roosters out, hens in, but how?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crabbychicken, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. crabbychicken

    crabbychicken Hatching

    Jul 13, 2014
    I teach, and as part of a science observation activity, my grade level bought a few dozen eggs and incubators, watched (some of) them hatch, and observed how the chicks behaved and grew for a couple of months. We found homes for most of them at the end of the school year, and I ended up keeping three.

    They're all healthy and well-behaved birds of uncertain lineage, and we'd happily keep them all except that it turns out that 2 of them are roosters, much to the chagrin of the neighbors who have heard them crow the last few mornings. (It's also against the law to keep roosters in the city limits of Tampa, so there's that.)

    So we're going to have to find new homes for the roosters, but we'd like to keep the hen and find another hen or two to rebuilt the flock. Any advice on how to do this? We have a potential new home for the boys, but we're open to other suggestions, and we don't want to do anything until we decide how many hens to get, where to get them, and how to introduce them to our remaining hen, who is extremely mild-mannered to the point that we're concerned that an aggressive bird may bully here.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Oh, there are so many variables!

    Here's few 'rules of thumb':

    Same size birds helps.

    -Medical quarantine should be considered, especially if integrating adult birds from dubious sources.

    -Good to divide coop and run by fencing for a couple weeks before physical contact is allowed. Good to have a couple enclosures for separation if needed. Large wire dog crates can work well for this.

    -Lots of room, places to hide/get up and away from bullies, and multiple feed/water stations all help.

    -Pecking order will happen, it's the way they roll, as long as no blood is shed and no one is getting trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. If you have to separate then reintroduce the pecking order process starts over. Your docile hen may show another side with the cockerels gone and infiltrators present. It can seem quite violent at first, until you get used to how they dominate and/or things settle down. It can take a couple weeks for everyone to learn their places in the pecking order.

    Not much help maybe, but that should get you started.

    If you've time to read, I've found reading others' experiences helps greatly as no two situations are the same, you can glean tips and tricks form here and there that might apply to your setup and situation.
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