Heartbroken-Bachelor Cockeral What to Do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheNat, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. TheNat

    TheNat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    I’m hoping that you all can help me with a dilema. Our little flock was over the years reduced to a hen and a rooster, so we decided to start over and get 4 new chicks, one of which certainly looked to be a cockeral.

    The plan was to keep the pullets seperated until they got bigger, and then gradually integrate them with our other flock, which now includes four new baby chicks our hen hatched out this weekend.

    The pullets have been living in a chicken tractor next to our house durring the day and a giant cardboard box inside at night, pending construction for a seperate coop and run for them.

    My dad finished the coop, the run is still under construction, and since my mom really wanted them out of the house, and the coop seemed pretty secure, we moved them out to their new coop last night.

    This morning, our dogs tore open the new coop and killed 2 of the pullets, the third is missing, presumed dead. This was something of a shock as the dogs never bother the other chickens.

    Now I’m left with a cockeral inside in the box by himself and a broody hen and a rooster with four baby chicks outside in our big run.

    I have no clue what to do with this cockeral. I’m afraid if I put him with the other chickens they will kill him. I feel awful with him being by himself. He’s a pet and I love him very much, and he’s the last of the first batch of chicks I raised by hand, and I would really be sad to give him away. If any of you have any suggestions as to how or if I could somehow integrate him with the other chickens, that would be wonderful.
     
  2. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    How old is the cockerel?

    I have found that if they are within sight and sound of each other, they do not appear to be as lonely. Maybe you can do this but keep him apart if needed in the chicken tractor until all are close to the same size. I have read on byc that you can give them a mirror and a stuffed toy to make them feel less alone.

    You may have a longer term problem to worry about, when the cockerel matures you now have at least 2 roosters, if they are kept in close quarters they will likely fight. Also you don't seem to have enough hens for 2+ roosters, the hens may receive too much "attention" and suffer feather loss/injuries. I am not a rooster expert but I've read this many times on BYC, the recommended rooster:hen ratio is one rooster to 10 hens. Hopefully you can get some good advice on how to manage this.

    I will hope your cockerel is a girl! I had one that I swore was a rooster until she was 4 months, she had a huge comb, tail and thick legs relative to her 3 sisters, but now she lays great big eggs.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  3. TheNat

    TheNat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    The cockeral is 14 weeks old. Thanks for the suggestion of a mirror and a stuffed toy. I will get one in the coop for him. I don't want to put him outside again yet until the run is finished (learned my lesson last time), but once it's done I will put him in the new run next to the other chickens so he can at least see and hear them but isn't at risk of getting attacked by the other rooster or the hen.

    Regarding the long term problem of the two Roos:

    I ordered 5 day old pullets today and we have the 4 babies, of which I'm hoping at least 2 will be hens. Also, I'm calling all the other chicken people I know to try to see if anyone else has a pullet of around our cockeral's age so he will have a companion. I know that's not 10 hens per rooster, but from what I've read and talked to people about whether or not you can keep 2 roos really depends on the personalities of the individuals involved. Our current rooster is very sweet and has never shown any signs of aggression towards either the hens or the new baby chicks. Also, I don't think he's very "active," as since our older hens died he's only been mating with the 1 hen and she shows no signs of missing feathers or being pecked around the head, etc. Since she's gone broody I don't think he's been getting much and he doesn't seem to complain. The cockeral is the sweetest, most docile chicken ever and lets me pick him up and hold him without fuss.

    I was told to introduce them gradually (once the cockeral is a full size roo) and that I would probably know right away whether or not they would fight.

    Since I will have 2 seperate coops and runs, I figure the worst case scenario if they do end up fighting will be to I'll keep them seperate and put the new pullets with the old roo and any hens which are the offspring of the old hen and rooster with the cockeral to avoid any chicken incest.

    Also we have a neighbor who has 30 laying hens and one old rooster who expressed possible interest in our old roo.

    I just can't imagine parting with the cockeral, though. He was my favorite chicken even before I lost the others and now that they're gone I'm more attached to him than ever.
     
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    Sounds like you have a great plan and are well set up for 2 roosters (I'm jealous) and sounds like the little roo has a great life waiting for him. Only other thing I can think of if he is lonely, is to put him in a dog crate or some type of cage with visibility WITHIN the other run during the day. That should be plenty secure, right? If you don't have a dog crate they are often easy to find at yard sales or you could borrow one.

    Good luck!
     
  5. TheNat

    TheNat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    I am so excited I have found a guy with mixed-breed 3 mo old pullets he is willing to sell. I hope I can find one that is reasonably friendly as a companion to Cordon Bleu. Hopefully he will not be lonely for too much longer. I have a dog crate but I think it is too small to put him in I'm afraid he would go crazy in it. He will have a chicken companion soon!
     
  6. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    West Michigan
    So very sorry for your loss...
     
  7. TheNat

    TheNat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Thank you. I am still a litlte sad, but relieved to have found a pullet friend. Also my broody hen hatched out 4 babies last week. Amazing how sometimes when life closes a door it opens a window.
     

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