New 8 month old rooster to flock of 15 hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RunnerChick, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. RunnerChick

    RunnerChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2012
    I have just picked up a new Brahma X Australorp rooster, as I have lost my two previous Silkie roosters to predation. They both did their job defending the flock, despite my sadness to lose them. I can't wait to introduce this new guy to the ladies so I can let them out more. He is 8 months old, and so are all the hens. They are a mixed flock of brown and green egg layers, all standard sized except for one lone Silkie hen left.

    The questions are: 1) How long should I quarantine him? Minimum, please.
    He is alone in a giant breed dog crate, away from the coop. He seems a bit lonely and out of sorts at the moment, but I just picked him up 1 day ago. I'm worried that he'll get stressed being alone, but I also don't want to kill my flock. My flock has consisted largely been hatchery birds, kept in a clean coop, with plenty of free-ranging space. No disease that I'm aware of, but I'm doing no deworming, etc. There is DE in the nest boxes, but I've never seen a mite or anything. I introduced some Silkies from a friends flock (not all hatchery birds), and got lucky, I guess, as I had no problems.

    The farm he comes from has a larger flock, but the guy mostly hatches his own. Everyone I saw seemed healthy, there was lots of space for the birds, and he seemed to know what he's doing. The rooster is bright eyed, clean, with no evidence of mites that I can see.

    2) How should I introduce him to the ladies when the time is appropriate? Just put him in the coop at night? Does he need a few nights in the coop like the hens do to learn where he lives now?

    And, yes, I realize he's not going to be able to 100% protect them. I have a dog that keeps the fox away pretty well, and the hawks when he sees them, but since it has been cold/snowy (and the dog is inside), the hawks have really taken a shine to my flock. I'm ready for someone to be prepared to keep an eye out. There are plenty of places for the ladies to run if need be. I only free-range them when I'm home and otherwise they are in a relatively well-protected enclosure.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    Question 1) my absolute minimum quarantine from a reputable breeder would be 2 weeks. This is my personal choice though as many would probably push for a month for any bird.

    Question 2) I would probably move the crate into the run for a few days to let them see him but not really interact. That way they know him a bit when they wake up one morning with him in the coop. You can also spot potential trouble this way too. If one or two hens won't stop challenging him at the crate then you know who to watch when you mix them.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
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    My minimum quarantine is two weeks, too. Three - four weeks makes me feel better, though.

    When I've introduced a rooster to hens, I just put them in the coop at night after the hens are asleep and let them all wake up together. The hens will chase him around a bit, but he should assert himself soon. I take a lot more time introducing hens to the flock. Introducing roosters has been a lot easier. In fact, this past time, I was introducing two new roosters at once. I tried to put them both in the separate pen, but my big flock rooster and a few of the top hens flew over the fence to meet them anyway--and they all have clipped wings, and I had no idea that they could fly! After that, I just opened the fence and let them all out into the flock. A bit of challenging the existing roo, but no problems from the hens.

    I think the most important thing is having enough room that he can get away if necessary. Make sure they have access to a run at the very least.
     

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