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Introducing Rooster to Virgin Flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RedDrgn, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    We recently got a roo (New Hampshire) to add to our flock of 5 hens. He came from a flock that had way too many roos for the number of hens and he was the youngest of the roos. He's just shy of 6 months and the hens are 5 months his senior. Currently, he's in quarantine in a large dog crate in our garage. The rest of our flock saw him once, from a distance, while they were free ranging and he was in his crate. He crowed at them and paced in the cage and then totally and completely ignored him, which really surprised me. They acted like he didn't exist; never even batted an eye or looked at him (poor fellow! [​IMG]).

    So, for now, he has been doing well with my DH and I. We visit with him and bring him snacks, and he's been great. He lets us touch him and pick him up and didn't even fuss when we gave him a thorough once over to check for lice/mites or any other sign of a problem. Two of our neighbors, one who brought their two young kids along, have also visited him and he was awesome with them as well (he even manages to take snacks out of any sized hands without pinching/pulling skin...most of the hens can't even manage that, lol). We're reeeaaally hoping that behavior/attitude will be permanent (and are terrified that it may not). [​IMG]

    Anyway, we're trying to figure out the best way to introduce him to the girls without freaking either side out. We were figuring on placing his whole crate (with him in it) into the enclosed run (100 square feet) full time once the quarantine period was over. Then everyone could get a good look in relative safety, should anyone get bent out of shape and try to take it out on each other. We'd also let them all free-range together in the evenings/weekends when we can keep a close watch. Then roll with that for a few weeks, depending on everyones' attitudes?

    Does that seem like a decent plan? We don't want to unleash anyone as I've read too many horror stories about broken/beaten roos AND hens during initial encounters, so we're trying to come up with a look-but-don't touch method for a period of time and then monitored meetings before letting them all mingle full time. This is our first experience with flock introductions, so we're trying to do it "right". [​IMG]
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    That's a very good idea. Let the hens see him in the run without being able to touch him (or him touch them) for a few days, then just let them free range together.

    Now, I know you want things to go perfectly with this intro, but expect to see some upset chickens for a little while, because that's the nature of the beast. They will sort things out, and after about a week, everything will be fine.

    Gradual is always good if you have the facilities to do that.

    Good luck to you,
    Sharon
     
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,302
    28
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    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Yeah, I've heard that no matter how careful you are, feathers get ruffled; the pecking order of the thing and all. We're steeling ourselves for that. [​IMG]

    The gradual part we can definitely do, though!
     

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