Advice on integrating flock & young cockerel

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lizkchooks, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Lizkchooks

    Lizkchooks Hatching

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    Jun 22, 2019
    Bit of a long winded one, hopefully someone has some advice based on experience. Have only ever had hens in the past and only for a year or so.

    So, we had 2 hens - both around 2-3 years old (we think), and then got a hen with 2 week old chicks. The chicks are now 5 months old, and one is a Cockerel.
    The original 2 hens were a bit bossy towards the chicks as they were growing up but no major issues other than the young birds took to sleeping in a nearby tree and still do, maybe because they weren't being allowed into the hen house.
    The cockerel now seems very protective of his mum and sister and they form one group (they are free ranging but only over about 1/2 acre), returning to the coop for corn twice a day but sleeping in their tree and generally keeping their distance from us and the other 2 hens (the mum actually seems to go between both groups, sometimes sleeping in the house). The original 2 sleep in the hen house and generally stick together.

    So, my issue is that we don't seem to have a cohesive flock and I'm wondering if this means we never will or if there's something I can do to help them mix better - given its over 5 months now since we got the hen and chicks it seems a long time for them not to be mixing.

    In addition to this, as the Cockerel matures he is now picking on one of the original 2 hens (he seems to ignore the other one - we are wondering if she's actually much older than we thought as no longer laying) - and we have now found her bleeding and shell shocked twice this week. Finding it quite traumatic. We assume he's also mating with the 2 he hangs out with, but they don't look remotely beaten up or traumatised.

    As of this afternoon we now have the original 2 fenced off in a smaller coop as this was the easiest thing to do in a hurry. But I want advice on what to do long term. If the flock stays as 2 groups, I can't see the advantage of having the boy. And if he continues to go at the one hen then I'm not sure we can keep him. But I wonder, having never had a Cockerel before, whether I'm being too hasty and should give them all more time. I wonder if shutting him up for a few days at a time would be worth a try to give the others a chance to bond? But am also worried about whether this one hen can handle much more of the abuse. Any advice gratefully received. Sorry, I don't know what breed he is but he looks pretty magnificent! - photo attached
     

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  2. Roo5

    Roo5 Songster

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    Sounds as if he grew up in the flock, which all my boys who grew up int eh flock were battered and beaten till they turned around one day and started fighting back.
    He’s young and his hormones are outta control,Id separate him, just him and lock all the hens up together ,how much space do the birds have run and coop wise?You'll likely need to add 4-5 more hens, this may also help with the bullying issue, however I would get the original birds to get along before adding even more.Once the rooster is about 7-8 months I would release with the hens.Could we see run?
     
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  3. Lizkchooks

    Lizkchooks Hatching

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    Jun 22, 2019
    Thanks so much Roo5. I think you are right - the hen he is picking on now he is big enough is the one who bullied him the most when he was young. I haven't got photo of run to hand but it's about 4 metres by 3 metres in an L shape although most of the time during day they are free ranging in next door Church yard and common land which is about half an acre of so, lots of trees etc. So lots of places to hide from each other, but inevitably they do meet. I think keeping him shut up might then be best option, with a view to getting more hens down the track. I have actually found a new home for him today so may pass him on for now and be better prepared next time for a rooster!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Excellent idea.....waht I was going to suggest.
    It still may take time for the younger females to join the others in the coop.
     
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  5. Lizkchooks

    Lizkchooks Hatching

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    Jun 22, 2019
    Thanks aart, any tips on things I need to do when the Cockerel has been rehomed to help the 4 remaining girls settle down together?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Just sit back and enjoy the calmness.
     
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  7. Lizkchooks

    Lizkchooks Hatching

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    Jun 22, 2019
    Fingers crossed! I do feel like our chicken world has been a lot more 'lively' since he appeared!!!
     

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