Adding a bantam roo to 20 standard hens...will they love or hate him?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BWchicken, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    He is a 6 month old wyandotte bantam, and the existing flock of 20 standard sized hens are all laying, various breeds and ages. He will be joining them in their existing run and coop. The fact that he is smaller than the hens worries me.

    The roo was mine and I had to give him away, but I will be able to help supervise the introduction. He was like a pet to me so I'm worried about the hens hurting or killing him if they don't like him. I don't know what might happen, especially since he is a bantam and the hens will be bigger than him. So does anyone have ideas on what I can expect? Will they love him or hate him?
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  2. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
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  3. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    First off, I don't think he'd kill them. I've had many roosters, none of which would have dared kill a hen. They loved them.

    I actually just did the same thing. My group of hens lost their roos that they were raised with because they were too aggressive to bare. After weeks and months without them, they established a girls-only flock. I took home a rooster that I won about 2 months ago, and after a quarantine period, slowly integrated Mr. Roo into his new flock of 17 hens. For the first week, he was picked on (he's also a bantam and most of the hens are Large Fowl) and driven to the ends of the run. After the first week, the girls didn't bother him as much though he is still lower in the pecking order. He is, however, taking some girls under his wing (the ones who are small and sumbit to him) and their eggs are now fertilized. [​IMG] *Wink, wink*

    It really depends on the girls and boy. I would keep an eye out for EVERYONE for a bit though. Anything can happen.
     
  4. BWchicken

    BWchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2009
    Texas
    Thanks for your reply PolishPrincess! [​IMG] I must clarify, I'm not worried about the roo killing hens, I'm afraid they'll kill him. I also have a couple questions.
    How old was your roo when you introduced him to the hens?
    How old were the hens?
    Do you think they pick on him because he's smaller than them?
    Do you think your hens will ever respect him as "the man of the flock"?

    My roo is 6 months old and I thought that would be old enough to try and dominate the hens. But you said your roo is still on the bottom of the pecking order, so I guess roos aren't always dominant over hens like I thought. I'm going to feel really bad if I give my roo to these hens and they just beat him up all the time. I want him to be "the man" for them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  5. annaserv

    annaserv Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2008
    northern Wisconsin
    Sounds like my situation this past summer. My cousin brought me 3 tiny little Bantys (in a little pet carrier all the way from Texas to Wisconsin) to go with my 19 full size hens (1 rooster and 2 little hens, around 4 months old). All I could think was "oh no, why did he bring these little dove size birds to me, their going to be a heap of lifeless feathers by the end of the day"

    Well I did make and extra perch for them that only they could fly up to so they have a place to escape too in case things got a bit too rough. But.... that darn little rooster refused to hide and cower on the high roosts. Every hen got to put him in his place for a couple days. His beautiful big comb was covered in blood, but he didn't care and wouldn't give up.

    Now he totally ignores his 2 little girls and hangs out with the big hens (mainly huge Cochins). It's hilarious to watch this little rooster that about a quarter the size of the hens, running from one group of hens to another trying to do his little mating dance, an actually succeeding at times.

    So it may work out for you.

    Now I dread adding the 7 little Silkies my sister in law is bringing this week. The big hens will probably ignore them, but I know the 3 Banty's will be in charge of the welcome. I so hate introducing new chickens to the established flock.
     
  6. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Roosters are smart when it comes to protecting themselves-most of the time. If a hen is giving them trouble-they tend to know when enough is enough. Although, in the past, my roosters have fallen victim to hens pecking their feathers out. [​IMG] (Lack of protein) But after they had more protein in their diet, it was really never the same...A rooster will give alot to a hen if it's managable.

    My little roo is and was at the time, under a year old. I guessed approx. 7-9 months at the time that he met my girls, because his previous owner didn't quite know his age.

    My hens were, at the time, a mix from 5 months to 2 and a half years. I noticed that it was the YOUNGER hens who gave him the most trouble. The bigger girls barely noticed he was there for the most part.

    I think there are a lot of reasons why my rooster is picked on. Size is a factor, as is attitude. I think it takes a heck of a rooster to say to hens he doesn't even know, "Okay, ladies, step aside. I can take it from here." Mr. Rooster submits to them, good for me, because then he knows his place is under my influence. In the past, aggressive roosters have been at the top of the pecking order and have hurt me or my family members.

    Will the hens ever respect a new rooster? Perhaps. Every rooster is different, IMO. I think that eventually, every rooster will gain dominance over a various number of hens. In the past, my dominant roos (only bantams, mind you) have been under at least one hen. My Roxy wouldn't give up her rule for anything. I've never had a rooster that was number one. But being 'number one' is totally different than being the man of the coop. [​IMG] He can still proect them without having a 'crown' to prove himself. And I think, to some degree, every rooster will protect his hens, as instinct suggests.

    But I would still keep him in a protected area alongside the hens for a while, so they can meet each other. Throwing a new rooster to the lion's den is a good way to lose some trust. When I took my rooster to meet hens for the first time, I made sure that when he got pecked, I'd tap the beak of the hen who did it so he knew that I made the rules, as did the hen. Then vice versa if he did the same to a hen more than once. But I always made sure he knew his place and knew that I would still protect him if need be.
     

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