Integrating rooster into new flock - Question-

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicksurreal, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so we rescued a Cuckoo Marans rooster back in June and decided to get some chicks to raise for him to have as flock mates when they got big enough, he's around 2 years old now (He had some health issues that needed to be addressed before integrating anyway). We have 27 pullets that are 18-19 weeks old that we got as day old chicks, some are starting to squat for us and they have been familiar with him since we got them. They are only separated by a fence. They hang out with him and he feeds them through the fence and signals danger whenever he sees a hawk or any other danger ( even though they are all penned at this point). He seems very involved in their care to the degree he is able being on the other side of a fence and all.

    My question is, when is a good time to integrate? Should I do it now or wait for all of the pullets to mature more? He had a small flock at the place he was at before we took him, he's a good guy and I just want him to be part of the flock, but not if the girls will be traumatized. A few of them already squat for him through the fence and he even grabbed one of them by the neck feathers to try and mount her, but gave up almost immediately when he realized he couldn't do it. I hate to keep him alone if it's not necessary, but don't want any problems if the girls are not ready. The only other flock we have has had the rooster as part of it from day one, so I'm just not sure what to do.

    The other issue is that this guy is pretty big. We're going to trim his spurs back before putting him in with the girls, but I want to make sure he's not too big for them, the girls are Black Australorps, Brown Leghorns, Dark Cornish, Delawares, Blue Andalusians and silver laced Wyandottes . Here's a picture of him -

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  2. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's a picture of him with some of them a couple of weeks a go for size reference -

    [​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I wonder if you could make a 'door' (or two) in the fence that was big enough for the pullets but not big enough for the rooster so they could get away from him if needed.
    Maybe put him in a wire dog crate on his side of the fence, then make sure the pullets understand the doors - they may need some schooling from you on that, then let him out of the crate and see what happens. Make the 'doors' closeable or have something to cover them if the whole idea doesn't work out and they need more separation time.

    Just an idea....he's gorgeous btw....best of luck to you, let us know how it works out.

    ETA: having multiple feed/water stations and 'out of line of sight' hiding places and/or places the pullets can get up and away from him would be good no matter how you integrate.

    ....and the toenails ore more likely to cause problems than the spurs when a rooster is treading, just dull the tips of all to reduce damage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  4. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! That's a great idea. If I could give them a little trial run, it would make me feel better than just putting him in with them one night.

    I didn't know that about the toenails, so thanks for that too!

    I think they are comfortable with him, he's always got a few girls hanging out with him through the fence, but that's a lot different than suddenly having a big ole rooster in your face with no barrier. [​IMG]
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Roosters always seem so big next to hens. I do like Arts idea, but I think that if they are squatting, I would put him in. If he is 2 years old, he is going to be much more of a gentleman than a randy 6 month old rooster.

    Mrs K
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  7. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
    Not all of them are squatting yet, but maybe that's not a problem if some of them are. I don't want to have problems like we did with our other flock. I thought it would be fine to have the young cockerel in with the pullets because they grew up together. I was wrong. He accidently scalped one of the girls because she wasn't ready for the whole thing and tried to get away from him and he wouldn't let go of her. She healed and he grew up to be a good boy, but that was a scary lesson.

    But, your right, being 2 might make a big difference for a rooster. I just keep thinking he might change his behavior when we put him in with them, but I'm probably just thinking back to the incident with our young guy.
     
  8. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, cool! Thanks for the pictures. I do like the idea of letting them have more interaction with him where I can watch them for a while and see how it goes.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I agree, if you have time, you'll learn way more by watching their behaviors... and be there to intervene in case someone gets pinned down and beat up.
    That whole 'put them in at night they'll be fine' thing is just asking for bloody trouble, IMO.
     
  10. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Me too! Even though they've been around each other through the fence for a long time, it's not the same as face to face.
     

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