Hello citizens of BYC, I need to pick your brains about Silkie rooster behavior and introducing a companion. I'll try to keep this post short, but no promises, so stick with me. I live in a very rural, very small and very northern Vermont town where most of my immediate neighbors raise some sort of livestock - horses, cows, chickens. So when I found this rooster hanging around my house about a month ago, I assumed he had wandered over from one of the neighboring properties. However, after inquiring with my neighbors about this stray rooster, I found that none of them raise Silkies. One of my neighbor's suggested that some folks abandon roosters in wooded areas as opposed to putting them in the stew pot. Whether this rooster was intentionally abandoned at my house or nearby matters not, I suppose, because I now have a rooster. And honestly, it's fine. Miles Fluffybutt, as I've named him, is cute, quite chatty, generally friendly, although he isn't totally comfortable being picked up and he loves good bread as much as I do. I finished the majority of his coop - a 4 ft. x 8 ft. ark with a 2.5ft x 4ft house on one end - two weekends ago. I finished shingling it last weekend and I hope to finish painting it this weekend. It should be large enough to fit three or four chickens comfortably. In the Spring, I plan on building a larger run. Unfortunately, I cannot let them free range - my neighbor's dogs visit a lot and I'm caring for two feral-ish cats plus I have my own dog and cat that both would love to eat chicken. Don't worry; the cat stays inside and the dog has her own run in the front yard so Miles can have the backyard for his run. If the dog is with me - helping garden, hanging out, whatever, she's leashed. Miles is moulting, I think. He's leaving a few feathers here and there, and the 'streamers' on his crown and a few feathers around his neck look different, but not worrisome. If he's not molting, do you think he might be stressed? What are signs of a stressed rooster? What can I do to alleviate his stress, if he is stressed? He doesn't crow a whole lot and seems to be a little less active than a month ago. Although, that could be contributed to the waning light and cold weather settling in. I know chickens are social creatures so how do I introduce a female companion? Or two companions? Does it matter the species or age? I don't eat or really have any use for eggs. I'm not interested in raising a bunch of chickens, so would it make sense to seek out an older hen who may not be laying well or at all? What would the challenges of that be? The folks at the feed store and my friends who raise chickens agree that Miles is likely less than a year old. And while I'm thinking of it, I should ask about table scraps. What can I feed him as a treat? What is an absolute no-no? Right now, I give him a cracked corn and meal worm mix - a little bit scattered on the ground and with his grit, some bread - usually whole wheat. What should he be getting for fruits/veggies on a regular basis, if any at all? What about cooked rice? Can I share that with him? Should he be getting oyster shells or is that more for laying hens to ensure enough calcium for hard shells? His regular food is Manna Pro organic layer pellets. He has a heated water fount and I scatter grit on the ground for him. I tried putting it in a bowl, but he just pooped in it. Will I need build in space somewhere for a dust bath or a water bath? These might very dumb questions, but I'm new to raising chickens. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If you have questions, please ask. Thank you for taking the time to read this not-so-short post.