Something took off with my rooster this morning

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Specialk1979, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. Specialk1979

    Specialk1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    We are new chicken keepers. We had a small flock of four silver laced Wyandotte hens and one rooster. They free range during the day and are 27 weeks old. Today I heard a bunch of clucking and went out to find my rooster missing, just feathers left on the other side of the fence [​IMG] so I've locked the rest up in the run, but what next? We really want to let them continue free ranging but can't lose the rest. We were planning on letting them hatch a few extra chicks next year, now that can't happen. Should we keep them locked up for a few day? How can we add another rooster in? We were really lucky that he was such a nice rooster and was a real gentleman with the ladies. We live in NH and winter is right around the corner so I'm not sure how we could quickly raise another. Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Free ranging is a wonderful idea, but in reality, it means you will lose chickens from time to time. I started out that way, and lost 3 chickens, 9 ducks and 2 guineas the first summer. That was too much for me to handle, so I used electric net fencing to create a large chicken yard that they can enjoy and still be protected from most predators. I've only had 1 loss since putting up the fencing, one of my roosters flew over the fence to challenge a predator, and was taken. Even with the setup I have now, I still limit their free range time to the afternoons / evenings when we are home. I think it is a good balance of safety for the chickens, and access to open area.

    If you can get another adult rooster, that will be easier to get into the flock. If you start over with a chick, you should not introduce him until he is full size. Without a rooster one of your hens will assume leadership of the flock, and may not want to give that position up easily to a young rooster. Check Craigslist, people are looking to re-home roosters on a regular basis. With any luck, you can find an adult of the same breed.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Specialk1979

    Specialk1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2014
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    Thank you! I am looking at craigslist now. If I find one, how should I handle the introductions?
     
  4. nab58

    nab58 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First you need to quarantine him for 4 weeks to be sure he's not bringing disease into your flock.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...often-underestimated-part-of-raising-chickens

    Then you move him to an area where the flock can see him but not have contact. After a week or so, try letting him out when the flock is free ranging. There will be conflict just don't let it escalate to injury. I introduced 2 pullets and a cockerel to my 6 hens this summer. It was dicey for a while but has worked out. The key is giving them space and a place to hide if necessary.
     
  5. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I keep them in side by side cages so they can all see each other but are separated by a common wire wall. After a few days of this, I put the new one (or ones) in the roost at night, when it is dark. They wake up and there are new flock mates. There will be squabbling, as the pecking order has to be re-established. But as long as no blood is drawn, it should settle down in a day or two. Good luck, hope you find a good roo for your girls.
     
  6. Specialk1979

    Specialk1979 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much! I was able to find a rooster, same breed and just a week or two older! Will pick him up Saturday morning and begin the introductions! Fingers crossed!
     
  7. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's good news! Hope everything goes well. The biggest issue may be his reaction to you.
     
  8. Ponyfeather

    Ponyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck, sadly it sounds like you LOST a good rooster since he was taken protecting his girls. I hope the new one is just a good. Even if you loose roosters, look it this way you can always offer another rooster a new home. Roosters always need homes, I'd have one but they aren't allowed here. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  9. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sunny side up :)
    Could have been a fox. Foxes will take the whole chicken and run and hide to eat it elsewhere. Once they get the taste of chicken, they will be back for more.
    I have had foxes take chickens in broad daylight. I usually use a live trap and eggs. Foxes LOVE eggs. We've got several over the years.
     
  10. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I really hope you will be quarantining this bird before you begin introductions. It would be very sad to introduce him immediately only to find out later he has brought along some nasty disease to the rest of your flock.
     
    1 person likes this.

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