When new hens can join the rooster/flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Allimo, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Allimo

    Allimo New Egg

    Mar 18, 2016
    I'm brand new to chickens (like two months into owning chicks), and I can't seem to find any information on what age the hens should be before they are outside with the rooster.

    Right now I have seven chicks that are going on 7 weeks old, and a full grown rooster. I believe the hens are ready to move out into the coop/run in the yard, but I don't know that it's safe to leave them with the rooster. Do I need to lock him in a smaller coop until the hens are fully grown?

    When can the hens and the rooster all be loose in the yard together?

    I have a second set of 10 chicks that are coming up on two weeks old, when can they join the flock, and when they join the hens, do I need to pull the rooster again?

    The short version is "How old do chicks need to be before they can safely be around a rooster?"
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    It depends on the rooster, some will look out for them and some won't. I would initially keep him separately then see how he behaves around then after they are a few months.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you have other older female birds(hens) too.....or just the full grown rooster?
    Note for communication clarity: female chickens are not called hens until they are one year old.

    Integration of new birds is not about age and gender, but about territory.
    Most adult birds will attack most new birds to protect their space and resources(feed/water).

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    If the rooster has no other sexual outlet, you'll likely want to wait until the females are 4ish months before letting them together.

    How old is the rooster?

    You can always try it and closely supervise them. My mature roosters won't touch an immature pullet, but they're also in a flock with mature hens they can breed, so they're not frustrated. Some mature roosters probably wouldn't touch a young pullet, some would just see "female" and be all over them. Younger males (cockerels) would also be more likely to try to mate an immature female.

    Your second set of birds should be easier to introduce, as he'll already have the older females to spread the lovin' around and shouldn't force himself on them.

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