integrating mature rooster with young hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GretchenM, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. GretchenM

    GretchenM Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 7, 2011
    I know this has been discussed before, but I see varying experiences so thought I would just ask for more stories to try to get a feel for what is most common.

    We have a 2-y-o Sicilian Buttercup rooster (see photo), very calm natured, who's been the only rooster in our flock of about 30. Our flock has a coop with auto door, so they roost in the coop but free range all day.

    We are giving Westley to friends and are trying to figure out WHEN. Their situation is they currently have about half a dozen hens who've gone "wild" -- roosting in a tree near their house. They are in the process of building a gigantic coop/storage building and will be ordering new chicks when it is complete.

    I gather from previous posts that introducing Westley to pullets younger than 5 months MIGHT be a problem (or might not), but we really want to get him over there sooner than that. I'm worried if we let him roost with the "wild" ones, it will be hard/impossible to get him into the coop once the chicks are old enough (and I also worry he will get eaten roosting outside).

    Is a compromise likely to work, whereby he has his own area of the coop till the chicks are 5 months old, but they free range together? If we try this, is he likely to try roosting with the mature hens in the tree?

    Thank you all so much for sharing your expertise AND your patience with my fretting over my "pet"! :)

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    He will be attracted to the mature hens, and will probably roost with them in the trees at night. I'm sorry, but I do not have a solution for this situation other than penning the rooster.
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    If he is trained to the coop he very well might convince the mature hens to go in the coop with him. Then again he might not. My rooster would die before he wouldn't go in the coop...hens or not. He also goes to bed very early. It has been warm here this last week and then hens decided to stay out a little longer til 5:30 instead of 4:30, but the big rooster went back in the coop at 4:30 and just left the hens scratching in the yard...the rooster won't be interested in the pullets until they are laying usually...but he shouldn't be mean to them. He will just most likely ignore them. We got 7 8 week old pullets and their mom and added them to our 3 hens and a rooster, and the rooster is still ignoring the pullets...they are almost at the point of lay. One of the smaller roos seems interested in the young ones all of a sudden, so it probably means they should start laying pretty soon.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My mature roosters have not hassled immature pullets. I put my new birds in the general pop at four months and the roo understands the're not sexually mature yet. Again, this is mature roos! The young roos can start trying to mate the pullets too young.

    So if he goes over there now, there's no coop, right? Habits are very hard to break in chickens and if he gets used to roosting in the trees, he may well not return to the coop. Trees are far more natural to the birds, and they can get higher than in the coop. Plus, as you said, there's always the chance of losing him to a predator. I'd keep him home until the new owners have a way to confine him.
  5. GretchenM

    GretchenM Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 7, 2011
    Thank you all so very much! I think I will not worry about him harassing the young ones but will hold off till my friends' coop is ready. I greatly appreciate your input, as always with this group!

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