Nesting boxes outside vs inside?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by photo chick, May 15, 2009.

  1. photo chick

    photo chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Essex, VT
    I am thinking about the design of my coop and was wondering about nesting boxes. I like the idea of having them sticking out of the side of the coop to allow more room inside but was wondering if this would not be smart in a cold environment? I am in Vermont where is can get to -20 at night. I guess I'm not really expecting to have my hens lay when it's winter anyways, so maybe it doesn't matter. Thoughts?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    IMO the only reason to have true exterior nestboxes (where the nestbox protrudes from the outside of the bldg) is if you have a tiny reach-in coop where you don't want to waste floorspace on floor level boxes and there isn't enough height to raise nestboxes high enough on the wall to let chickens walk under them. In that situation, exterior boxes make sense.

    If the coop is tall enough to just mount the boxes on the wall 16"+ above the floor, though, it's easier and more secure (and in the north, slightly warmer) to just use normal nestboxes. They can still be accessed from the outside via little egg doors if you really want, although in the north you'd want good weatherstripping on those doors.

    Eggs don't freeze as fast as you might think, and if you insulate the walls of an exterior box and make sure it has *no* drafts, and bed the box well, you shouldn't have *too* many frozen eggs, especially not if you can collect twice a day or more.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  3. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2009
    SE Iowa
    Some breeds like Buff Orpingtons will lay all winter long, so it depends somewhat on what breed or breeds you will have as to where to locate the nest boxes.
  4. what eggs

    what eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2009
    Do you mean like a bump out type of thing where they can access the nest box from inside but the external part is sticking out of the regular coop structure. Like this?

    That is how our nest boxes are (for space reasons also) built out of the same wood as the coop and lined with hay or deep shavings. Because the nest boxes are open to the inside of the coop they seem to be staying the same temperature as the coop itself during our winters in MA.

    eta I have large fowl, orpingtons, mutt EE's and a few brahmas that laid throughout the year.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  5. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    I have inside nest boxes and true outside boxes (modified Rubbermaid containers) on and under my deck. The girls love to use the outside boxes in the warmer weather, but 100% of them switch to laying inside the coop once the weather gets cold.
    Don't know if that helps, but I thought I'd share. [​IMG]
  6. woodsman318

    woodsman318 New Egg

    May 15, 2009
    Dear friend, I am new to this forum as well as to raising chickens but I have put weeks into researching this topic. I live in upstate Ny and worry about winter also. From what I have read chickens do better in cold weather than hot but -20 might be too much. Some one told me to stack bails of hay on the outside of the coop as insulation but leave a good size area open for ventilation in the front. There is also some good and not too expensive insulation you can get to help . It used to be called Tekfoil but I found it under the name Prodex Products. foil lined on both sides, air filled rolls of insulation good for homes and coops. It seems like good stuff . flexible and thick and easy to install with a staple gun. The hens should still lay in the winter if they are not too stressed, but not as much. I too am building a coop with an exterior box to make it more roomy and to make it easier to get to the eggs. Also I am making the coop 2 feet or more off the ground to help a bit with predators and to keep them off the snow, as well as making easier on my aging back to clean. The coop designs I have looked at are endless though so I wrote down the best features of the ones I liked and I am going to build my own design this weekend. It seems like the outside nesting box should have a support of some sort under it for strength especially with hens in it and snow on top. I am using treated 4 x 4's to hold up the whole coop as well as the nest box. I hope this was helpful and not too long winded for you. If I can help in any way, please ask. I have very little experiance but I have learned a lot talking to farmers and reading what I have found on the topic. Bill
  7. SarahFair

    SarahFair Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2008
    Monroe, Ga
    I have inside boxes in a coop that is off the ground. I hate it. I have to lean over chicken poop everytime I gather eggs.
    Next time Im building them on the outside..
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  8. photo chick

    photo chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Essex, VT
    Thanks for your replies. I may do an inside nesting box with accessible doors to the outside. I wouldn't like to have to reach inside over the poop to get my eggs every day! I still need to come up with a coop design, but little details like this are making it more clear.
  9. spottedtail

    spottedtail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2007
    Inside boxes with access to the outside is a pretty good compromise!

    Bill, it sounds like you have things well thought out.
    How big will your coop be?

  10. PacsMan

    PacsMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2009
    Salt Lake Valley
    Quote:Yeah, that might be gross.

    You might also want to try roll out nest boxes. Easy easy to make, and no poop to deal with when getting eggs.

    Here are detailed plans of my coop, and it has a link to where I got the plans for the roll out boxes.

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