Is Rooster Ready for a Sleepover?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClareScifi, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My rooster is 24 weeks old. He was hand-raised indoors in my solarium, where he has slept his entire life. When it was cold in the winter I had a heater in there, to help protect what few plants remain that he hasn't eaten.

    Recently it's been warm out and I haven't run the heater at night.

    Our routine is that I put him out to play with the hens at about 8 a.m., and then I pick him up and carry him back into the solarium at dusk. He comes looking for me at dusk and willingly goes into the solarium instead of staying in the coop with the hens.

    But the last few mornings, he has seemed awfully randy when I let him out of the solarium, as if his hormones have gone crazy, and he chases the hens and immediately mates with them.

    If I am busy feeding the hens and don't get around to letting him out of the solarium right away, he crows incessantly until I get with the program and open the window.

    The solarium muffles his crowing somewhat, which I think the neighbors appreciate.

    But I was considering letting him sleep with the hens tonight. It is supposed to get down to 48 degrees F.

    My thinking is that if he sleeps with them, he might not be as hormonally charged, if he can get his needs satisfied by them first thing in the morning.

    I don't know how loud his crowing will sound from inside the coop, or how much he'll crow, or at what hour.

    I've wondered whether the hens rather enjoy having their independence from his demands first thing in the morning. I usually let them play a while before I put him in with them.

    I also wonder whether someone could get hurt if he tries to mate with them inside the coop before I get out of bed to check on things? Could he run them into the wooden nests or something. When they mate in an open area, I worry less about anyone getting hurt.

    Can you foresee any problems with my letting him sleep with the hens tonight?

    Also, I could leave one end of the coop open so they could all get out into the run first thing in the morning. This would make his crowing sound louder, but maybe the extra freedom would be worth it, so no one would get hurt by mating in the coop? And the girls might get less stressed, feeling they had more opportunity to get away from him, via running in the run?

    What would you recommend?
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    P.S. I guess I'm also wondering whether the move to the coop for nighty-night might overly stress my rooster, since he's used to sleeping in the solarium?

    The few nights I've been late getting home, when he has already been in the coop with the hens, he has seemed very glad to see me and willingly come inside with me for the night. Once he flew the coop, looking for me. He seemed distressed that I hadn't come to put him to bed in the solarium.

    I'm also wondering whether carrying him back and forth from the solarium is a good way of keeping him tame and sweet. I worry that keeping him with the hens may make him go wild and mean. He is used to my touch and being handled a lot by me. If this stops, might he forget me and see me as a monster? Of course, I suppose I can still pick him up and carry him around, even if we are not headed to the solarium.

    There may be some cold nights ahead. I am not sure how acclimated he is to the cold? For example, this weekend it is supposed to get down to 28-32 degrees F. Should I bring him back inside those nights when it dips to freezing and below?
     
  3. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    You girls are really overthinking this. Roosters and hens belong together. No matter what anyone says, carrying a rooster around and babying him won't keep him from turning mean if he is predisposed to it. Most roosters are decent, so you just take your chances. They have a down jacket and won't suffer from the cold. Good luck...........Pop
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    He'll be fine, and will appreciate being with his gals. His hormones will dictate his behavior from now on, and don't be surprised if he chooses his hens over you. He's going to crow no matter what you do. And he's going to be a rooster no matter what. So enjoy him!
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, guys!

    Boy, I don't know how mothers can stand to watch their children grow up and move away. That would do me in. It's a good thing I don't have real children. HAHA.

    It's so hard to let go. But I feel I must. If he doesn't like it, or there are problems, I can always move him back into the solarium, I suppose.

    And if the solarium is freed up, I could raise little chicks in there!
     
  6. I feel dumb asking but : what is a solarium?!

    why was he in the solarium in the first place? was he raised there and you were reluctant to let him go with the hens?
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My solarium is a mini Plant Room. It has a huge window, so the plants can get a lot of sun, but I keep curtains drawn at night.

    I hatched my first batch of chicks in September. My Barred Rock hen sat on them. They were not her eggs. My little roo was the last to hatch, and she pecked him badly, almost killed him, and so did a sibling. I scooped him up and let him rest on my bare tummy until I could get help setting up a brooder box.

    I tried to reintroduce him to the flock numerous times, but StepMama charged and tried to kill him, every time, until he grew into a lovely rooster, and finally she decided he was okay. He was much gentler and tamer than his rooster brothers.

    Also, it's been cold, so I wasn't sure how well acclimated he was to the outdoors for cold evenings, so I was scared to just put him out with the hens.

    But he seems to have done fine last night.

    Oh, it broke my heart when I went to check on him last night and the hens, and I said, "Baby, are you okay?" And he slowly came walking over to me, knowing it was time for bed, ready to go with me to the solarium. But I got a feeling of, "Ahhh, Mom. Do I HAVE TO go with you? I'd rather stay here..." He is crowing now in the coop.

    I guess I have finally cut the umbilical cord? Maybe I am a success as a parent?
     
  8. AHDCST

    AHDCST Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] My chicks are hand raised also. I leave them inside in the brooder box until they are about 5-6 weeks old. I then move them into a pen outside with a light on at night. They do just fine. Your little rooster is supposed to be with the hens. He will not only a um "service" them, he will also keep order among the hens and protect the hens, with his life if need be. It is hard to let go but you will feel better when you see how well the flock does with him staying with the hens. Good luck!
     
  9. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Ahdcst. I'm not so sure my boy is a good protector of the hens. The other day when two awful yappy dogs showed up, and chased my girls who were free-ranging, and scared them so badly (they were still panting heavily an hour afterwards-- I was so worried!), he did fly up on the fence and consider entering the fray, but I think he must have feared ruffling his beautiful feathers (does he suffer from vanity ?-- haha), because he let them fight it out themselves.

    I was rather relieved, because I sure didn't want to lose him on top of the others! He might have pecked the dogs' eyes out, because he does have a very sharp beak. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the eggs were hard-shelled the following day. I had figured they would be soft-shelled, due to the fright.

    I was rather shocked that my boy did not try harder to protect the girls, but maybe he realized they would have turned even meaner had he tried to intervene with rooster testosterone in the mix? He is quite intelligent...

    He seemed awfully happy when he came out of the coop this morning after his first sleepover with the girls. You should have heard the wing-flapping. I had assumed he'd be the first one to exit the coop-- but no, it was his StepMama. I believe she is the #1 Alpha Chicken, still. HAHA.
     

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