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Introducing young rooster to flock of hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SmittenChicken, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a flock of 11 hens, all large mixed breeds about 1.5 years old and non-aggressive. They have a lot of space, the coop is about 10'x15' and the fenced run is at least 20'x20'. A good friend has chickens about 4 months old, and realized last month that one of them is a rooster. I've offered to take him so that my friend's young boy doesn't have to send him to the freezer. He's a beautiful white EE who is very nice to his pullets, and I think my hens would like having a rooster around - the poor things are so starved for attention these days that they all squat when we walk into the run...

    I've never introduced a new chicken to an existing flock, so I'm hoping to get some pointers and feedback on the current plan.

    I know it's recommended to quarantine new chickens for 30 days, but in this case we really don't have the facilities to do that. I'm willing to take the chance, since the rooster's owner and I frequently visit each others coops and chicken-sit for one another - both are small flocks that have always been very healthy, and I suspect they've already been exposed to one another via our shoes and clothing.

    We're planning to bring him to our place tomorrow after dark, in a large dog crate. The drive is about 20 minutes max, so I'm thinking i'll stick a towel in there for him but not any food/water. I think we might let him spend most of the night in a darkened bathroom and pet him as much as he'll allow in the hopes we can bond a little, then put him on the roost a little before sunrise and supervise the hens as they wake up with him. He's getting to be as big as our smaller EEs, and is putting his hackles up when he sees me (and has been trying to mate with his unwilling flockmates for a month now). So I have a hunch our lonely ladies aren't going to challenge him too much. Just in case, we're planning to stick around all weekend to make sure there aren't any bad fights.

    Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

    Also, will the roo take his cues from the ladies and see the coop as home right away, or do we need to lock him inside for a week? We have 2 EEs that sometimes jump the fence to free-range (the others are able to fly out, but choose not to). Will he fly out with them and lead the other hens out, or are the EEs more likely to stay in the run with a roo around?

    Thanks for the advice, I'll be sure to update on how the integration is going! :)
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    A four month old roo is going to have to take his lumps from the older ladies, in my experience. I've had dominant hens that didn't take kindly to a young roo, but he learned to stay clear of them. The day finally came when he was mature enough to take his place. He was almost 8 months old at that point, iirc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011
  3. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    My roo Jack had to fight the dominant hen.When she attacked him the others did too.Lol,it was tough to just stand by but we did.Everyone was a bit bloody,but in the end Jack claimed his spot as leader,and Milly continued her *attitude* by accepting second in command.

    We introduced the roo during the day first by a seperation of fencing.Night time is always a good time.We never had a roo though so we want to be there when they interacted for the first time.

    I think the roo brought some illness because 2 of my hens got ill soon after.Lice was also noticed.The roo never got ill.Just be prepped for illness.
     
  4. mikensara

    mikensara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think its likely you may have a few squabbles but it should all work out.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I would put him in at night, after dark. Let them wake up with him. I don't think holding him in the first night in a strange place is going to bond with him, but probably terrify him. And one night is not enough. I have read many posts on here, that you do not want your roo to be a pet, but rather a Sargent, with you being the General. That keeps you in the dominant role, a friend to a rooster is subservient, and he often will fight to put you in that posiiton.

    Anytime you introduce a new bird to the flock, there may be some feathers flying, but from what I have heard is it is better to have older hens with a younger roo, and older roo's with younger hens?

    Many times, they will wake up together, and be just fine, might be some pecking order stuff, but really it is better if you do just stay out of it, and let them work it out. Do make sure that there are various heights in your run, I have found if the birds can get off the floor and at different levels they can get away from each other for a bit, and that really helps. A pallet up on a sawhorse, acts as a place of shade or a roost, and old tree branch propped up, or an old ladder, a large sturdy box on the side and act as a wind block, and two different levels.

    This all gives your birds more space at different levels, they can get out of each others way, and they will be more happy.

    MrsK
     
  6. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks all for the comments!
    We brought the roo home last night shortly after dark, and decided against bringing him into the house since that would probably stress him out more. We put him on a roost within a private room in the coop, where he could hear the ladies but would be safe overnight. Then this morning we put him on the main roost with the dominant girls just before sunrise, and he immediately began crowing his little heart out.

    To my relief, he worked his way right up the pecking order and the hens seem to really like him. We mostly observed from outside the run so he could do his thing, and no longer worry about him getting hurt by them. He's a beautiful bird and seems to really enjoy taking care of his new hens, so I'm glad we gave him a chance. Pictures to come!
     
  7. mikensara

    mikensara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] wonderful. put our new girls in with our flock the barred rock seemed to make herself comfortable right away and the rhode island seems a bit more reserved but all is peaceful
     
  8. eschlotz

    eschlotz Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a roo about 2 weeks younger then my Pullets and I can't integrate him into the flock! I place him
    In the run inside a cage so the girls can see him but can't get to him. I have tried 3 times to put him into the coop and it was a no go! They draw blood! Any suggestions?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Answered in your thread here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1097894/rooster/10#post_16967309
     

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