Inside nests or outside nests - need Pro Advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by notsostupidafterall, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. notsostupidafterall

    notsostupidafterall Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Central Utah
    I am building a new coop. I am a B+ wookworker, so the project is going well. I have literaly "stolen" almost every idea I have from this wonderful website. And I have also read EVERY post I could find about having nests inside or out. I am using traditional framing with (so called) 2x4 lumber with treated lumber on the ground, plywood (finished one side exterior) panel walls and shingles. I can either put the nexts inside or out. Plenty of room either place. We are in Central Utah at 6315 ft in a canyon, about 1/2 way down a pass in the canyon we call the "Divide". My point in mentioning this is we get a little canyon wind, but it is all from the west.

    Anyhoo, we average 8 days below zero per year and 10 days above 100 per year. The rest is OK. We have lots of live stock, and I do not pariculary baby my critters. No one takes better care of their animals than do I, but healthy well-bred, hardy animals usually do just fine.

    I have paid a lot of attention to BYC ventilation advice, nest size and location, space per bird, roosting, etc.

    And I do not mind insulating the nest if we choose to put them on the outside.

    But, I have yet to see a design an any of the BYC coops that have external nest boxes that do not look like they would leak, pariculary where the crack is when the hinge is attached to lift up the top. My eaves certainly do not run out 2-3 feet to cover external nests. I am shingling the coop and run, and would shingle the external nest tops, but I would like to be convinced I would benefit by having the extra space inside by moving the nexts outside. The coop is 6 X 8 and we only plan on having 15 +/- birds, so there is plenty of room in side.........and I do not feel particulary challenged in making doors in the wall that would access inside nests.

    So, my issue is really about water getting into the external nests, so I would really appreciate comments as to whether my water-leak concern is valid. Also, if anyone has any additional comments about other issues related to whether I should go inside or out, I would love to hear the suggestions or thoughts.

    You guys are wonderful, and I hope to someday be in a positon to add my exertise to the wonderful people who frequent this site.

    By the way, we are planting a garden twice the size of the one we had last year. Our wonderful local church leaders suggested that we plant enough for ourselves and another family. Not panicky...........just a wonderful piece of advice on how to be a little more self sufficient and to care about our neighbors, How blessed we are as a family to have a wife/mother who will encourage the kids to work and make it fun, a very poor excuse for a Dad (me) whose only redeeming qualites are that he has good taste in women, horses, has a tractor and the best dang kids that every graced a home.

    Thanks in advance.............and best of everything to you and yours.


    .........."You cannot pray a lie"..............Huckleberry Finn
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    We are in Central Utah at 6315 ft in a canyon, about 1/2 way down a pass in the canyon we call the "Divide". My point in mentioning this is we get a little canyon wind, but it is all from the west. Anyhoo, we average 8 days below zero per year and 10 days above 100 per year.

    A concern is how much snow and ice you get, which means "how much time will the chickens be in the coop". If they are able to get outside every day, you can get by with less room, but you are talking about 48 square feet divided by 4 square feet per bird = 12 birds max for the rule of thumb. I'd think you are feeding and watering inside, at least in the winter. I'm not convinced you do have a lot of extra room in your coop.

    healthy well-bred, hardy animals usually do just fine.

    I fully agree as long as you let them get used to the weather and keep plenty of water available to them, which I'm sure you do. My management style will probably match yours fairly well. But to many people at this site, their chickens are pets and are babied. These chickens never get used to the weather extremes and would not do as well. I'm not criticizing anybody. We each have our own reasons and goals and they are all valid.

    But, I have yet to see a design an any of the BYC coops that have external nest boxes that do not look like they would leak, pariculary where the crack is when the hinge is attached to lift up the top. My eaves certainly do not run out 2-3 feet to cover external nests. I am shingling the coop and run, and would shingle the external nest tops, but I would like to be convinced I would benefit by having the extra space inside by moving the nexts outside. The coop is 6 X 8 and we only plan on having 15 +/- birds, so there is plenty of room in side.........and I do not feel particulary challenged in making doors in the wall that would access inside nests.

