box

Hey y’all, I’m a new chicken mama and am in the process of converting a shed into our coop. Here’s my question: should I build the external nest box with access to collect the eggs from the top or from the front?

Welcome to BYC forums :welcome

I think you also need to consider your location. Where I live in northern Minnesota, most people do not have external nest boxes due to heavy snowfall in the winter. I was advised to make my nest boxes internal to the coop. I do have an access panel to the back of the nest boxes on the outside wall. Supposedly, that is a good solution for 9 months out of the year for where I live. If the access panel becomes too drafty in the winter, I'll put plastic over the outside access panel and gather the eggs from inside the coop.


I have also read that it is less stressful for the hen if you access the nest boxes from the front or back. If a hen is sitting in the nest box, and you open the access from above, their instinct is to flee from a predator and that can cause more stress. I don't know if that is true, but I have opened my outside access panel to the back of the nest boxes and found a hen or two sitting in the nest box and they were not disturbed very much.
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

I have a coop (okay 2 :oops:) with top access boxes... and highly recommend against them. :barnie

I live in the Pacific Northwest and get a decent amount of rain. :gig

When I open the lid to collect eggs or take a peak, water pours in off of it and into the coop bedding. I will be be converting them soon to back access.... drop down but not all the way to the floor. :)

Adding your general location to your profile can help peeps make the best suggestions possible at a glance. ;)

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