What happens in a flock when there's a new rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Intileo, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Intileo

    Intileo In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2008
    st augustine florida
    We have an aggressive Ameraucana rooster who, despite making our lives difficult as chicken caretakers, nevertheless does a really good job with his flock. He's fertile, protective and nice to his hens. We've never had trouble with predators taking our hens even though we have many hawks.

    However we've come to the point where his behaviour towards us and our son is very hard to live with, and we'd like to swap him out for a Buff Orpington or Barred Rock. My son does 4H with chickens and we'd like him to be able to show a rooster, or at least breed BOs or BRs and rear and show the babies.

    We've had an offer from someone who'd like to exchange our Ameraucana for their four young Barred Rock roosters. I thought we'd take them and see which one would suit us best, and then rehome the other three.

    What can I expect to see happen when we take him out of the flock? Will the hens pine for him? Lay fewer eggs? Panic? Fight?

    What will the hens do when (after quarantining them) we introduce four young (3 and a half month old) roosters to the flock? We'd do it gradually, as per BYC member suggestions. Will they flip out? Can I expect one rooster to rise to the top as alpha? I was thinking that if I brought all four of them in together, they could protect each other from the hens, until they grew into their places, and then we could see which rooster was doing best with the flock, and keep him. The roosters have been reared together, so they shouldn't fight... right?

    I don't know if getting rid of the aggressive rooster will prove to be a mistake. What if his aggression is a small price to pay for how well he manages his flock in other respects... I'd hate to get rid of him only to find he'd been really exceptionally good at his job. IF ONLY HE WEREN'T SUCH A MEAN YOU KNOW WHAT!!!!!!! Arrrrgh.

    He's really beautiful too.

    What do you all think?
  2. william9792

    william9792 Songster

    Nov 23, 2008
    graham, nc
    go to the search and do a search on rooster red and he has a good way to turn a bad roo to a good roo
  3. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    Generally, if the cockerels are younger than the hens in the flock, they will be the lowest on the pecking order.

    Once they assert their dominance, they will get along with their duties, but you may notice some "screeching" from the hens when the males first mount them. They will be "calling" for their rooster to come to the rescue. But, once the hens realize he's not coming back, they will generally calm down and get into the new groove.
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Sometimes a new roo will get the crap beat out of him.

    I have a new roo who can only catch and moutn two of the 22 hens.

    If he gets frisky with anyone else, he has to RUN!
  5. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    I've had hens kill young roosters before, but I didn't gradually introduce them either.
  6. minifarm8

    minifarm8 Songster

    Aug 2, 2008
    Hagerstown, MD
    Not sure what would happen with a new rooster, but I won't keep an aggressive one. I want to be able to enjoy working with the critters and feel safe letting my kids help out.
    Luckily, our Ameraucana rooster does a great job with the girls but has a healthy respect for us as well.
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    We put an older China Game with our hens a couple of weeks ago.

    Our big Black Sex link beat the crap out of him, but then he almost killed our California White hen.

    He's been re homed.
  8. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    We lost the rooster for our flock of 22 SLW hens. I transplanted another rooster (GLW) in from the other coop. They accepted him as if he had been there all along. He even roosted in their coop on the following evening, without having to be moved from the old coop (they all free range together during the day) He used to be the lower ranking rooster in his old coop. Now, he is king of the barn yard. Seems like with all his new ladies to take care of, he has something to fight for.[​IMG]
  9. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Here is the link for Rooster-Red:


    He has some very good advice on taming roosters. I think that you should give some of these suggestions a try before you get rid of your current roo. Your current rooster at least takes good care of the hens. You don't know what you will get with the young roos, also it may take many months before they are at the same maturity as your current roo!!!

  10. Intileo

    Intileo In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2008
    st augustine florida
    Thanks for your replies. I've just followed up the Rooster Red link and see that I already read it in the early summer of last year when El Jefe (the bad boy rooster) started giving us problems.

    I do pick him up, and so does my husband. I've hung him down by the legs. It doesn't seem to register in his brain though, beyond the moment when I do it.

    I just think he's a particularly aggressive rooster. He was never easy to catch as a newborn chick. Always very hard to pick up, very flighty, acting like the leader of the rebel troops. It didn't surprise me that he became the rooster (cos obviously when he and the other 23 were babies I couldn't tell his gender) because he was really different from the others- wild, flighty and uncooperative.

    I think if I'd done more at the crucial coming-into-his-instincts phase we could perhaps -perhaps- have curbed his behaviour. We didn't know about roosters then, and didn't see the signs that his behaviour was escalating.

    He's the kind of rooster who when I walk into the hen house will attack me while I feed the hens. I can pick him up if I catch him by the tail, but he's heavy and it's a big kerfuffle catching him, and then I have to work holding him, which is a drag. When I'm in the chicken house he sits outside and crows and crows and crows in the window at me. I shove him off his window perch onto the ground outside every time, and moments later there he is again. Crow crow crow.

    He invariably attacks me if I pick up a hen. At night when the hens take themselves to bed, we do a patrol to make sure they all made it home. Sometimes one will get marooned in the goat pen and be confused as to how to get back. If I pick her up and carry her back to the hen house, El Jefe will leave his perch to come and attack me as I carry the hen, although he'll then chivalrously escort his hen back inside the house, clucking at her as though saying: 'How many times have I told you to come home before dark!'

    He's really a mix of kindness to his birds and meanness to all things human.

    Ok, this one really peed me off: so I went out while the hens were free roaming and took them some nice garden stuff and seeds as a treat. He hadn't attacked me for a couple of weeks at that point, and I thought I had won the Alpha Wars. I wasn't worried, I wasn't afraid. I was in shorts and bare feet. I walked away from the flock across the garden. Suddenly I see a movement at my 4 o'clock. It's him. He's doing a huge sprinting arc around me from behind, and he sweeps around in front of me and slashes my shins. A six inch gash, and he was NOT going to be caught after that. I was unarmed- no rake, no hose set on 'jet', and he wasn't going to run from me so I could catch his tail and pick that drumstick candidate up. Not fun.

    Wretched bird. Sorry, we've really tried with him but his aggression never goes away, no matter how many times I pick him up, and he's too much of a constant threat to make being round the chickens fun. But we will miss him. He's become a bit of a legend. Aunt Betty, a neighbour way over, has a $20 bounty out on him if he gets out her way. I just want him to be able to put his talents to work in protecting a flock that's getting picked off by hawks. I've seen him fight hawks off. He's formidable. He should be allowed to let his aggression go to really good use on predators, not on the hands that feed him.

    Keep coming with opinions about the effect on the flock of changing a rooster, thanks!

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