Introducing a Rooster to the flock??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GwenReaper, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. GwenReaper

    GwenReaper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 hens and a duck. I just got a silkie rooster. He is about 5-6 months old. I have not heard a crow from him yet....

    As soon as I put him in there my girls started growling and all went after him, before I could grab him all the girls had a beak full of fuzz. So last night I put him in the coop with the girls- in a large dog carrier so maybe they could get used to the sight of him. I let the out this morning... the a couple started ganging up on him again. Am I doing this wrong or are they just jealous of how pretty he is??? [​IMG]

    I am about to go to work and I dont want to leave him out and come home to a bald silkie... so I put him back in the kennel in view of the hens.

    i am new to this and any help would be appreciated. I dont know if they are doing this because he is a rooster... but I plan on getting a few more hens and I dont want to go through this everytime. I want to be more prepared. THANKS!!![​IMG]
     
  2. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    It's definitely a good idea to let the ladies get used to the sight and sounds of a new bird before introducing it to the flock. Several days of separation in the coop is a good idea.

    One suggestion that people often make for introducing new birds is to put the new bird on the roost in the middle of the night with the others while everyone is in the mood for sleep. Silkies don't roost up high, though (I've heard most prefer to sleep on the floor), so that technique wouldn't work. Another method you could use is to remove the "ringleader" that is leading any attacks against him from the flock. Keep her separate from the rest of them for a week or so and let the pecking order readjust, then introduce her back into the flock so that their focus is on her. Do things to throw the normal order of things off a bit. Move their food, give them a head of cabbage on a string to play with, etc. etc.

    What breeds of hens do you have?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I suggest reading this article before trying to integrate chickens. It is a bit of a long read, but I think worth it.

    Buff HooliganÂ’s Adding to your flock
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock

    You did not mention the age of your hens. I'd guess they are more mature than the silkie. At that age, the silkie is still an adolescent. Among other adolescents, he may be able to establish dominance and he may not, but he has to have maturity and self-confidence to establish dominance over mature hens. Breed and size has a little to do with it but maturity has a lot more. If he cannot establish dominance, the hens see him as just another weaker chicken that needs to be put in his place in the pecking order, no different from adding a pullet the same age.

    A rooster has certain duties inside a flock. A good rooster insures the eggs are fertile, keeps peace between the hens, finds them food, helps find them a good nest, helps raise the chicks, and protects all members of his flock, both by giving warnings and by giving his life to defend them if necesssary. In order to perform most of these duties, the rooster has to be dominant over the hens. Otherwise they won't listen to him when he tries to break up fights, gives warning a hawk is overhead, tries to mate, or perform other duties. He establishes that dominance by mating with them, whether they initially want him to or not. You will note I started this by saying a good rooster. Not all roosters are good. Some are sadistic bullies or oversexed maniacs and need to be handled. Adolescents are more prone to this than mature roosters.

    Since the hens see him as just another chicken that needs to be put in his place in the pecking order, he is in danger. Treat him as you would a young pullet as you try to integrate him. As he matures, he will establish his position in the flock.

    Chcikens are social animals. They are able to get along pretty peaceably in a group because every chicken knows its place in the pecking order. This pecking order is established by pecking and sometimes fighting which can get pretty vicious if one of the chickens does not readily accept their position. If the new chicken is weak in spirit or gets injured, it can be fatal. It is much the same in a herd of cattle or horses or a pack of wolves or dogs. Each animal knows its place in the group. When chickens wake up and there is a stranger in their midst, they do not know where that chicken stands in the pecking order. That has to be determined. It is possible that the chickens waking up together makes that process a little easier. I really don't know. But I assume one reason that the process seems to work some of the time is that some of the pecking order issues are worked out before the human knows about it or can intervene. Many integrations are fairly peaceful, especially if you follow Buff's advice. Some are disasters no matter what you do.

    Good luck!
     
  4. france

    france Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:All my silkies do roost with the rest. Might be worth trying when you get to that stage.
     

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