Adding two batches of pullets and one cockerel to a flock

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
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Hi,

I have an existing flock of 5 older hens (3 reds, an ameraucana, and a buff orpington). In early April, I ordered and received 5 cuckoo maran female chicks and one salmon faverolle male chick. They moved out from the brooder to a temporary coop fenced off in the same run with the big girls. This week, I opened the gate, and they've been mingling peacefully, though they definitely keep to their own areas, especially the adolescents. I plan on adding the 6 newbies to the big coop one evening this week (if they don't move by choice). In the meantime, since mid May, I've been brooding 6 more pullets (white plymouth rocks). As soon as the adolescents are out of the temporary coop, the white rocks will take their places.

My main concern is my cockerel. He's a very meek salmon faverolle, and he is still quite a bit smaller than the cuckoo maran females. The cuckoos are gregarious, brave, and curious. They steer clear of the big girls, but I can tell that they're going to be fine. The cockerel worries me because I am afraid he's going to get beat up when I move him to the big coop. I'm sure, once puberty kicks in, he'll change dramatically, but right now, he hides most of the time when the old hens are around, and he's already gotten a couple of big pecks from our nastiest rhode island red. So my question is, would it be possible to combine the white rocks with him in the temporary coop while he grows a bit more or will he hurt the smaller pullets, meek as he is right now? If I go ahead and move him out to the big coop with the marans, when the white rocks are big enough to join the rest of the flock, will the cockerel pose a danger to them? I hope those questions make sense. Thanks in advance.
 

Folly's place

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I might try it and see. It's true that RIRs can be tough, and SFs very mild mannered, so maybe separate her for a while, and let him mingle without her.
Having multiple feeders and waterers, and places out of sight, can help with transitions too.
I had SFs, and placed the rooster with a friend, as an only rooster, because he was getting harassed by every other rooster here. The SF hens are sweet too, and might not manage with production reds like your (hatchery?) RIRs either.
Mary
 

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
14
31
41
I might try it and see. It's true that RIRs can be tough, and SFs very mild mannered, so maybe separate her for a while, and let him mingle without her.
Having multiple feeders and waterers, and places out of sight, can help with transitions too.
I had SFs, and placed the rooster with a friend, as an only rooster, because he was getting harassed by every other rooster here. The SF hens are sweet too, and might not manage with production reds like your (hatchery?) RIRs either.
Mary
You would try leaving him in the temp coop with the white rocks until they're ready to integrate with the marans and older hens?
 

Folly's place

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Maybe. It's going to be a trial run, and you might need to change things out again. It would be nice to have him with the older chicks, if that RIR improves or is isolated. He's comfortable with his flockmates already, a good thing. Having him move to the younger group may not help, it depends. I don't think there's one right answer here, unless moving the aggressive RIR does it.
Mary
 

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
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Maybe. It's going to be a trial run, and you might need to change things out again. It would be nice to have him with the older chicks, if that RIR improves or is isolated. He's comfortable with his flockmates already, a good thing. Having him move to the younger group may not help, it depends. I don't think there's one right answer here, unless moving the aggressive RIR does it.
Mary
It's not like the RIR seeks him out and bullies him. Twice, I've just seen him not get out of her way in time when she was scratching for food near him. She doesn't pursue him.
 

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
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So, if I move him now with his flockmates, when the white rocks move into the big coop in a month or so, will he be "cocky" and try to hurt the newcomers? At that point, he'll only be 4 months old, so I'm presuming puberty won't have fully kicked in yet, is that correct?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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I would leave the cockerel with it's hatch mates.
At 4mos he's gonna start getting randy soon, the older hens will probably kick his butt.
Like @Folly's place said, he needs room to get away from the hens,
and his hatch mates are going to need room to get away from him.

How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics would help immensely here.

Hopefully you have enough roost space, with separate and lower roosts for the youngsters.
 

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
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Thanks for your reply. All of the roosts are about 12 inches above the floor of the coop. Right now, the adolescents can jump up onto the roof of their starter coop, which is higher than the roosts in the main coop. I calculated the roost space, and I'm confident that there is enough room for 18 birds. I'll have 17 in there once all of the babies are integrated.

The run itself is 20' wide and 40' long, with 10' of one end fenced off, enclosing the little starter coop. The gate to that area has been open since Saturday, and they all seem to be getting along fine now. The Salmon Faverolle cockerel goes everywhere with his brood mates (Cuckoo Marans), and the little pack seems to be good at staying out of the way of the big girls. The big girls are fascinated by the starter coop and like to poke around in the starter area now that the gate is open, and that red has chilled out about the whole situation. There hasn't been any bullying, and since the initial upset with that red, I haven't seen any significant conflicts.

In preparation for the second batch of pullets moving outside this weekend, forcing the older pullets and cockerel to leave the starter area, I've setup shade shelters and extra water and food in a couple of spots in the main part of the run.

I plan on putting the teens in the big coop after dark tonight. When I do that, should I just plop them in a nesting box, or should I open the coop and try to put them on roosts?
 

acrididae

In the Brooder
Jun 8, 2020
14
31
41
One more note, on Sunday, we let the hens out to free range and we put the pullets and cockerel in the big coop for about a half hour in order to get familiar with the interior. They rummaged around and seemed to enjoy the adventure. When we opened the door, they figured out how to go down the ramp to get back into the run.
 

MANNA-PRO

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