When can I let new rooster out with the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Petra Pancake, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last Friday I got a Japanese Bantam rooster for my 6 hen mixed breed flock. He's been together with them in the coop since (quarantine wasn't practical), getting used to them. As he's young and smaller than the hens, he hasn't assumed any leadership position yet. He keeps out of the hen wars, roosts alone at night and just around feeding time he joins the others after a while and pecks his way through to the food. I haven't let them out of the coop into the run since because I'm worried that he might just fly away and not come back. After all he's new, not really integrated yet and he's an excellent flyer (tried to escape when I bought him) and my run is only partially covered on top. Would it be safe to let him out together with them after about 6 days or a week? I'm just beginning to feel sorry for the hens that are cooped up all these days because of him and I know it's not an ideal arrangement.
     
  2. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would keep him confined for at least two weeks. You can let the hens out and keep him locked in. It's really up to you. I typically raise my chicks in a chicken tractor that has a small coop with an enclosed outside run. I let them out to free range once they are big enough (about 10-12 weeks) to run away from the other chickens/predators. Most of the time, they return with little problem to the coop at night. If your girls go back at a particular time, you could meet them at the coop and throw food in to get them into the locked area for the night. Once your rooster knows where home is, he should return nightly. I wouldn't turn him out in less than two weeks, though.
     
  3. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @Peeps61 Maybe I'll try that.The difficult part is letting the hens out and keeping him inside. My hens usually storm out as soon as I open the door and he might just run along with them - it would be tricky to slam the door shut at the right moment. Also, food and water are inside only as by recommendations because we have an avian flu problem going on here. So the hens would be cut off from that. Maybe I can find a way to trap him at least for a few hours a day in a small side part of my coop, it's irregularly shaped and has a sort of narrow "corridor" to one side. My hens by the way have no problem going back into the coop at sunset - they do that on their own without any help.
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    Well, since the hens go back in on their own, my suggestion would be to keep them in another few days, then see how it goes and let him out, close to dusk (about an hour before). That way, he won't have time to go far, and can follow the girls back home. Once he know where home is, even if he doesn't roost with them, he should return.
     

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