Nesting boxes in or out of coop

Cheftim30

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2021
13
21
29
Piedmont North Carolina
Need some help, my girls (buff Orpingtons)will be 18 weeks tomorrow. I have been letting them roam the back yard out of the run, still fenced in and they really seem to be enjoying it. So with nesting boxes should I keep them in the coop or since they are roaming more leave them out of the coop? They have found a favorite bush to hang out under and I keep checking for eggs but nothing yet so just wondering if a outside nesting box would be better. Thanks all!!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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Welcome to BYC. :frow from the Sandhills.

Most people find it more convenient to have the nests attached to the coop. It's dry and sheltered there and it's easy to gather eggs when feeding, watering, or otherwise attending to the chickens and the coop.

It's not absolutely required.

My Little Monitor Coop has nestboxes mounted on the outside to save floor space in a small coop:
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Neuchickenstein has them mounted inside but with outside access:
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I have heard of people putting nestboxes in the run and, once, IIRC, putting a couple on their back porch where the chickens liked to hang out.
 

Cheftim30

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2021
13
21
29
Piedmont North Carolina
do you find the chicks will go back to the coop to lay even if they are wondering around? Thanks!! I thinking maybe just inside for the winter coming up in case we get a flurry and gotta go buy all the bread and milk to have with my eggs. Lol.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
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Jul 10, 2009
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do you find the chicks will go back to the coop to lay even if they are wondering around? Thanks!! I thinking maybe just inside for the winter coming up in case we get a flurry and gotta go buy all the bread and milk to have with my eggs. Lol.

I don't free range, but I have a big run and they *almost* always go to their boxes.

Just a couple times I've had a hen get caught out and drop an egg in the run -- though I did have a stubborn floor nester for a while.

I have golf balls in my nests to show them where to put the eggs.
 

RubelliteRose

Songster
Apr 15, 2020
385
986
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SE Virginia
MIne free range and so far they have always come back to the coop to lay their eggs. We only free range when we are home and do periodic head counts so we know they haven't been laying secret eggs around the yard:)
One of our hens even spent the first several months of laying yelling at the back door until someone came outside to escort her to the nest box or until she had to sprint back to the coop just in time to lay her egg. 🙄🤣
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,745
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SW Michigan
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wondering if a outside nesting box would be better.
I would not go that route.

Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop/run for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

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