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I have 13 chickens. They have a chicken coop with a large run attached by wire mesh on all sides. I have 2 terriers that would just as soon eat them, so I can't let them out of the run to roam around the yard.

When I clean the coop, I lock them in the run; they obviously don't have access to the coop or nesting boxes at this point.

My question is: is it super stressful for them not to have access to the nesting box when it is time for them to lay an egg? I am not cleaning it every day, but it's about every month and a half or so.

  • Why would this question be a better fit here than on biology.stackexhange.com or pets.stackexchange.com? What's the link with sustainability? – THelper Sep 19 '15 at 17:39
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    Healthy chickens that produce quality eggs is a part of sustainable living. I am asking the question because I a want to know if it's detrimental to the chickens health. – Mapsy Daisy Sep 19 '15 at 18:19
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    What do the terriers have to do with the question? – Jan Doggen Sep 21 '15 at 11:06
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    If you are asking if it is stressful to the hens in the way it can be stressful to find yourself in need of a bathroom but without access to one, then I'd say no - chickens will lay all over the yard for a number of reasons. I worked at a school that had too many chickens for the boxes, and the kids would have to do a daily "easter egg" hunt to find all the eggs laid along the fence, under the picnic table, in a shoe, in the shed - you name it. – That Idiot Sep 22 '15 at 20:15
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    I agree with @JanDoggen that your remark about the terriers is a bit confusing: do you mention them because you fear they add to the stress, or to explain why you go about things the way you do? As it stands, one doesn’t known if one ought to take account of them in the answer. – PJTraill Dec 8 '15 at 1:52
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We've been keeping chickens for a few years now, and in my experience they don't seem to mind a few hours without access to the nest boxes. They will sometimes lay an egg in other places, we get to know their favourite spots, and often they wwill just hang around the entrance waiting for you to finish.

Last year when we had more hens, they often all wanted to lay in the same place, and would often queue up outside waiting for each to finish, so I guess they don't get that desperate, not like humans needing to pee or anything!

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