Nest boxes: inside or cantilevered?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Weasleymum, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Songster

    Aug 1, 2008
    I notice that the most popular style of next boxes seems to be the kind in which the boxes are actually outside of the coop, with access from within (for the hens) and outside (for the egg-gatherers).

    Compared to an inside-the-coop next box, I think the pros and cons would be something like this:

    Pros: Frees up more space inside the coop. Impossible for birds to roost over the nextbox, keeping things cleaner. Easier egg-gathering.

    Cons: Makes construction more difficult, having something protrude from the structure like that. Gets in the way/ adds more weight for moveable coops (like the one I'm planning).

    Am I missing any important factors?
  2. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    I would think other cons would be another door for raccoons to try and open, possibility of inadvertently startling a chicken on the nest, who then flies out, when opening. Another con would be the temptation to never go into the coop and see that the waterer spilled or such.

    But it is easier to get the eggs, I would think.
  3. YeOleBroodie

    YeOleBroodie Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    I won't use them.
    The eggs would freeze all the faster in winter time. Heat rises and I haven't found a way to make heat take a detour to the eggs out there. lol

    In summer, if they are not out of the sun rays..they can get very hot in those little nest boxes.
    So great care in positioning them is needed.

    For me, those are big cons
    Someone else, in a different area, may not have those same problems.
  4. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I'm building /renovating a coop now. Since it's an old hog shed with a cinderblock base I don't have much choice about the shape of the footprint, inside dimensions are six by eight and without dynamite I'm not changing that.

    Once I demo-ed the wall to the support posts and really got a feel for the inside space, a cantilevered nest area just made more sense. It frees up too much interior space that I'd lose otherwise. Now I've lots of room for maintenance and I have the option of walking in and collecting or going outside and collecting from there.

    Yeah, figuring out the logistics of framing out the exterior box wasn't fun. But having seen the results, I wouldn't have done it the other way. I'm very happy with the way it's going.

    Now if it were a mobile chicken tractor... I'd go interior both for ease of build and the weight reduction, as well as just more secure in the long run.

    I'd say build the things frame in the dimensions you want and then try to reach in it, or walk into it, front to back, side to side with the way you've built it. Then add in, or lever out, the features you want. Even just a temporary frame of screwed together 2x4 or 1x4 will let you get a feel for sizes. Good luck...
  5. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    one of the fun things I recall from when I was little on my grandpa's farm was going inside and peeking all around - checking the boxes for eggs, finding them in odd places, and so on. They had a LOT of birds, and I'll have only 2 or 3.

    I live in one of the windiest places in the U.S., so I think having an actual box hanging off the main coop for the nests won't work well (wind-chill, etc)...

    Having a little trap door that opens behind the within-the-coop nests might be good.
  6. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    We are doing the outer nest box on coop #2. I don't think it will add much weight since you are building a nest box anyhow, just where it goes and shingle weight, maybe some trim. I am 5'10", and the second coop is 6' at the peak, so I would whack my head all the time. I am going to box around with straw bales to help insulate.
  7. Weasleymum

    Weasleymum Songster

    Aug 1, 2008
    Thanks guys! I think I'm going to stick with my original plan to keep the next box inside. My coop is going to be small and mobile, so actually walking inside won't be an option for me, but reaching the eggs from the main door won't be problem.

    Yeoldbroodie, thanks the the heat/cold consideration, I hadn't thought about that one at all! It would make a big difference in a coop this size.

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