questions about rooster integration and ratio to hens


8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
Portland, OR
I have read a few threads about the integration of hens to a flock but my situation is a little bit more complicated and I was curious if there were others out there who have dealt with this. I have posted similar in the past without any solid answer so excuse me if you've read this problem and I'm repeating myself.

I currently have 12 chickens, 11 hens and 1 rooster. They turn 20 weeks old on Tuesday. My rooster is a barred rock and he's been great, sometimes he gets a little physical with the hens but he's never attacked me or my family and is very protective of his hens. This is the part where it gets tricky, I have 15 more chickens on the way but they will arrive 6 weeks apart. This means there will be a time where I'll have 3 different sets of differently aged chickens. I've heard you shouldn't introduce chickens until they are nearly full-grown. They say sexing of chickens is 90% or so and if I get 15 hens I'm thinking I have pretty good odds of getting one more rooster, if not more. Will I ever be able to introduce my roosters to each other or will their age differences make them impossible to integrate?

I have a couple ideas. I was thinking of building some kind of chicken tractor I could put the new ones in while my regular flock free ranges... with the idea being they would kind of see each other around and not be startled at a new chicken in the flock.

Another thing I was wondering about was integration of the 2 sets of baby chicks that come 6 weeks apart. Is it worth building a brooder with a wire divider down the middle so the week old baby chicks can see the six week old chicks or would I inevitably just have to try and re-integrate them again at a later point when they were nearly full grown?

I really would like a second rooster, hopefully no more than three and I'm open to any ideas you may have on peacefully integrating them to my flock. I know it can be very dependent on the rooster and it's breed but according to mypetchicken all the breeds I got were supposedly friendly and docile, none were labeled as aggressive. Also my current rooster is well mannered. Well thanks in advance!

edit: Completely forgot the rooster:hen ratio. I will have around 30-35 chickens by next Spring and was curious what you guys feel the maximum roosters I should have is.
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I know a lot of people think about this stuff, but if you keep in mind that there is ALWAYs going to be a period where they establish the pecking order, and don't freak out if they start fighting a little, then it's not really so hard. If I were in your situation, I would try to combine the two younger sets of birds first... there is safety in numbers. Once they've established their pecking order, and relaxed, then move them in with the older birds. Do it at night, when the older birds are roosting, to help minimize fighting. I've had fairly good luck in putting 6+ younger birds in with my older birds with little to no fighting at all. Of course, I play musical cages with my birds from a young age, getting them used to being with new birds all the time, so they don't think anything of it when they go outside. Just be sure to do it at a time when you can watch them for a while, just in case someone decides to buck the system and really go after someone else, and check them often. But with that number of birds, it shouldn't be hard to just move them in at night.
You'll also find that once they're in a group, they'll stay in a group and hang out together.

You don't HAVE to have a rooster with your hens, so if you only want one or two, that's perfectly all right. But if you want fertile eggs, and lots of them, usually 1 rooster to 5-7 hens is sufficient. But the more roosters, the more unrest there will be.
Good luck.
I put my 5 week old hens/roos in with the grown ups every spring/fall..... what i do is place a board in front of my coop just high enough that only the little guys can get under it....... they spend alot of time hiding out, but they learn real quick the way things are...... i have 15 hens and 2 roo's...... your rooster won't usually worry about a younger roo until he starts doing what roosters do,, then he'll learn to stay away from no. 1..... don't over think it to much.... just let mother nature do what she does..... if that don't work, eat any trouble makers!!!!!

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