1 young rooster to 1 old hen? so many questions!

stargirl

Songster
10 Years
Jun 15, 2011
406
160
216
UK
Hello!
So in brief: we're down to our last hen, Matilda, who is about 5 years old but still in good health and laying quite often at present. We decided not to replace her last flockmate and stop keeping hens for now. She is a very dominant, sociable bird and seemed ok with just us for company, bossing around the cats and any visiting dogs.
To our surprise, this week a little brown chicken appeared in the run - we live in a rural village so it's possible it had wandered from someone else's flock, though none are very close. I shut it out, thinking it would find it's way home, but a few days later I realised it was still hanging around and began feeding it. After a day free-ranging together, with Matilda delivering a few aggressive pecks to establish her dominance, they are firm friends; they go to bed together each night and follow one another around the village, dust-bathing and preening. Matilda seems happy. It seemed like nature had delivered us perfect solution with this magical hen!

And then today I got a better look, and it's a young cockeral. Doh! I've never had a roo, and I'm not sure what to do! Please help!

Is it dangerous to keep him around? Will he overmate poor, pre-menopausal Matilda and hurt her?

Should I stop letting him come into the henhouse and run? & if so, do I need to rehome him? My friend lives in a village that has a local cockeral, who's lived wild in everyone's garden for years. I'd be happy to leave him food somewhere and just have him around (as would the rest of the village I think!) - he & Matilda could hang in the day but i could keep her locked in her run when she needed some space?

I'm not concerned about chicks or egg yield or anything like that - I just want topreserve Matilda's quality of life in her 'retirement' years, and ideally to keep this young rooster safe and happy too. Any help greatly appreciated! :)
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
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Southern Oregon
About how old is he? Young cockerels often get put in their place by as older, dominant hen until they're a year or so. Personally, I'd go with sourlands advice. Let things play out. Honestly, the hen could pass away any time and the whole thing could be a moot point.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,998
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Holts Summit, Missouri
Every year I have multiple flocks / harems that are essentially pairs with primary difference the roosters are mature. In some groups one member or the other is of relatively advanced age (5+ years) and I have an expectation of many to be productive although a reducing rates through 10 years plus of age. Generally the birds can realize some level of productivity until near end of life so no menopause like known for humans and Orcas.

See following older threads giving some accounts on interactions likely to occur. Birds in threads are games although behaviors will be essentially the same except with some details on how chicks are reared.

Setting up a front porch flock
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/451333/constructing-a-single-chicken-family-unit-for-porch

What to look for in a broody rooster
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/882368/what-to-look-for-in-a-broody-rooster

Rooster-hen Interactions
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/662108/rooster-hen-interactions


If your hen capable of going broody she is likely to greatly broaden your appreciation for chickens and the rooster may do the same.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,998
20,464
926
Holts Summit, Missouri
The single rooster as he matures is likely not to exhibit many of the problems known for other social contexts. When I attempt to breed younger roosters (stags) to high ranking hens I setup just like you are doing to prevent strife. The younger roosters transition to the mature mode much more easily than they would in confinement in a more complex social setting.
 

stargirl

Songster
10 Years
Jun 15, 2011
406
160
216
UK
Oh! Well this is all excellent news :D I didn't realise reaching maturity was such a long process for roos - though it makes sense, given that he still does such a convincing impression of a hen at present.

I'll keep doing as we are then, and see what happens. Thank you so much for the links and info centrarchid - off now to read it all and fill in my rooster-blanks. We lived in the city until recently, so it was never a possibility before now!

Out of interest, is it likely that she was so accepting of this new friend because he is male, or is it just good luck?

Thanks all!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,998
20,464
926
Holts Summit, Missouri
A single hen like you have will accept any other chicken regardless of gender and you can see acceptance of juveniles and even chicks if it does not threaten a hens ability to reproduce. Remember the hen is tuned to reproduce regardless of your intents for her. She also needs to have buddies to help with predator detection.

Roosters in a similar situation to your hen will even adopt chicks as pullets that grow up from that can become the start of his harem.
 

stargirl

Songster
10 Years
Jun 15, 2011
406
160
216
UK
PS here he is - excuse the double vision. The tail's a bit of a giveaway, now I look!

 

stargirl

Songster
10 Years
Jun 15, 2011
406
160
216
UK
Thank you, that makes sense. We had problems introducing others to her in the past because she's so dominant/aggressive, but perhaps they presented as more of a threat than we realised. Btw, having made a start on the first thread you linked to, I'm in awe at your brilliant approach to keeping birds! Thanks for taking the time to help.
 

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