Can I add a rooster to the flock?

amysflock

Songster
11 Years
May 8, 2008
114
31
164
Tenino, WA
I currently have eleven hens, seven in one coop and four in a smaller coop. I'm thinking it might be good to introduce a rooster to keep the seven "big girls" busy, and to help protect the flock when they're out free ranging.

Can I introduce a strange rooster? How should I do it? What should I look for in a rooster (age/size, etc.)?

If I let the chickens all free range, will the rooster be mean to my four "little girls" from the other coop? (Two refuse to leave the coop so far, my little Easter Eggers.)

Thanks!
 

Opa

Opa-wan Chickenobi
11 Years
May 11, 2008
9,573
450
336
Howell Michigan
You didn't say what breed of chicken you have. I would get a rooster of the same breed. Preferably, about 1 year old. I don't think you will have any problem with just adding him. As far as being mean to the smaller ones, I guess it depends upon your definition of mean.
 

chickflick

Crowing
13 Years
Mar 10, 2007
4,988
607
331
Dimondale
Think it all through. You should have at least 10 hens, 15 is better. Roosters can be very rough on your girls. Are you ready to have bare backed chickens? I had a hen that was sooo terrified of the rooster that she actually ran right into the fence trying to get away from him. Just do your homework and get a rooster that isn't known to be aggressive. Do you have kids? Roosters will go after everyone. I've gotten spurred many times. So, if you have small children, be very cautious. Just things you need to think thru before you get a rooster and then end up posting that you have an aggressive rooster and don't know what to do! Good Luck...
 

amysflock

Songster
11 Years
May 8, 2008
114
31
164
Tenino, WA
No kids yet to worry about, so that part is good for now.

I have a mixed bag of chickens (most bare backed from chronic feather pulling that I've all but given up trying to stop, since I've tried EVERYTHING):

3 Easter Eggers (only 1 in the "big girls' coop")
1 RIR
3 Red Stars
4 Black Australorps

I'm not 100% sold on the idea of getting a rooster, just curious at this point. All of my hens are hand-me-downs from my mother-in-law, and came to me with bare backs and undersides. Several are moulting now so I'm hoping the newly growing feathers will have a longer staying time, but I do realize having a rooster mount any of these barebacked girls is probably an invitation to injury.

Maybe I'll just get a goose.
(Just kidding...geese scare me more than roosters.)
 

Msbear

Fancy Banties
11 Years
May 8, 2008
4,591
98
286
Sharpsburg, MD.
It all depends on the roo. I have only two hens to each roo and all my chickens are healthy and happy and have all their feathers. Even with 15 a roo may pick a favorite and you'd still have that problem.

As far as kids, when I was 7, my best friend was a leghorn roo. He followed me everywhere and ignored his hens (looking back, I think I was his fav hen) hahahaha

My eighteen mo. old chases the roos and when they've had enough, they chase him...it's pretty hysterical. If he gets pecked, maybe he'll leave them alone...probably not. I think the pros way outweigh the cons. They're beautiful, protective and then you can have babies to sustain your flock.
I don't see any reason why you shouldn't unless, of course, your neighbors have a say. -Mine don't!! hahhahaha

btw, my hens run from the roo when he's trying to....take care of business. They high-tail it across the yard. That's chicken life. They still love eachother:)
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
238
421
SW Arkansas
Amy, just MHO here so take it for what it's worth. If you want a roo then get yourself a roo. You have enough hens to keep a roo busy without overmating. Roos have totally different personalities than the hens and they are a hoot to watch. If you are going to be free-ranging part time (as you mentioned in another post) then a roo is a nice thing to have as they are good early warning systems about predators.
I would get a young rooster and he doesn't have to be of the same breed as any of your hens, as long as he's the same size or smaller than your hens. Any resulting chicks would be mutts, but they are absolutely fine for backyard flocks.
Your top hens may give a young cockerel a hard time for a bit, but let them work it out. Don't baby your roo! Put him out there (after sufficent quarantine of course) and expect him to do his job and he will.
I have two roos and I adore them. I don't have hens with bare backs. When the roos were very young and experiencing hormone surges it got a little chaotic, but soon every one had this mating business figured out and all is well now.
At night when everyone is gone in to roost it's funny to watch the hens all try to be the one that gets to sleep right next to my alpha roo. Kinda like chicken high school.
 

Hangin Wit My Peeps

AutumnBreezeChickens.com
11 Years
Apr 20, 2008
6,396
28
263
Birnamwood, Wisconsin
IMO it all depends on the rooster. I would for sure add an older rooster about the same age as the hens...and than one that can hold his ground around these hens because they are going to try to pick on him. If he is docile he will prob get hurt. I added my Serama rooster while the hens were out free ranging...he was younger BUT I KNEW he could and would stand his ground when they come to peck on him. And one by one the hens came up to peck on the little guy. He pecked right back and attacked...they never did it again and the rooster took TOP roll and is a perfect gentleman around his girls. He's a good little guy and the reason I added him with the big girls is because he was all alone and I knew he would be a good warning alarm for danger which he really is. He can't mate them as they are too big for him but he is the boss roo for now
I have a Golden Phoenix that will take over (he's in with the hens now but to young to stand up to them yet) but for now our little guy does a great job.
 

amysflock

Songster
11 Years
May 8, 2008
114
31
164
Tenino, WA
I bought a beautiful Black Australorp roo yesterday from our own thewife! He's stunning, and a great addition to my flock...he's WAY bigger than all of my girls, but that'll be ok. He's still young so his spurs have just started to grow, which is good news for my still-naked-backed hens. (Most of the girls are moulting now, though, and I see new feathers sprouting, so hopefully they can all finally grow in their proper undergarments! I'm getting a little tired of looking at bright red chicken butts and backs!)

I'll post a photo as soon as I can...he was in dappled shade yesterday and was nearly disappearing into the fallen apple tree leaves.


Thanks, thewife! I love him...just need to choose a name now...we're thinking Brewster the Rooster.
 

lovemychix

Songster
11 Years
Oct 14, 2008
2,946
28
201
Moulton Iowa
I love having a rooster with my girls. He is so good to them. I even added 12 new girls with him and he loves them just as much. He is very protective and I think it makes the hens more comfortable. I had 2 roos and I got rid of one because they decided that "crow offs" were the thing to do all day long. I didn't mind but I didn't want to get the neighbors complaining, plus I know he went to a good home that had hens and wanted a roo. My roo calls the girls home at night. I love to watch him.
 

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