When to add a replacement for the mature rooster

Johntodd

Chirping
Mar 3, 2016
66
13
82
west TN area
We just had 5 baby chicks hatch. There is a possibility that a rooster is in there.

Mother Nature overlaps the young and old so the old can teach the young, etc.

My main rooster is 1 year and 8 months old, and doing a fine job.

My question is: How old should HE be before introducing replacement candidates? I want him to train and teach the young buck his job like out in nature, so that when the main rooster dies or goes to freezer camp, the young rooster can step in, and the cycle continues.

Or do I need to cull any roosters from this year's hatch?

If all chicks survive, we will have a total of 14 chickens. That's 8 mature hens and 1 mature rooster right now, plus the 5 unknown chicks, all in a 3000 sq ft run that gets swapped with another 3000 sq ft run from time to time.

Thanks!
-John
 
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PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,293
406
Conway SC
The young might be accepted while they are young, but when they reach adult-hood they Might not be liked to good. Mine gets changed ever 2 to 2 1/2 years just like the hens.
 

speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 3, 2007
78,798
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That sort of depends on your goals, really. You may never be able to introduce another rooster in with him, not even his own young sons. I never could. Mine would always begin to attack his sons when they began showing interest in the girls. And that goes for several roosters I've tried to create a "rooster team" with. My Delaware injured a son of his neurologically and that damage done eventually killed him. One brother chased the other for almost a year, until that one was tired of it and turned to fight, giving the more dominant brother internal injuries that he succumbed to three weeks later. So, it's may not be in the cards to let the older guy teach the younger guy.

You could raise up a promising guy or two separately so that when your rooster dies or you decide to cull him, you'll have a replacement. A lot of what they do is instinctual, not actually "taught" by another.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
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Conway SC
John, I have always had at least 3 pens----one for the 2 year old, one for the one year old and one for the young chicks. When the young(6 months) start laying I sell the 2+ year old---then the 1+ year old become the oldest----then next season I get more chicks and they are raised until they start laying----then the oldest are sold, year after year. I never have 3 year old or older chickens. This means I get eggs from 2 pens---when one of those pens slow down on egg laying for a few weeks usually the other pen is laying good. In many years I have never been out of eggs doing it this way. Just My Set-up
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
81,915
93,119
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SW Michigan
My Coop
Will depend on the cock/erels themselves, if they can work out a balance of power.
Might be fine, might be a blood bath, only time will tell.
Have a cage/enclosure ready to put the other male if they get too ugly.

Nice run space, especially if there's places to 'hide' .....but how big is your coop?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,473
15,156
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Southeast Louisiana
I agree it is instinctive and not taught. In nature a young buck does not grow up in the flock and eventually take over. In nature a mature rooster drives the cockerels out of the flock and forces them to live outside the flock. If the young one can, when he matures enough he carves out his own territory and attracts his own hens. Or he fights with an old rooster and defeats him, taking over his hens.

If you have enough room you can have two or more roosters sharing the same general area sometimes, but they need enough room to have their own territory. I have seen two roosters co-exist several times but this was in a total free range situation, not confined into a pen.

Once I even saw two roosters that seemed to prefer each other's company, they hung with each other more than with the hens. They knew which one was boss, I occasionally saw minor skirmishes, and the hens were all laying fertile eggs, it's just that a lot of the time I saw them with each other instead of with their own harem. It can really be weird when you watch living animals.

Sometimes I let my cockerels grow up with the main flock, including let the older rooster chase the boys when they act up with the older hens. Sometimes I keep them in the grow-out pen. It depends on how they interact. When I decide on a replacement and I don't need anymore fertile eggs for this season I put the old rooster in the freezer. Why feed him if I no longer need him?

How often you replace your rooster depends on your goals. I play a lot with genetics so I usually swap them out yearly. But so far I don't have a cockerel that fits what I want so I may keep this one another year.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,293
406
Conway SC
I put the old rooster in the freezer. Why feed him if I no longer need him?

How often you replace your rooster depends on your goals. I play a lot with genetics so I usually swap them out yearly. But so far I don't have a cockerel that fits what I want so I may keep this one another year.
I probably would put some in the freezer too if I did not have a Auction where I can take them and get $12 to $20+ for a good rooster----sure saves him from my freezer.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
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CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
John, you raise a very relevant question. My roo is also moving up in years. He loves his babies, and tolerated 2 cockrels in the coop with him into last winter... until I removed them b/c they were harassing the pullets. So, I'm hoping to be able to introduce a cockrel again this year, and hoping that by introducing a single cockrel, he will be better behaved. I've started some hatchery chicks, and would like to keep a breeding trio of BE, but... if the current coop situation doesn't allow that, I'll make other plans for the cockrel of choice. So... long story short, I would either add a cockrel, and hope for the best, with freezer camp as the back up plan. If using back up plan, I would plan on removing current mature cockrel when fertility wanes, and replacing him with a younger cock from an other flock. (Or perhaps raising up a cockrel from my own flock after replacing Jack.)
 

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