Just brought home some caged layers


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 8, 2014
Ontario, Canada
We just brought home 20 caged layers. They were living in such tiny cages they couldn't turn around. We are planning for them to be free range but have just placed them in their coop for the evening. A bunch of them aren't even walking and the rest of them look drunk. Is it too overwhelming for them to have so much space? Will they eventually have better control over their movements? Is there a way that would be best to introduce them to the outdoors? The ones we placed in nesting boxes haven't moved in hours and the rest of them aren't even attempting to roost.

Do you know exactly where they came from / did you get them at a sale or something? They would not have been kept long term in that small of a cage for egg laying, sounds maybe like transportation cages where they are often really crammed in? They could be pretty dehydrated / hungry among other things if they were in there for a day or two.
Do you have a light in the coop? If you can would keep one on overnight if you just put them in there and they are acting that weird so they are active and will drink.
They probably won't roost since they probably have never had the chance and don't know how... they are used to sleeping on the ground/wire... they are probably used to walking on wire.
They came from a barn not too far from us. They were clearing out their chickens. They are just over a year. The cages were in a line and attached to the barn wall. I've seen other cages for laying hens before but these were small! We put a dull light in there for the night.
I wish you the best of luck with your new flock. Do you have other chickens? If so, it would be important to keep these new birds away from your other flock until you're sure they have no diseases they can pass on, especially since they are acting so weird. You might need to dip their beaks in water to show them where it is. I agree, they might be dehydrated. If they were caged in anticipation of slaughter, they may have been without food and water for a while.
They are walking today! I have put in a ramp/ ladder to the nesting boxes but they are yet to get off the ground. I do have other chickens and theses chickens are being kept separate for the time being. I noticed this morning some had been debeaked
and also a lot were missing a ton of feathers! I'm not sure if it's just extreme malting because they were under so much stress and the season change or if they are picking. I did see one chicken plucking the feathers of another. Is there a way to differentiate the 2? I did get 8 eggs this morning from them though!
they may be feather picking because of their tight confinement. Or it could be protein deficiency. You might give them extra protein and or fat in their diet: black oil sunflower seeds, cooked meat, or give them a bag of Multi-flock feed (20% protein). I hope they come around for you. You are wise to keep them away from your other flock. Be sure not to wear the same shoes when you tend the other flock, and it would also be wise to even have clothing dedicated to your quarantine flock.

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