    My nesting boxes are accessable from outside the coop and the top does not lift up. I hinged it so the back opens up. This would allow you to put as much overhang as you want on the top and caulk the joint so it does not leak. My access is inside a shed so I am not worried about rain, so the actual way I did it would not work for you.

    What you might consider is hanging the nests on the outside the coop so they have access from inside through holes in your wall. That way they do not take up any room inside the coop. Build the nest boxes with a fixed slanted roof with overhang. Put a 2x4 across the bottom of the back of the nest box to receive the hinges and hold the eggs and nesting material in when you open the back. Put a 2x4 across the top of the back to receive the hasp and give you room under the overhang to get to the hasp.

    Also, if anyone has any additional comments about other issues related to whether I should go inside or out, I would love to hear the suggestions or thoughts.

    I'd think you would want the nesting boxes attached to the coop. The chickens give off a certain amount of heat. Insulation does not keep things warm or cold. It slows down heat transfer. I don't think a chicken would heat up a free-standing external nesting box enough while it is laying to keep an egg from freezing during your coldest days unless you are there to gather the eggs as they are laid. From the way I read your post, I think you would attach them anyway, but you wanted thoughts.
     
  3. lilhill

    lilhill Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Alabama
    We just finished our chicken house with the outside nesting boxes. Our concern was the leak where the hinge is also, so we put flexible rubber (used for mats and such) above the hinged areas and the rubber lays about 3 inches belong the hinges, sealing it better.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I've never really understood the rationale for making external nest boxes on a full-sized coop. (I *can* see good value to them if you're dealing with a tractor where indoor space is already terribly limited).

    It is not often done (by BYCers anyhow) but it seems to me that it makes far more sense to have your nest boxes inside the coop, but accessible from outside the coop (if that's what you're after) by a sliding panel mounted flat on the wall. So nothing protrudes, and you can flash the top of the slider just like you'd do a window or door opening to prevent leaks.

    That way, the eggs aren't exposed to as much cold, it's not as structurally-vulnerable an area for large predators to try to rip open, and waterproofing is not as challenging.

    JMHO, good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. geareduplyn

    geareduplyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Salley SC
    I like going in the coop at least once a day to gather eggs. It gives a chance to take a really close look at the birds that I wouldn't get just looking in from the outside. I have built and used both but with the inside ones you'll very seldom miss an injured or sick bird.
     
  6. SoJoChickens

    SoJoChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2009
    Fountain Green, UT
    I live in Utah as well but am not as high up as you are. Several of us here have recently taken up the chicken "hobby" and all have built inside nesting boxes (we couldn't find a good reason to build external boxes either). The hens produced eggs all winter long with no additional heat or light.

    I do think you could find a way to make external boxes weather proof and save yourself some space, but I think you'll be happier reducing the number of chickens you plan on (Ridgerunner is right about the square footage) and keeping the nests inside.
     
  7. notsostupidafterall

    notsostupidafterall Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Central Utah
    Everyone...........thanks a lot for all the good input. I am glad I had my concerns validated. So, I'm going with my plan for inside nests.

    Several of you were kind enough to caution me about the number of chickens per sq ft. I have 48 sq ft in the coop, but also have an attached 6 x 12 covered run, plus will have an extra ramp out of the coop to let them range free all day on 120 acres. That ought to keep them busy. All doors will close a.m. and p.m, obviously.

    I said 15 +/- birds. We are buying just a dozen, but I know some will die or make it to the dinner table, and I know my wife will want to add a couple of easter egg layers or pet chickens, so I am pretty comfy that if we stay in the 12 - 15 bird range, we will be OK. Food, water, etc will be in the covered run year round.

    Thanks again for all your good advice and happy sharing.

    Warmest............Bruce
     

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