Help!! All in one coop??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hagadorn6, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. hagadorn6

    hagadorn6 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 17, 2009
    HI everyone. Would like your input on this. I have 3 hens and would like to get a rooster. When I go to pick him up, Do I keep him in the same coop as the hens or should they live seperately??

    Any input is appreciated. Thanks
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    They should be kept separate for a quarantine period of about a month to make sure the new bird isn't sick. After that an introduction period may be warranted. Then they should be able to live together just fine.
  3. hagadorn6

    hagadorn6 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 17, 2009
    Quote:Thanks for your input...
  4. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Also you should know that with one rooster and only 3 hens, your girls will get mated a LOT and will end up looking ragged / bare backed.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree with the quarantine period. You reduce the chance of introducing diseases and parasites if you isolate the rooster for a month.

    After the quarantine period, you can just mix them if the rooster is mature enough to establish his dominance, which he will do by mating with the hens. This can look pretty violent if you are not used to it and the hens may object, but it is necessary for the rooster to do his jobs and for eventual peace in the flock. The flock has to work out its pecking order and dominance issues. If the rooster is immature and not full of self-confidence, the hens may dominate him and beat him up mercilesly. That will change when he matures, but I think it is best to get a mature rooster to avoid this stage.

    A rooster has a few main jobs. One is to mate with the hens. Most roosters take that job seriously. It is also how they establish dominance. Some hens do not welcome that dominance and can resist, at least initially.

    Another is to be a watchman for the flock. A good one is always looking out for hawks and other predators. They have certain calls to warn the hens to hide. If yours are in a safe enclosed pen, that job may not be very important, but if they free range, it can be very important. In the absence of a rooster, the lead hen often assumes this role.

    A good rooster takes care of his flock. He will stop hens from fighting among themselves, at least serious fighting. He will find food for them, call them over, and let them eat it. A good rooster will protect young chicks from the older hens. He may even find a safe place to nest and tell them about it. But he has to establish his dominance over them to be able to perform most of these duties. He establishes that dominance by mating.

    A good rooster will give his life protecting the flock. He gets between the flock and danger and will fight to the death protecting his flock.

    You will notice I mentioned a "good" rooster. Not all roosters are good. Some are brutal bullies and some are meek mikquetoasts. It depends on their personalities. Some are oversexed maniacs and some are gentlemen.

    Momo mentioned barebacked hens. I disagree with the statement that you will get barebacked hens for sure. I certainly acknowledge the possibility, but it is not a sure thing. When a rooster mates with a hen, it is not at all unusual for a feather to occasionally come off. An occasional feather is not a bad thing. It will grow back. But sometimes the rooster takes off enough feathers to create bald spots. You need to be aware of it because this can lead to serious problems. And sometimes the rooster will actually injure the hen and draw blood. This can lead to death. If you ever see that, you need to take action immediately.

    A few things can lead to barebacked hens. Overmating is one. Whether or not there is overmating depends on the personality of the rooster. The more hens you have the less the chance of overmating, but more hens is not a sure preventative. Sometimes a rooster will pick a favorite or a few favorites and overmate with them regardless how many he has to choose from. I remember a post from someone who had 1 rooster and 18 hens and a few were barebacked. Some people do not have barebacked hens when they have very few hens per rooster, like 1 rooster and 1 hen. Obviously the lower the ratio the more likelyhood of this problem, but it is not a sure thing.

    A rooster's technique can cause it. Some are just naturally rough or use their spurs when mating. Some are gentle. How much a hen resists can influence how rough the rooster is with her. Remember, one of the rooster's primary jobs is to ensure the eggs are fertile and he needsto establish dominance to fo many of his other duties. But some are brutal bullies and need to go.

    A rooster that is significantly larger than the hen is more prone to causing barebacked hens. Long spurs area also a threat. If you notice hens getting barebacked, it often helps to trim a roosters spurs. And some people actually get "saddles" for their hens to protect them.

    Chickens are social animals. I think it is cruel to keep one living by itself. In my opinion, if you get a rooster and it works out, great. If it does not work out and you have to separate him from the hens, I'd get rid of him instead of making him lead a lonely life.

    Good luck!
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:[​IMG] Totally agree and I didn't have to type all that myself! [​IMG]
  7. unaspenser

    unaspenser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2009
    Southwest Idaho
    rigerunner, what a great informative post! I learned some things about roosters I never knew. We live inside city limits and aren't allowed roosters, but now I find myself wishing we could have one instead of dreading the possibility of accidentally winding up with one.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:Thanks, but I did not go into the negatives very much. You have to have the right set-up for a rooster. They can be loud. There is danger around small children. A rooster does not know that a small child is not a threat and will react instinctively. (Actually a small unsupervised child may be a threat, especially to chicks.) Some roosters are oversexed maniacs and some are brutal bullies. Of course, some hens are brutal bullies too, especially when roosters are not around. It is good when you get a good one and very bad when you get a bad one. Sort of like the breaks you get in life.

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