Introducing rooster to hens...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lynn, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Lynn

    Lynn In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2008

    This is a sticky situation I have created for myself, and would like some advice on how to best "undo" it. I'll try to be brief (but that doesn't come easily for me [​IMG]

    In March, we got 6 day olds (Buff Orps, Wyandotte, EEs) from local breeder... supposed to be hens. Plus a neighbor gave us a bantam silkie x cochin rooster. Turned out to be all boys.

    In August, got 25 girl EEs from hatchery kept 15 and gave 10 to my neighbor. They are now 4 mos. old. At first, they all lived together in the coop, with the girls in a "play pen" that protected them, and the roos free ranged during the day, only roosting in the coop at night.

    When the girls outgrew the playpen, the girls got the coop, and the roos roosted in the attached outdoor pen, with a makeshift shelter from wind. The girls would use the pen during the day while the boys were out free ranging.

    About a month ago, the banty had a close encounter with predator, and the other boys started picking on him, so he now lives with the girls and won't go outside. But for the most part, all the boys always got along pretty well.

    We have been gradually finding homes for all the roos... now we are down to one 8-mo. old Ameracauna (plus the banty in the coop).

    Now for the problem:

    The lonely roo is out in the pen at night, and it is getting very cold. I want to let all of them go in and out now as they please (the girls are big enough now to stand up to our cats)... but are they too young to be exposed to the large rooster? They are about the size of the banty, and so far, only one has shown signs of any problems from him. But I don't want to create problems for everyone with a much larger guy!

    Should I wait until they are older?
    Will the lonely roo be okay on his own with no other body warmth?

    The nights are getting into the upper 20s and 30s here, and can be very windy. Days are 40s-50s. By Jan. it can be in teens at night.

    Last night, I let him in the coop at dark, so he would roost right away and not chase anyone. I also left the hatch door open to the attached pen, so anyone could run out there if they wanted. He perched at first, then got down and chased the banty roo, then he went out the hatch to sleep where he had been sleeping in the pen!

    This morning, he came in the hatch and chased everyone around. I forced him out the door. I know they need to sort things out, as they haven't been together for months. But is it too soon? should I wait?

    My plan was to leave the door open all day today, and let the girls have their first try at freedom, while also letting everyone "meet and greet" with plenty of open space. Though, most likely, he'll just come in and they'll all stay in and get chased around...

    The roo is all alone with only the ducks during the day, and at night, no one. But I don't want my hens getting roughed up by him if they are too young! If they are old enough, I want to let him come in and be warm. If not, I guess I better figure out a better makeshift shelter... but I also hate to see him all alone all the time!

    What should I do?


  2. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Songster

    May 1, 2008
    I am more afraid that you'll end up with a frozen roo than afraid for your pullets. What I have read is that it is unusual for a rooster to mate a too-young pullet (if that's what you are worried about). He might have it out with your banty roo, though. I'd do supervised visitation or keep him in a cage in the coop for awhile. I do feel sorry for him - being all alone. Another thought: If you put him in the coop at dark and shut him in, he should just go to sleep. Chickens don't tend wander around at night.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Rehome the banty and put the big guy in with the pullets.
  4. DTchickens

    DTchickens Crowing

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    you shouldn't have anything to worry about introducing him to them.. at the most is he would run them at a attempt to mate them but it wouldn't be long... and at this time of year probably not often since breeding/laying season is off until spring, the only problems i see here are him vs the bantam rooster/him freezing and since they were together at one time its kinda unlikely the roosters will fight each other, just watch them for awhile
  5. Lynn

    Lynn In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2008
    OK, thanks everyone. I think I'll just open the coop door today, and let everyone mingle. It was my instinct to do so, and I really am grateful for the reassurance that I am doing the right thing.

    As for the banty... do you think he is in actual danger from the bigger guy? The bigger one ("Jumpy" is his name), has never been particularly aggressive. Though, he will certainly want to establish dominance. Unfortunately, to date, no one has wanted the bantam! We wanted to keep Jumpy, and the last Buff Orp was sold yesterday... but not a single taker on Flash (the bantam).

    I'll give it a go with supervision today... take it from there.

    Thanks again!

    p.s. anyone want a white silkie x cochin bantam rooster? Free to good home! [​IMG]
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Roos will fight and compete, and size means nothing to them. A banty roo thinks he's just as big as the other guy. Sometimes a banty roo will whop up on a larger roo. They can make up for size with ferocity and fearlessness.

    I agree with Mahonri, rehome the banty and keep the bigger roo.
  7. Lynn

    Lynn In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2008
    So, would you not try to let them mingle until the bantam is gone? It could take a while to find him a new home. What should I do in the meantime?


  8. Lynn

    Lynn In the Brooder

    Nov 9, 2008

    Thanks for the help today! Wanted to give a little update... I opened the coop doors, and kept an eye on everyone. Jumpy came in and strutted around. Chased Flash, who ran out. Jumpy didn't bother the girls, other than to scare them into a huddle every time he made a move. Jumpy and Flash had a couple of encounters outdoors, but never any actual physical contact, just Jumpy chasing and Flash running! By the afternoon, Jumpy and Flash were hanging out together outside, and the girls were going in and out, having fun exploring the outdoors.

    Right now, they are all in for the night, with both Jumpy and Flash on the perches! No more problems. Thanks for talking me into letting them try to work it out! I'm sure Jumpy is especially grateful, since he will have company and a warmer place to sleep. And I'm relieved, because there is a lot less to manage with opening and closing doors, locking in, locking out, etc. Thank goodness!


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by