Introducing a new rooster.

Elegantenvy

Songster
May 20, 2018
102
269
122
Saluda, South Carolina
I'm at a loss guys .I know you're supposed to keep new members separate for a while until they get used to each other, but I'm not so sure how to do it.

I've had my rooster inside lately healing from major pecking injury from my girls. He's much better now. I've been taking his crate outside and sitting it next to the girls so they could get used to each other. About a week of doing this, and they still aren't liking him. I let them out to free range in the evening when I'm doing maintenance on the coop or feeding and watering them, and they just chase him down! And he mostly just runs away! He's afraid of them! It's getting chilly at night and I don't want to just leave him in his crate next to theirs. I don't want him to get cold, but they won't accept him. Any ideas on what to do here? I really don't have space for him in the house as I have a brooder with a baby chick that my cousin so happened to acquire . He also scares my 2 year old when he crows early in the morning.

Any advice would be appreciated!
IMG_20181024_114808.jpg
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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It would help to know the age of this new rooster and the ages of your hens. If he's very young, not yet a year old, he may be extremely unsure of himself. The reverse is that older hens vs pullets will be sure of themselves and will tend to push a new little guy around, further aggravating his lack of self confidence.

While it's possible to toss a new rooster in with a new bunch of hens with little conflict, it really depends on the temperament of the roo. If he's a timid boy, the hens' aggression can sap his self confidence even more. In these cases, a gradual integration works best.

The gradual process involves letting the roo have limited mingling with the girls and when he appears to be running scared, rescuing him and letting him retire to his crate. Increasing his periods of mingling each day will let him build self confidence without taking a beating to his self assurance.

After the girls have settled in for the night, it's a good idea to place this new boy in the coop to sleep, choosing a spot on the roosts that's not claimed by any of the other chickens. This gets everyone used to the idea that he's now part of the flock. When morning comes, you will place him safely in his crate.

I've perfected a technique of integrating a new chicken into an existing flock. It should work equally with either sex. Here it is : https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/
 

Elegantenvy

Songster
May 20, 2018
102
269
122
Saluda, South Carolina
It would help to know the age of this new rooster and the ages of your hens. If he's very young, not yet a year old, he may be extremely unsure of himself. The reverse is that older hens vs pullets will be sure of themselves and will tend to push a new little guy around, further aggravating his lack of self confidence.

While it's possible to toss a new rooster in with a new bunch of hens with little conflict, it really depends on the temperament of the roo. If he's a timid boy, the hens' aggression can sap his self confidence even more. In these cases, a gradual integration works best.

The gradual process involves letting the roo have limited mingling with the girls and when he appears to be running scared, rescuing him and letting him retire to his crate. Increasing his periods of mingling each day will let him build self confidence without taking a beating to his self assurance.

After the girls have settled in for the night, it's a good idea to place this new boy in the coop to sleep, choosing a spot on the roosts that's not claimed by any of the other chickens. This gets everyone used to the idea that he's now part of the flock. When morning comes, you will place him safely in his crate.

I've perfected a technique of integrating a new chicken into an existing flock. It should work equally with either sex. Here it is : https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/
He is roughly the same age as my girls, but all are a good bit under a year. They're about 7months ish. All except for my white leghorn and she may just be a year or close to it. I can't remember.
He shows a little agressive towards me, like pecking . But he's not charging and he settles in when Im holding him.
The lady I got the rooster from told me he was afraid of her bigger hens.
I'm so scared to put him in with them at night unsupervised, but if you think he'll be okay I'll give it a shot.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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He should be fine on a perch at night as long as you don't make the mistake of trying to place him where the girls have staked out their favorite spots. If you time it for after the girls have settled down, there will be almost zero chance he will be picked on.

From the concerns you've expressed, I believe you may be needlessly over cautious which may be responsible for prolonging this integration. It's completely normal for the members of an existing flock to "haze" a newcomer. The fact they are all around the same age should insure this integration will be short and sweet as long as you will permit the chickens to work it out. Once the new boy finds his spot in the pecking order, things will settle down.

Some, mostly new-to-chickens, folks get shocked and upset when two chickens, not always of the same gender, go at each other with beaks and talons. Even biting the other's comb and drawing a spot of blood is normal and should not be cause for alarm.

If you ever see a group of chickens gang up on a single chicken or one very aggressive chicken stand on top of another chicken, pinning them to the ground and biting the back of the head (not talking about normal mating), then you will have reason to break it up. Everything else is just how chickens roll.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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western South Dakota
Looking at your picture, you are pretty tight on space if that is your entire set up. It may not be that he is the rooster, it may be that is one too many birds for your set up. Do you let them out of that during the day?

There really is no place for a bird to get away from the other birds. No hideouts that I can see. Are those full size or bantam birds, from the angle it is hard to tell.

I think if you could give all of them more space, it might really help.

Mrs K
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Just be sure to take him out very early in the morning again before the girls start getting off their roosts. Then put him back in again during the night after the girls roost. Keep doing this and eventually it will all work out :)
Actually this is the sort of thing I'm trying to point out to our @Elegantenvy that can interfere with chickens adjusting themselves to one another. While you want to take things slowly enough to minimize chances of injury, you don't want to interfere too much so to keep the chickens from working through this integration on their own.

The young roo needs to develop his own strategy for coping with the pecking order. He really can't be expected to do that if you overprotect him. The worst that will happen is that he may hop off his perch too soon and get chased out of the coop. If he's using his tiny brain to the fullest, he'll more likely remain where he is until the girls all leave. I'd not rush out and snatch him away from the girls before he has a chance to confront them. He will learn more if you permit him to make a few mistakes. When you see him run away and try to jam himself head first into a corner, it's time to rescue him.

@Mrs. K has an excellent point. You need more space if you desire a peaceful flock. A run as large as you can handle is preferable to the small space you have for them to hang out during the day unless they have a good size free range yard. Notice what happens to people who are overcrowded. They get testy and argumentative. It's the same with chickens, only maybe even more so.
 

Elegantenvy

Songster
May 20, 2018
102
269
122
Saluda, South Carolina
I appreciate all of the help and advice as always
The girls around mostly out during the day in the yard. I put them up at night, when the weather is bad, and if we are gone for a long period of time, though we are in the process of building something more permanent and enclosed since I dont fully trust my dogs.

He did seem to do okay last night. I had my fiance check on him in the morning when he let everyone out and he was perched in the very back all alone.

I really try to leave them alone. I've seen them peck each other. I've seen him defend himself a little, but one of my my barred rocks and my sex link seem to be the meanies at the moment.

I'm gonna keep trying! And I'll keep everyone posted with the progress! I'm determined to get him where he's comfortable and welcome.

He's such a handsome boy. Idk what those girls are thinkin lol ;)
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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34,501
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Colorado Rockies
Cockerels have an easier time integrating into a new flock since the influence of his hormones is likely strong enough to overcome any problem with shyness or lack of self confidence.

As the girls become accustomed to his presence in the flock, he will also feel more comfortable. The ones giving him a hard time are trying to drum into his little head that he isn't top of the pecking order no matter how eager he is to "sample" his new harem.

Your chickens have this. Try not to worry about them.
 

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