Introducing the new chicken and a roost

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


8 Years
May 21, 2011
Hey All,

So my grandma has some chickens! She started out with an ameraucana chicken and this big black one.

We ended up getting her some more: a delaware, leghorn, and a silver laced silver wyandotte.

The five of them are doing just fine.

Now she really wanted a red chicken so I surprised her with a RIR yesterday. However, all the chickens are picking on her. Keep in mind the ameraucana and the big black are fully grown. The delaware, leghorn, and silver w are about 6 months old and the RIR is a year old.

How do we safely integrate her in?

Also, the koop my uncle and I built doesn't have a roost. What's the purpose of one?

Also... how do we control where the chickens lay eggs if we let them out all day?

Hello and welcome to BYC!!

You may wish to get the RIR another friend if not two. Chickens are really social critters and I find that different groups of my chickens that started off together like to hang out together. If she remains a group of one (?), she is likely to continue getting picked on by the others, but if she has a friend or two there will be safety in numbers.
Even when integrating several birds into an existing flock, you have to do it gradually, it's not advisable to toss them into the lion's den and hope for the best. While some pecking is to be expected in all integrations, you want to lessen the stress and pecking as much as possible.

What I like to do is to put the newbies in a pen, safe from the other chickens, where they can see each other but not physically interact with each other. They will be able to get used to the sight and sounds of each other, gaining familiarity with one another before having the opportunity to meet each other beak-to-beak. I usually keep them in the pen near the others for a week or two until I notice that they're not paying much attention to each other any more. The novelty wears off after a while and then it is safe to let them mingle. (They're not allowed to sleep together at night during this process, so you need a back-up motel for the newbies. A rabbit hutch, a dog crate, etc.)

The purpose of a roost is for the chickens to be able to stand on it at night to sleep. A chicken's natural instinct is to fly high up into trees at night to stay safe from some predators. In the winter, chickens like to sit on their legs and feet up on the roost to keep their toes toasty warm.

A benefit to having a roost is that you can put a droppings board underneath it to catch the droppings that fall at night and dispose of them in a compost heap to then use in your garden next spring (without as much bedding in the compost as you would have otherwise). Chickens poop a lot at night and if they roost on the floor, they will necessarily be sitting in their own droppings- not ideal. If there are no roosts, the chickens may be inclined to sleep in nesting boxes and the same holds true with the pooping in the nest boxes at night. You REALLY don't want poop in your nest boxes because your eggs will get dirty.

As for controlling where your chickens lay their eggs, it's fairly simple to train them (and train older birds if they're laying eggs willy-nilly about the property). I always keep my chickens confined to the coop for the first week. The second week, I let them out into the run but they are not allowed to free-range until week three or four. This lets them know two things: #1: where they are expected to go at dusk to sleep is in the coop (this eliminates having to chase them around to round them up if they don't return to the coop at night instinctively at first). And #2: chickens like to lay their eggs in private, dark, quiet places and having been confined to the coop and run for their first few weeks helps them familiarize themselves with where the best private, dark, quiet places are: the nest boxes. I have always free-ranged my birds after having done this training program and they have never laid eggs anwhere but in the nest boxes.

I also like to ensure that my nest boxes are super dark and private, so I actually hang "curtains' over the front of them. Nothing fancy, just a piece of leftover material (or burlap, etc) that I staple to the wood above the outside of the nest boxes. It should cover at least 3/4 of the box from top to bottom. I also cut slits in it from the bottom up to about 2 inchs from the top of the material to make it easier to get in and out of the "curtain."

Another thing you can try is putting fake eggs (wooden eggs, plastic Easter eggs or even golf balls) in the nest boxes to illustrate to them where the eggs are supposed to go. It's simple and effective.

It's really nice of you to be helping your grandmother out with her flock! Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions!
Hmm. I don't think we can get the RIR another friend, I'm pretty sure we're over the maximum amount of chickens for our city already. Thanks for the roost info, I'll be sure to put one in into the coop.

Any idea of how to make cost effective nest boxes? I'm kind of on a budget since I'm a college student.
well if you can't get anymore, try this, pull out a single chicken from the flock, not the lowest chicken, but one somewhere in the middle, and keep her and your new chicken separate for a couple of days, and then reintroduce the pair of chickens. Many people have had better luck that way. mk
Mrs. K :

well if you can't get anymore, try this, pull out a single chicken from the flock, not the lowest chicken, but one somewhere in the middle, and keep her and your new chicken separate for a couple of days, and then reintroduce the pair of chickens. Many people have had better luck that way. mk

Great idea!

You can make a nest box very simply with a milk crate or a 5 gallon bucket tipped on their sides. Put some hay inside and presto- a nest box!

Here's a great thread where you can see lots of different contraptions used for nest boxes. Just bear in mind that chickens prefer dark and private, so a top is a good idea:
Advertisement Purina Flock Layer

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom