Rooster Introduction Problem?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClareScifi, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    I took my 15 1/2 week old rooster over to a woman who is wanting one for her 5 hens today. I was so hoping it would work out...

    All the hens but one got along fine with him. But wouldn't you know, her pride and joy, a Welsummer, her only winter egg layer, laid into him. She had his white feathers in her beak after she attacked him.

    My boy sidled up to the girls and crowed a lot. He was such a gentleman, and the others seemed to like him.

    But because her pride and joy did not, she thought it best not to take him.

    Her hens are about 5 months old.

    What are the odds that all 5 hens would get along with a newly introduced rooster, without some feathers flying?

    Her hen that is the meanest got along just fine with him. That is the dominant hen, but she didn't have a problem with my boy.

    I am taking a different rooster over to meet her hens this weekend.

    Do you think the Welsummer's flying into my boy could have been a sign of sexual interest? Or do you think it is a sign they were sexually incompatible, or what?

    All feedback will be appreciated.

    So disappointed,

    Clare
     
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,723
    13
    183
    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    It was probably the other hen trying to dominate the new bird. Did the rooster try to fight back or run? Sometimes a small face off can not be avoided when adding new birds. They have to work out the pecking order.

    If the person wants a rooster, I would introduce him to the hens while he was in a cage/pet crate. I would take him over there and leave him in a cage or pet carrier where her hens could see him, but not hurt him, for a few days, and then try letting him out with the hens.

    That way they all can see him and get use to his presence. If they are calm, let him out when supervised and let them work it out. I would only interfere if blood is being drawn.
     
  3. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    8,676
    1,112
    391
    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    You CANNOT just toss a strange bird into a flock without someone taking issue with the situation. The hens that were calm today may peck at him tomorrow. It takes TIME. The new bird(s) need to be separated within sight for a few days before introduction. Even then a new young roo needs some time to establish dominance over the hens. If they are older then it may take until he is mature. It will involve fighting with the higher ranked hens, and human interference with the whole process will just draw it out. Putting a different cockerel in with them will result in the same problem.

    The Welsummer is the lowest ranking hen. She will take him on first, then the rest up the line to the top hen.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  4. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    3,788
    12
    221
    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    I agree with keesmom - you cannot just put new chickens (rooster or hens) together and not potentially have fighting ... serious pecking/fighting.

    I would also find a way to put him in eyesight of the hens without them being able to get to him for a few days; then... take him into the coop and put him on the roost AFTER DARK (when all the hens are sleeping). Often times when they wake up in the morning together there are less issues...

    BUT... you need to make sure you are there the next morning to watch for serious pecking and problems so you can rescue him if needed.

    Good luck.
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    Yes, I tried to explain to her the importance of the initial separation bit, but she thought just putting him in with her girls would be best, with us supervising. She said she had no fence or wire to use as a barrier, and I have no crate/cage big enough. Where would you buy one that wouldn't cost a fortune?

    I sure hope I haven't introduced disease to my flock by taking him over there and then bringing him back home!
     
  6. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    Also, it's awfully cold here, down to 13 F last night, and I worry about taking him over in a cage or crate and leaving him all by himself in there. He might get lonely or cold, as he's used to snuggling with 5 coop mates at night. Winter seems a bad time of year to be trying this introduction thing.

    One person asked whether my roo ran away or tried to fight back with the Welsummer who attacked him. He tried to fight back, although she was more vicious. I found his white feathers in her beak. The woman wouldn't admit that her hen picked the fight with my boy, but she sure did. HAHA. His testosterone may have scared her into attacking him, though. Who knows?

    I reached down to break up the fight, planning to grab my boy, but grabbed the hen, instead. I don't know what the woman thought of that. It was easier to just grab the first one I could get in my hands, before more feathers flew. The hen was quite docile and didn't seem to mind. I don't think the owner minded. She knew I was just trying to break up the fight. Then she grabbed and caught my boy for me when it was time to go, because she was closer. He was very gentle with her, too.

    It might be that she doesn't think my boy is pretty enough for her girls. Who knows how people really think, what the real issue is? But I think it was mostly she was afraid one or the other would get hurt.

    But I don't know that I want to leave my creamy, dreamy #2 rooster over there in a crate/cage this cold time of year. I think it would be hard on his spirits. And now I'm afraid to leave him there without protection of a crate, either! Is there anywhere one could buy a nice, winter-insulated chicken crate?
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    Also, would there be any advantage to the roosters to keeping two roosters who were raised together and get along well, together, rather than splitting them up and sending them their separate ways, as long as there are enough hens at the one location for both roosters to mate with? Or is it always best for a rooster to be the one and only rooster at any given location?

    Might the roosters look out for each other or work as a team in protecting the hens, if the roosters grew up get along? Would it add some comfort to the stress of their relocation, sticking together?
     
  8. kareninthesun

    kareninthesun Chillin' With My Peeps

    602
    6
    121
    Jul 1, 2011
    check out thrift stores. Or sometimes feed stores have them and allow borrowing if you spend alot of time there purchasing feed and such. I had to rehome four roosters which a friend took in. She has a big coop, runs that are secured, and lets them free range also. They have roosters too. I was worried since mine were under 6 months old, but what they did was let mine in the run, and if they wanted to free range, they could. All the hens chased them down. They scurried to the lower branches of the trees, but kept coming down to eat and slowly get to know everybody. Within a week they hens started following them like they were rock stars, the older roosters couldn't care less, and they're doing fine. Happy. Since the four I brought knew each other, they bonded together until they were comfortable in their new surroundings. They have even set up the same routine at the end of the day as they had when here, one stands guard looking out, one convinces the stragglers to go inside, the other two take turns being point protectors, casing the perimeter of the coop. I don't think it is a good idea to rehome just one bird at a time in an environment where there is a bunch of birds. Good luck!
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have several roosters. They all get along, as there is a dominant roo. He has a "second lieutenant" and the rest of the roosters have their own little harems of girls within the flock. Carl has "King's Rights" to ALL the hens, but the other roosters do not have rights to any but "their own" hens. Carl is often on the roost with another rooster near him, as well as all the senior hens.

    It's a fallacy that there can only be one rooster in a flock. Now, your mileage may vary - it depends entirely upon the personalities of the roosters! (I did have to cull one cockerel who was mean.) But eleven roosters co-exist in my fairly large flock.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!
     
  10. kareninthesun

    kareninthesun Chillin' With My Peeps

    602
    6
    121
    Jul 1, 2011
    I'm jealous! Miss my roosters! Some day I'd love to have the room to watch how these play out as they all mature through the years.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by