When to put chicks with rooster

tnmommy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 14, 2013
340
22
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Loretto, TN
I'm about to put my year old hens back with my rooster, I have 2 blue Orpington and one australorp pullet. When is the earliest I can put the younger pullets with my rooster? On the one hand I'm worried he will hurt them but on the other, waiting May rock the boat with the pecking order. The two orpington pullets are bigger than my grown australorp hens but I know their bones are still growing. They are 9 weeks old.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
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South Georgia
It may work fine right now. It helps a lot for them to have plenty of space for the introduction, and f course, for them to have been in vew of each other ofr a while before removing the barrier. You won't know til you try. If you don't see bloof, let them work it out.
 
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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My experience has been to be far more worried about he older hens hurting young birds than the rooster. I've never had a rooster harm a young bird, from just hatched chick on up. Younger roosters hitting maturity get put in their place, of course, but that's a different story. Your rooster should see these young birds as babies and not try to mate with them until they're reaching maturity. If he did try to mate a pullet not at point of lay, I'd say to seriously reconsider his future.
 

tnmommy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 14, 2013
340
22
141
Loretto, TN
Very interesting...I guess I'm worried he would try to mate because my English Orpintons are huge. At almost 3 months, the pullets are as big as my Australorp hens. My rooster is away from the hens at present to regrow feathers. The pecking order with the ladies has been established although the biggest Orp has finally realized she is big enough to stand her ground. I worry abought establishing that again if they are reintroduced at point of lay. Should my rooster recognize that they are not old enough to mate due to pheromones alone?
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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Holts Summit, Missouri
They do not seem to use pheromones and may not be using sight all that much. Rather they seem to use tone of voice and actual calls to distinguish gender and receptiveness to mating. Males will still occasionally get confused but that is most often to odd social situations or how the group is confined. Confusion is most typical with immature males. Maturity is not realized until the adult feathers are entirely in place.
 

Ciqala

Songster
6 Years
Apr 14, 2013
316
38
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New Hampshire
I had concerns about adding young chicks to my flock too because of my rooster, but honestly he's the only one I can trust 100% to always be kind to them. donrae is right, it's the hens you have to watch and be concerned about and from what I've witnessed, it's the lowest hens in the pecking order who are the worst. I actually have a hen in my house in a crate right now in a "time out" 'cuz she was too busy most of the time chasing and pulling on the chicks' feathers. She'll go back out in another week or so. With her out of there, things are much more peaceful.



Zorro, our roo, actually changed his roosting spot the first week I put these pullets out to be next to them.




Here he is yesterday enjoying some oatmeal I put on top of the young chicks hiding spot with one of them that's standing on top of it. That speckled sussex pullet is only about 6 wks old.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,352
17,655
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Here is an extreme example of what can occur when rooster is around hen even during incubation. He can become outright broody to chicks. Such is normal with juveniles approximating what Ciqala posted. I agree, the fully mature rooster is much more consistent as a benign adult around juveniles. The dynamic hens pose is also impacted by whether hen has her own offspring about.

1000


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Mind you the rooster that treat chicks well likely thinks he is the father. Same rooster above will not tolerate juveniles from flocks across creek and chases much harder than a hen would.
 

tnmommy

Songster
7 Years
Apr 14, 2013
340
22
141
Loretto, TN
Okay, we are building a new tractor and putting the juvenile Aussie cockerel in the "new" one along with one juvenile pullet. That leaves my two Orpington pullets and 3 grown hens with the adult rooster. We'll see, I guess..
 

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