Introducing new flock of hens to existing single rooster...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jodygee, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. jodygee

    jodygee New Egg

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    Dec 30, 2016
    Hello,

    I apologize if this has already been addressed, but I wasn't able to find an answer to this when searching existing posts.

    We're newbie chicken owners in need of information. I was given two young roosters this May, and we've decided that we're ready for hens. The roosters have recently been separated because one of them started bullying the other (pretty much nonstop - we tried to let them work it out but he wouldn't back off and now is taking runs at the dogs, too) - the bully will be rehomed or sent to freezer camp soon.

    We have purchased seven 1-2 year old hens (2 Barred Rocks, 1 Easter Egger, 1 Australorp, 1 Red Sussex, 1 Wyandotte, and 1 Rhode Island Red). These hens all came from the same backyard owner and are an established flock. I want to introduce them to our "keeper" rooster, who was the less dominant of the two. However, he is huge - although probably not much more than a year old himself, he is significantly larger than any of the hens.

    [Side note - I am not set up to easily quarantine the new hens, and am introducing them to a single rooster - as discussed in other posts here, I am willing to roll the dice on the one rooster (especially considering the apparent health of the hens and their previous prolonged isolation from any other chickens).]

    We have a 4x8 coop in a 15x15 run (everyone will free range once they're settled in). A brief attempt at introductions this evening resulted in my previously docile boy behaving like a horse's hiney and chasing the girls around, then continuing to bully them as they entered the coop. (I thought he'd go the Casanova route, but was wrong.) Since it was late we decided to lock him up in a separate crate within the run and try this again tomorrow.

    I am looking for guidance on how to introduce them, as well as what to expect as "normal" pecking order behavior vs. knowing when we should intervene and separate him. A lot of what I've read here talks about the hens picking at the roosters, but this seems to be working the other way around. Since he's so much larger than they are I just want to be sure that we don't meddle needlessly, but that we also don't just stand by and let him abuse the girls. (I also welcome any feedback on whether we just let him be vs. stepping in to hold him down to establish our dominance over him.) At the end of the day, although we like the idea of having a rooster around to keep an eye on the girls, we're not going to tolerate one that doesn't want to be a gentleman.

    Thanks in advance for any help that you can provide!
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I see he's about a year old. Probably still pretty hormonal at this point. He's also never been with hens before, so he's got to learn how to behave around them.

    If it were me, I'd make sure the run has plenty of hiding places so the hens can get away from him when he gets on their nerves too much. I'd also make sure there are a couple of feeders and waterers available in coop and run.

    I wouldn't meddle unless he starts drawing blood or pinning them down mercilessly. The hens will likely decide they're not going to take any guff from this punk and stand up for themselves. Your coop might be a bit crowded for them, so as much outside or free ranging time as they can get would be good.

    I'm glad you are not keeping the aggressive one. It's just not worth it in my opinion. Part of the reason I have chickens is because I enjoy them. If one is not allowing me to enjoy them, it needs to be removed from my flock.
     
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I'd just put them together and let them sort it out. I'd not intervene, as they have their own ways of settling the social structure of the flock. What looks mean to us is just a testing and learning phase of chicken life and must be gone through if they will get to the other side and form a peaceful, cohesive flock. When people intervene, they only prolong the process and draw out the time of unrest and stress of integration...it has to happen, regardless of how often we intervene.
     
  4. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This flock merge is in your favor. You have one established bird, and several newcomers. I'd leave them be unless the rooster starts drawing blood. He is probably tying to gain dominance, and also excited about having hens. An inexperienced rooster will often chase a hen when he wants to mate, before he learns he needs to woo them first! Good luck!
     
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    It should workout great......The hens do not think of the new Coop and Run as home yet.....He will possibly have a few kicking matches with a few hens? Although I believe it will not come to blood shed.....Toss them all together and watch them......I got my young Cockerel back after being gone for two months and my Pullets totally ignored him....He never had zero issues with the ladies...If things get out of hand, pop him into a look no touch crate for a couple of days.....


    Cheers!
     
  6. jodygee

    jodygee New Egg

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    Dec 30, 2016
    Thank you for the advice! I'm happy to report that after he spent a night in time out in the dog crate, I let my boy out with his ladies this morning - no fuss, all of the worry apparently for nothing. I appreciate all of your feedback and guidance, it helps to be able to reach out to more experienced resources at times like this!
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    AWESOME!!!!


    I knew it would be fine.....Great news.....


    Happy New YEAR!............[​IMG]
     
  8. GingersHuman

    GingersHuman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great news! Thanks for the update!
     

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