Newbie here with roosting and integrating new chickens questions!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nkacerek, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. nkacerek

    nkacerek Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 12, 2009
    Morris County, NJ
    Hi everyone! I just picked up my first (6) RIR hens (trimmed beaks and all 1 year old) a week ago and added a Barred Rock hen and an Ameraucana hen yesterday which were hatched in late March/early April of this year (aren't laying yet).

    I put them in late at night last night and everyone settled down and kept to themselves. Then this morning, my fiance calls me and tells me the 6 RIR's wont go near the Ameraucana but aren't being nice to the Barred Rock. No pecking, picking, pulled feathers or blood, I guess just more intimidation. The Barred Rock does not have a trimmed beak so I'm thinking she can fend for herself if need be. Would she be better off in a dog crate for a few days or should I let the pecking order sort itself out naturally?

    Also, how do I get my chickens to lay in the nesting boxes if they have never done so at their previous home? I have 6 boxes for 8 hens 18" off the ground and 12x12x12 with shavings inside.

    And ditto with the sleeping on a roost? Currently they all sleep huddled together in a corner on the floor. I tried picking them up last night and placing them on the roost but after about a minute they hopped down. It is a 2x4 with the wide side down about 16" off the ground.

    Another thing I noticed yesterday when picking up my very healthy new feathered friends last night were how skinny and malnourished my RIR's look. They don't have that really dark RIR color and seem really light (more caramel in color than the birch beer brown/red of a RIR) with not a lot of plumage ( will post pics later). Just wondering how I can put some weight on them for the winter besides cracked corn? Currently I am feeding nature's best organic layer pellets with two handfuls of BOSS in the afternoons and a handful of oats, quinoa, pasta, etc.

    Thank you so much for reading through my entire post as I just want the best for my new pet chickens!
  2. newbiechickenowner

    newbiechickenowner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2009
    Georgia, VT
    I am no expert and can't answer all of your questions, but, I will answer a couple and hope this gives you a bump. The integration might as well happen asap. If you have started, keep on going. This said, make sure that you are watching carefully for signs of real problems. It takes awhile for them to re-establish a pecking order, but, as long as they are not attacking with blood resulting, let them work it out. Again, watching closely for any signs of blood, damage, etc. If possible, give them several roosting options. If they are used to being on the ground, it might take them awhile to use the roosts, but they will. The prefer it. I do a couple different sized roosts (1x1, 2x2, 2x4) and put them at different heights. we have a tall coop and mine prefer the highest roost they can get...the fight for it. I have one that is probably 4 1/2 - 5 feet tall and they all LOVE that one. Also, believe it or not...GOLF BALLS [​IMG] I kept them in the nesting boxes for a long time. They eventually get it. As long as you don't have egg breakers, I also kept eggs in there for a bit longer when they laid so that they had real eggs to manipulate around and sit on when they laid. Even though you have 6, I can guarantee they will all fight over 1 or 2... it is just the way [​IMG] They are funny like that. Protein helps put back on weight fast. I feed back their scrambled eggs and buy a really high protein feed and then you can go back to a regular layer pellet. Another thing to consider....and this is worth checking...depending on where they came from...and how they were taken care of...the weight issue and the drab color would be because they have some sort of parasite. Look up other threads for signs of mites, lice, and especially worm treatments. Good luck and enjoy your girls!

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