Adding 2 New Roosters To My Flock Of Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by arouech, Jun 5, 2017.

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  1. arouech

    arouech Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 11 hens (ISA Browns) that are about 10 weeks old. I just got 2 roosters (I believe are Leghorns) that are about 14 weeks old. A friend of mine had to get rid of them because of noise complaints from neighbors.

    Currently I have them in a separate cage than the rest of my flock, and even when I put the girls out in their run, I keep them in a separate cage butted up to their run. The girls have been interested and they'll poke their heads out enough to meet the roosters and the roosters will poke their heads out and peck at my girls. One of the 2 roosters is the dominate one, the other could really care less about my hens.

    I know that there will be some pecking as to create their pecking order, but my question is, how long do I need to keep them separated for? I know that where they came from was from a very clean environment and there are no parasites or diseases, so knowing that, what is a safe amount of time before I let the roosters in with the girls?
     
  2. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since it sounds like they've already been exposed to them (from a disease perspective), I think you could put them together now. Just watch the two roosters since there is an age difference.

    The cockerels are probably starting to reach maturity and may very well start to bully and try to mate your pullets, which can be a big problem. Ideally, you may want to add some more pullets if you're planning on keeping both roosters. Young cockerels can be very rough anyway, and ideally you'd want somewhere between 8-12 females with each rooster.
     
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  3. arouech

    arouech Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I work Monday - Friday from 10-3, so should I wait on a weekend where I can REALLY watch them, or put them together and just watch for a half hour or so and just listen for them (which I can see/hear them from my living room)
    Sounds stupid, I know, but this is my first flock, so I'm learning day by day lol
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You don't have hens and roosters, you have pullets and cockerels, pretty immature ones at that. The cockerels are probably pretty close to hitting puberty, the pullets are a long way away. You are at an awkward age. If they were all mature I'd say turn them loose and let them work it out. Adding one mature rooster to a flock of mature hens is about as easy an integration as you will ever get. Adding two males can cause some fighting but if you have a lot of room they usually work it out.

    As far as diseases go, if the place they came from has been a closed flock (no exposure to other chickens) for at least a month and the people with the chickens would know a disease if they saw it, they have essentially been in quarantine. It's possible your pullets or those cockerels have some sort of flock immunity and could pass on a disease to the others, but those generally don't show up in quarantine anyway. Cocci is a good example.

    As far as basic integration, at that age I'd treat it like a normal integration. House them side by side like you are doing for at least a week. Then turn them loose with multiple feed and water stations and provide as much room as you can. Do this when you can observe, like a weekend, and see what happens.

    It is an awkward age. The cockerels, being older and male, will dominate. I can't tell you if they will beat up on the girls, mix well with them, or if they will stay separate. if the boys are too rough the pullets may try to avoid them. Once the cockerels mature more and the girls mature enough that the boys see them as female instead of just other chickens, it can get really hectic down there. Adolescents going through puberty can be hard to watch. It may work out OK or you may decide you need to keep the boys locked up until the pullets really mature, say when they start to lay.

    You may or may not have to get rid of one of those cockerels. I know people really get into that magic ratio of hens to roosters, but I've had better luck with bad hen to rooster ratios that good ones. There are a lot of different factors involved. One of them is space, but personality of the individuals is pretty important too. In any case adolescence will probably be rough.

    Good luck!
     
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  5. arouech

    arouech Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, as watching them yesterday with the run and cage side by side, the one cockerel is very docile compared to the the other. The more dominate one was the one wanting to almost climb through the cage into the run while the other could really care less. I think the two together will be ok, hopefully. I'll keep them separate for the week and see how they do. My run is about 7'x 15' and once we get our coop up, that will give them even more room. Hoping to finish that up in the next week or two (we're building from scratch, so its definitely a huge project)
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Building on what RR had to say, I would recommend that you only keep one of these cockrels. And, as RR stated, you are at a difficult time period, especially with the cockrels being older than your pullets. Cockrels mature faster, and are essentially ho**y little teen age gang punks until they are about a year old. It is not uncommon for them to gang up on and chase down the pullets. They will often pick the weakest pullet and make her life miserable. Then, they will move on to harass the rest of the pullets.
     
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  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    The general rule of thumb for back yard flocks is 4 s.f. in coop, and 10 s.f. in run per chicken, and I recommend even more space than that when adding a male to the mix, or dealing with integration. You're going to be tight for space which will make the aggression issues even more touchy to deal with.
     
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  8. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's not a stupid question at all! We're all learning!

    I'd let them out later in the day or even about an hour before they go in for the night. Do that a few days and then give them more time each day if things are going well. :)
     
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