ADDING ROOSTER TO EXISTING HENS - NEED ADVICE FROM THE ROOSTER PROS!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sunbear1224, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. sunbear1224

    sunbear1224 Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    34
    Sep 7, 2012
    Hello!
    I need some advice from some "rooster pros" out there! I have been raising hens for several years now and decided to add a rooster and a couple hens this year. Well, turned into a bit of a mess and I could use some advice.


    I had 4 existing white leghorn hens and wanted to add 5 black and white (Exchequer) hens and one rooster to the flock. So, I ordered 5 hens and a rooster from a hatchery. Unfortunately along the way I lost all 4 white leghorn hens to unfortunate circumstances and that left me with just the 5 hens and rooster chicks. Well, lo and behold I have since found out that I have two roosters and only 4 hens. Hence, the BIGGER problem.

    The new chicks were hatched the beginning of June and I have just finally got them to their permanent coop & run this past weekend due to heavy rain and other unforeseen circumstances. I put all of them together in one run, Things went fine for a few days and then suddenly when I was outside I heard quite a bit of ruckus coming from the chicken run and found one of the roosters on top of the other rooster beating him up pretty good. When I got them apart, the rooster on the bottom had lost all the feathers off of the back of his head and neck and his comb was spattered in blood. Needless to say I removed the aggressor and he is now in a separate pen for the time being.

    I have tried to re-home the offending rooster to no avail. Seems everybody else had the same problem this year and lots of people are trying to re-home unwanted roosters.

    I may have a solution but wanted to check with the experts out there first to see what will work. The chickens & rooster are currently in a 10 x 25 dog run with chain link fence. I also have 15 hens of various breeds (Buff orpingtons; buckeyes; wyandottes, RIR; speckled sussex) beside them in a separate run separated by chain link fence only. These chickens are over 2 years old and most are a pretty good size. I have never had a rooster with them. My question (at last) is would I be able to put this young rooster in with them? They are all a bit larger than he is and are pretty established. Is this a possibility or should I continue to find him a home? If it is a possibility, what is the best way to do it and what can I expect to happen?

    Any help and advice would be much appreciated! Would like to get him out of the garage and I refuse to cull a good healthy bird, so hoping this may work. Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,605
    1,314
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    I think it would be fine for you to move a rooster in with your older hens. He may start out being a little "cocky," but most hens will put a cockerel in his place if he gets to rambunctious. And even if they don't, there isn't much he could to to them. There are enough of them to not get overmated, and chickens are pretty resilient animals.

    The only possible concern I have is that the two roosters, each with their own flock, will fight through the chain-link fence. If that happens, you will have to get rid of one, or put some sort of non-transparent barrier on the lower part of the fence so that they can't see/get at eachother.
     
  3. sunbear1224

    sunbear1224 Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    34
    Sep 7, 2012
    Thanks so much your advice. Sounds good. I have a large tarp that extends over some of the chainlink wall already to help provide shade to the newer chickens and it wouldn't be a problem to provide a barrier to the rest of the chainlink if they do start fighting.

    I do have an additional question though. How do I go about putting him with them? I do free range them every day for a few hours when I get home at night. Do I just put him out to free range with them or just put him in the run and keep an eye out to see what happens?
     
  4. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,605
    1,314
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    I think it would be best to introduce them while they are free ranging, since they will have more room to get to know eachother. There will probably be a little fighting/sparring, but not too much.
     
  5. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    97
    128
    Oct 8, 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    That's a very good question! I hadn't thought about that one. I think I would put him in a small cage or dog crate and set him in their run one evening while they were out free ranging. That way when they returned to roost, he'd already be in with them, but not roosting with them quite yet. I would hope that by doing this, the older hens would accept him more readily than if they arrived back to roost that night and found him roosting in one of their favorite spots. Then in the morning, depending on how things went during the night, I'd probably let the rouge rooster out of his confinement cage to mingle with the ladies, keeping a watchful eye out for any signs of aggression from either side. Let us know what you end up doing and how you went it, would you please. I think quite a few people out there would appreciate the information...I know I would!
     
  6. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    97
    128
    Oct 8, 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    Well, now that's sounds like an excellent idea too. Why didn't I think of that![​IMG]
     
  7. sunbear1224

    sunbear1224 Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    34
    Sep 7, 2012
    All excellent suggestions! I may try putting him in a small dog crate inside the run for a while to see how they initally react together and then take it from there! Thanks so much for everyone's advice! It's so wonderful to hear from others and since we are all in this together, we all learn together as well.

    I will let you know how it goes..hoping to try it tonight! I feel so much better knowing he may still get to stay with us!
     
  8. sunbear1224

    sunbear1224 Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    34
    Sep 7, 2012
    Ok, for those who wanted to know, here is what I have done so far to integrate my rooster with the 15 hens, First I moved him to my barn and put him in a wire dog kennel so he could see well. The barn has a large door and the coops are 50 yards or so straight across from the barn so he can see the hens. I put him on the floor of the barn in the kennel and then let the chickens free range and they came into the barn and looked him over. Most ignored him for the most part, but a couple hens puffed up their chests and went at him for a minute or two and then went about their business. One hen stuck around the cage and ate grain on the floor for a while.

    No problem with any of that. I did that for a couple days. Then I decided to let him out of the cage in the barn by himself to see what he would do and he basically stayed inside the barn and strolled around for a while. I did this for a couple days. Then finally I let him out of the cage and then let the chickens run and they came to the barn and saw him free for the first time. Several hens went to the cat food dish to check for anything to eat and he went over and pushed his way around a bit and they left. No big deal.

    After a day or so of letting him run free, he discovered where the original hens & rooster were he was originally with and then all he wanted to do was run up and down the fence line trying to get back in and would not hang out with the other flock that was free ranging. I then decided to put him in their run by himself while they were free ranging to acquaint him to the setup and layout and get used to the run and all he did was run up and down the fence line with the original flock which is separated by chain link.

    Last of all I finally let the hens back into the run when they were done free ranging with him still in the run. As long as all he did was walk around they all pretty much ignored him and were busy eating their nighttime snacks before roosting. However, he is terrified of them. If they came around him at all he started flapping and running and carrying on so of course they went after him after he did that. I have attempted this for several days and end up returning him to the barn every night.

    Anyone have any idea why he is so afraid of them? Is it because he is so young? Any suggestions as to what to do at this point?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,787
    6,905
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep too young...3 months old? Give him another month or so.
     
  10. sunbear1224

    sunbear1224 Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    34
    Sep 7, 2012
    Thanks! Thought that might be the case. I'll wait it out and see then.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by