Looks like I'm going to have to winter over my rooster and introduce him to new spring chicks in order to fight off the ravens in the spring. Does anyone else have any experience with this? Will he accept and protect them? or try to kill them?
Let them live someplace where he can see and hear them without actually reaching them for at least 2 weeks.
At first he may be upset with their being near - he may scream at them stare at them, try to peck them and drive them away or even try to kill them. This is why you keep them apart at first. In a few weeks when he should start talking to them and calling them for food and staying right near them peacefully, then you could try a careful introduction.
6 - 8 weeks old chicks should not be with an adult rooster. It is best to integrate them when they are the same size. Chicks should be kept away from adults until they are about 5 months old, due to disease possibilities, etc, as well.....
Honestly it depends on the rooster. That is why I think rooster behavior is the key to when you try introducing them. If he doesn't calm down ina few weeks, you wait longer. Unless you have a bad rooster, he will eventually be OK with them.
I also think it depends upon the rooster. Has he ever been around chicks before?
I have a couple roosters who are fantastic with chicks - does not matter if the broody raises them with the roo or I put the chicks into the pen myself. But I also have a couple roosters who are clueless and I would NEVER trust them with anything under 5 months of age.
You will have to make the introductions when you have time - like a weekend or something - to do nothing but babysit and watch. Two of my really good boys, will call the chicks to eat and call when water is freshened. They will also let the chicks snuggle under them when roosting or if the chicks are cold and ask to be warmed. But one of my bad boys - he is on a mission when he sees youngin's to make sure they know he is boss and he really pecks them hard -- so no baby raising for him.
Can you get chicks now and start raising them up? That way he will not be alone in the coop for winter......trying to stay warm by himself.
i gotta jump in here... my roo was a freak of nature in the roo world. I raise all baby chicks in a patio room in a large box until they are old enough to go to the side coop (one where they can see each other but not peck etc). My roo was always curious about the baby chick room and would frequently go in and just stare over the box.
On one occasion, he surprised me when he jumped into the box and started calling them to their food dish (they were maybe 2-3 weeks old)!
On another occasion, we were in the middle of relocating a batam roo who went into the side pen with the middle sized babys (4-6 weeks). When ever the batam roo would attack the babys, my head roo (mentioned above before- "gilda") would throw himself againest the fence to stop the bullying.
When time came for the middle chicks to move to the big coop at 8 weeks, he accepted the middle sized guys with very few fights (the hens were more aggressive then him).
Thanks for the info. Here's a little more about what's going on..
Due to our weather, we usually raise chicks in the spring (usually available about March) and butcher in the fall when it gets cold (Oct) then repeat the next spring
Our biggest threat are the huge aggressive ravens here and young birds are at major risk. My fence, fat dog, traps and rifle seem have resolved our other routine predator problems (Have a big fenced pen 100x 400 and 2 - 50x50 pens sharing a 2 stall coop with a smaller attached enclosed run , all surrounded with 6' fencing that is skirted but too big to net) Normally as the chicks are growing I put them in a 4X6X5 mobile coop, after the brooder, so I can roll them out on nice days and back into the garage at night then I transfer them to a securable coop all based on their size and breed.
My somewhat flighty Leghorn rooster "Mongo" was gotten at 9 months old and has only been around turkey chicks, that I know of, which he has basically ignored due to his hens being around and dealing with ravens. After the initial welcome-to-the-coop butt kicking he recieved from my 6 RIR fully grown hens, that I was lucky enough to get this spring, he has been attentive and protective of them. My plan is he will be spending his winter in the garage, in the mobile coop or a 3X3X6 ferret cage I recently picked up, so he will be big enough and smart enough to protect the little birds. I like the idea of setting his cage in or near the chicks while they are in the mobile and fixed coops to let him get familiar with the other birds and to gauge his reaction.
There has been mention of disease risk, what could be passed?
Any other issues I need to consider before going with this plan? I know ther are folks out there who've forgotten more about chickens than I'll ever know,