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Integrating adult roosters

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by trifecta, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Has anyone had success integrating a new adult rooster into an established flock? My gut is telling me that this would be likely to go poorly.

    We currently have 16 chickens- 4 of which (2 capons and 2 cockerels) are about to go into a separate pen for finishing/butchering. That will leave us with 10 hens/pullets and 2 roosters, a BCM and Araucana. BCM is the boss, he allows the Araucana to breed his hatchmates (6 month old POL pullets) and occasionally one of his hens. They get along great, no fighting. They are housed in a 10x3ft coop at night to sleep, and have a 75ft x75ft run. So, lots of space for them and they seem to be happy with the arrangements. The hens and pullets are showing no symptoms of being overbred, no wounds or anything. We are on 2000 acres and they are allowed to free range when we are home. Once our fruit orchard is established they will probably go back to free ranging all the time.

    Their is a poultry auction near me this weekend that has some lots I am interested in- but of course these are all pairs or trios. So I'm trying to decide what the likelihood is that I would be able to integrate an additional adult rooster. The 2 boys have never seemed to care about the chicks that grow up to be roosters- but adding in an adult seems like a whole other can of worms. I have a separate area under the house where I can keep the newbies for quarantine of at least 30 days. By that point the 4 capons/cockerels will be in the freezer, so I will have a second pen that I can use as an integration barrier and emergency housing if the whole thing goes to hell. I could always eat the rooster I suppose, but being the cost of chickens here in Australia its likely to be an expensive meal :)

    Thoughts?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    You can integrate an adult rooster given enough time. You start by housing him where he can be seen for months, and be interacted through a fence by the existing birds, before trying to release him, usually in the fall or early winter under decreasing hormones.

    Your problem is your coop is small and your birds aren't free range so they are more prone to fighting, and the loser can't escape.
     
  3. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So 75 ft x 75 ft isn't enough space? by my math that comes out to over 5000 sq foot total, over 450 sq foot per bird- . They have an auto door on the coop- its open at sun up and down at dusk- so they are literally only confined for sleeping. Their roost space is about 20 feet right now, so I may have to add an additional roost so that they have enough space.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Your coop is too small, 10x3 isn't very big. Your run is an okay size.

    I can only give a generalization and only share my experiences. Your coop isn't big enough to bring in a totally unknown rooster. You may be able to raise or introduce a rooster as a chick.

    All roosters are different, some are fighters, some are meek. I keep plenty of roosters. The key is room for everyone to get away.

    I am currently having troubles because my oldest bantam rooster was overthrown by a younger one. They have lived together for 5 years and now the one won't allow the older one in the coop which is 8x10. I had to remove the third rooster who was under a year because he started to attack the older one too. It's a tricky balancing act sometimes. It can work or not, you won't know until you try, and you should always expect troubles, especially in the spring when hormones are surging.

    I would be careful bringing home birds from auctions as you can introduce some bad diseases your existing flock is not immune to.
     
  5. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes I understand about disease control. I can safely quarantine any new birds, and plan to do so for at least 30 days. I have slightly higher hopes for this one as its a small auction run by the local poultry club rather than the usual sale barn kind, but you never know. Sadly purchasing chickens in Australia is a bit of drama compared to the states- its common here for people to purchase adult birds as we don't have options for mail order chicks. I suspect due to Australia's strong quarantine of new birds we are free from some of the funk that USA birds have to deal with, but we still have the common nasties like marek's, mycoplasma, etc. Some of our chicken family trees look more like wreaths as its difficult to get new bloodlines into the country as a result.

    Since its fall here, it would be completely feasible to integrate over the winter, especially by the time they are out of quarantine. I guess I will see how ridiculously expensive these guys end up being on Sunday and give it a go.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I have done things a little differently in the past. I have kept a new cock bird in the coop (in a crate) for 72 hours, then taken him next to the main feeders for a couple of days and let him mingle with the girls thereafter. I free range and the weather is never sufficiently poor for the flock to remain in the coop any day of the year (not too dissimilar to your weather, I would imagine - ok, maybe less rain here).

    I've had one cockerel that escaped from the quarantine pen and joined the girls on the first evening he arrived - never had any issues (apart from being put in his place by the girls).

    I do agree with Oldhens that the disposition of the cock bird is a big factor so until you try it, you will never know.

    As long as you are prepared and have a plan B, I'd suggest going with what you feel is the most appropriate thing to do.

    Good luck
     
    SmColorInDaPan likes this.
  7. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you CTKen. Its comforting to know that at least people have successfully done it.

    We have been in a drought here for 5ish years. It just started raining this week! But, yes probably similar in that my chooks don't need much in terms of shelter- a roof they can get under if its raining, and a means to keep snakes away at night. Shade is the bigger issue but they have lots of trees. Very different housing issues than what I dealt with back in the USA for sure.

    Plan B would be to sell or eat him. I may just try to sell him outright regardless as I really don't need another rooster- its just a limitation of the lots for sale.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Wonders then why you are even considering buying him?
     
  9. trifecta

    trifecta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's an auction lot- my only options are a pair or a trio for this particular breed. If I could just purchase the pullets that would make my life easier but that's not how it works.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oooohhhh, so you want the females and have to take the male...gotcha.
     

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