1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Separating young roosters from hens and integrating young birds with older flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by daharja, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I have 17 chooks (males and females from one big incubation) all doing well in one enclosure, born early February, about 8 of which I'm guessing now to be roosters (6 definite, 2 maybes). So far they all seem to be getting along fine, but a few questions (I'm new to this - first time breeding, although I've kept chooks a few years now):

    - Do the males have to be separated from the females just yet, or can they stay together a while longer? We're intending to butcher the males for meat (Barnevelders) and keep the females for our new flock (turning our flock over) as egg layers.

    Obviously, we'd like to keep the males as long as possible to get them as close to full size as possible. Also, at this stage I'm still not certain about gender on a couple of the smaller ones, and don't want to "accidentally" butcher females.

    My ideal would be to keep all birds in together if possible, for ease of feeding, cleaning etc. But if need be, we have housing for separation of males and females.

    - Can the males continue to be kept together in one group until they reach full size/weight? I don't want any of them to injure one another, and so far they all seem fine together. But if they're going to fight and get hurt, I'd rather slaughter early to avoid suffering.

    - At what age can I integrate younger birds with remaining older flock members? We're culling most of the older flock, but would like to keep our blue egg layers, and put the new birds in with the old blue eggers. What age should young birds be before it is safe to do this? (I've put new birds into an existing flock before, but only when full grown).

    Thanks so much to anyone who can answer these questions!


    Leanne in New Zealand.

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    I would suggest keeping them together until the roosters start 'bothering' the hens. At that time it will be quite evident which are roosters and all may be housed together or processed if mature enough. I would wait on introducing the yong birds to your etablished flock until they are the same size as the adult birds.

    Visited Dunedin seveeral years ago - neat little town!
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by