Introducing a 12 week old Roo to a new flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chkncatlady, May 22, 2016.

  1. chkncatlady

    chkncatlady Just Hatched

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    May 20, 2016
    I recently discovered that one of my 4 pullets is, in fact, a cockerel. Where I live, roosters are not allowed. Fortunately, I have a friend that lives where roosters are embraced and she has a nice large coop, and would provide a happy healthy life for my little guy. He is a 12 week old Araucana. She has several breeds in her flock. 8 of her flock, including one roo, are around the same age, as we went chick shopping together. She has 3 others that are fully matured. We assumed it would be easier to incorporate my guy while he is still young. When i took him over yesterday, it was heart-wrenching. He was already distraught being separated from his flock and the car ride outside the City limits. Once he was surrounded by his new flock, they immediately started picking on him to determine pecking order with the outsider. He didnt know what to do with himself. In my flock, he was the only "bully," and his aggression was mild - mostly puffing up and chasing with a little bit of knocking the girls down from roosting on feeders. In the new flock, he was chased, pecked, and cornered, sometimes by more than one chicken at a time. We tried to limit it a little to avoid injury, but understand it has to happen too. He does not seem to submit, only run away. Eventually, he was able to roost high in the coop and the others ignored him. It was pitiful. Once they all settled in to sleep, the 8 snuggled together, the 3 mature hens huddled close nearby, and he baracaded himself alone in one of the nesting boxes. My friend reported today that he has still roosted to avoid the others, only coming out to drink or free range once the coast was clear. How much is too much pecking and such to let happen? Would it be better to bring him back to my flock until he is grown enough to defend himself? At 12 weeks, can a new flock kill him? I want what's best for all and need to know how to best introduce him.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Roosters are best added as chicks and raised in a flock or added to a mature flock with no other roosters. I wouldn't bring him back home, being older will make it worse. If it was me I would make him his own pen within the coop where he can get used to the new flock and them him, in a non threatening manner, I might swap him and the other rooster out occasionally, giving each some time with the hens. Sometimes when there are only two roosters in a flock they fight a lot, and peace can be hard to find.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Oldhen is right. You need to treat this cockerel like any new chicken being introduced into an existing flock. I rehomed two cockerels last summer that were around the age of yours. The new owners each provided a partition to keep the boys safe until they and the flocks became familiar with one another.

    By throwing such an inexperienced youngster into an existing flock of adults, it puts him under unnecessary stress and robs him of any developing self confidence. He needs the protection of a safe place in which to adjust to his new surroundings, but it's not a good idea to bring him back home. He will adjust with the proper care.

    I wrote an article about integrating a new hen into my flock. All of the information also applies to cockerels as well as hens. It's linked below this post.
     
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  4. chkncatlady

    chkncatlady Just Hatched

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    [​IMG]

    Progress report: Rosalindo has acclimated to the flock. His new owner chose to leave him outside of the coop and let the flock free range during the day. He has gotten friendly during daylight hours, but chooses to sleep with her sheep rather than in the coop with the flock. Early on, he acquired a bald spot near his tail plumage from an attempt at integration, but it has grown back nicely without further incident. Thank you for your suggestions!
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Sounds like he's got himself a system that works. The sheep are probably better roommates. Thank you for the update.
     

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