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Looking to add another rooster and some hens....need advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by michelle43, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. michelle43

    michelle43 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2011
    Hi Everyone-

    My flock is 8 months old and currently consists of:
    Large Fowl Hens -7 barred rock, 1 buff orpington, 1 easter egger, 1 barnevelder, 1 salmon faverolle
    Bantam Hens - 1 black frizzle, 1 black 'frazzle', and 1 buff brahma
    Large Fowl Rooster - 1 barred rock

    I would love to add another rooster and a couple more hens, but I don't know how to go about introducing a new 'flock' to my current flock. I live in Vermont and am looking to hatch some 'cold weather hardy breed' eggs. I've just built my home-made incubator but I want to make sure what accommodations I will need to make before I hatch out any chicks. All advice is greatly appreciated.

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
  3. michelle43

    michelle43 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2011
    Thank You!
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Buff's article is great. I often recommend it.

    You can add roosters to a flock that has roosters, but they will fight. Sometimes it is a fight to the death, but sometimes they are able to work out an accommodation that one is dominant, the other is his assistant, and they form a good partnership in taking care of the flock. If they are raised in the flock, either as father-son or as brothers (no actual blood relationship is necessary) this usually goes a lot less violently, but it can still be fairly violent. If they are two adult stranger roosters, it will be violent but not always deadly. I do consider adding an adult rooster to a flock with an adult rooster as the most risky of all integration.

    People integrate successfully all the time, but there are always potential risks. In any integration, the more room you have for them to get way from each other, the better your odds of success.

    In your case, I see two options to add a rooster, assuming you want to keep your current one. You can get another adult rooster and let them fight it out. It may or may not work out.

    Or you could introduce the young rooster to the flock before the young rooster's hormones kick in. That can be as young as 12 weeks so you don't have a lot of time. Integrate all the new chicks together. That way he is basically raised in the flock in a father-son relationship. The mature rooster will still dominate him when his hormones start acting up, but with mine that involves a lot more chasing and bluffing than actual fighting. This assumes the younger rooster has enough room to run away. If space is tight, this is risky. If space is tight, any method is risky.

    Many people recommend you wait until they are the same size as the adults to integrate, and many people say that is 16 weeks. Mine are never the same size as the adults at 16 weeks. With pecking order, I find that size is not a very important criteria anyway. The maturity, personality, and spirit of the chicken are what really count. Mature chickens will intimidate immature chickens, regardless of size. In mature flocks, the dominant rooster is not always the larger rooster. The dominant hen is not always the larger hen.

    I free range mine so they have all kinds of room. That makes a difference. If you have enough room, you can start the integration process after they have fully feathered out. I keep mine where they can see each other and let them free range in shifts. One day, the adults free range. The nest day the juveniles get a turn. After a week or so of this, I let them out together. The two groups still go to separate sleeping quarters but they do have access to each other. The young ones stay well away from the adults. I do provide different eating and drinking places so the older ones cannot keep the younger ones from eating and drinking, although since they are free ranging, eating is not all that important. They can always forage.

    The younger they are when you do this, the more risk there is. If you are tight for space, this is really risky, but so is any integration. I don't have a chicken that goes out of its way to kill weaker chickens. Some flocks have those, usually a hen.

    A third way to do this is to put the eggs under a broody hen and let her raise them with the flock, but it is hard to get a broody hen when you want one.

    Hope this helps a bit.
  5. michelle43

    michelle43 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2011
    Thanks so much for that great information. I have plenty of space and I do currently free-range my flock, (when the snow is not falling and temps are high enough). I think I will try the free range method you suggested, alternating the free ranging between the adults/juv's. Thanks so much for the advice. I'll update everyone this summer. I am getting 15 'rare' color chicken eggs to incubate the end of March.

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