Whelp... I put the rooster in with the girls last night in the new coop. funny thing, he doesn't know how to roost, he prefers to just nestle down in the hay. I hope the girls teach him better. Anyway, He was really dominant to my little amercauna at first this morning and then got whooped on a little by my welsumer. Everything settled down very quickly and he switched tactics and was trying to dance for them...no willing takers, and Riker (the Amercauna) was giving him a very wide birth. But, when I was leaving for work (mid morning, so they had been comingling for at least 3 hours), Rue the Welsumer started attacking him again. Nothing huge, a decent slash and he'd go running... if he got too close to the girls again she'd get him again.
So... I think he's one from the bottom of the pecking order, which I kind of expected given his age. I'm a little worried since he will have to eventually fight it out to become top dog... not looking forward to that. I know it will all work out, they have plenty of space to cohabitat together, but I miss my very laid back happy hen paradise a little bit. Also worried about bringing little chicks into the mix with a premature rooster, anyone have any experience with this?
@COPlains - welcome! Everyone has already said great advice. My only other piece is having a trustworthy dog around is always a help. I plan to get a full-time livestock guardian dog hopefully in the near future since I free-range my birds (and plan to get goats and alpaca), but also having my trusty shepherd mix around to at least coat everything with her smell seems to deter some predators. We are also kind of surrounded by dogs, I'm both thankful and worried about this... I think my biggest predator issue will be dogs that are not contained in their yards.
@21hens-incharge - sorry to hear about the apple tree! Hopefully it'll be a blessing in disguise for your other fruit trees. I'm planning out my permaculture for my property and just get utterly overwhelmed thus far... going to be a ongoing project for sure.
@jmdes - those nuggets are too precious! I can't wait for babies! I'm sorry in advance for all the pictures!