Roosters are an excellent addition to any flock. But they get a bad rap for being aggressive. We don’t believe this to be the case and that people misunderstand roosters. Today, we are going to tell you how to introduce a rooster to a flock of hens. With these tips and tricks, you will have a proud roo in no time.
First, Look At The Law
Before getting into how to introduce a rooster to a flock of hens, you should check the laws. In most cities, there are laws against having roosters in urbanized areas. If you get caught with roosters, you will have to get rid of it on top of fines. So save the hassle and check your local laws first.
Decide On The Roosters Job
Now that you have the green light for roosters, you need to decide on the job. You don’t need roosters to get quality eggs. But roosters have other benefits. Here are the top benefits of owning roos.
The best reason for getting a rooster is that they protect your flock. Your rooster will stand guard over his hens, watching for danger. If the rooster spots danger, he will warn the others to run for cover. And if necessary, they are known to put themselves between predators and their girls.
If you live in the country, having the added protection is excellent. You might find that you have fewer casualties. And some predators don’t even attempt hunting around your farm with a rooster there.
Of course, if you have a rooster, some breeding is bound to happen. With breeding, you could have a constant turn over of laying hens. And it’s fun to get started in hybrid breeds.
And if these reasons weren’t enough, some roosters make fantastic pets. These birds have a terrible reputation for being mean, rude, and downright hateful. But the truth is, some breeds make cuddly pets. So you can get all the breeding and protection benefits on top of a beautiful, unique pet.
#4 Keeping The Peace
Many chicken owners also claim that their flocks do so much better with a rooster. Hens don’t bicker as much, and the pecking order is kept steady. Roosters are needed to keep the hens in their places.
Now To Choose A Breed
After deciding why you need a rooster, it’s time to decide on a breed. If you have a small flock, you only need one roo. Choosing a breed that fits your needs perfectly is crucial in these situations.
But larger flocks have no troubles having multiple roosters. You could have a breed known for its defensive skills and a pet rooster if you wished. And in even larger flocks, you could have several roosters with individual jobs. We will talk more about having more than one rooster later.
Some of the most popular breeds are:
- Plymouth Rock Roosters– Known for their calm and docile demeanors.
- Leghorn Roosters– Best for protection and keeping the peace.
- Orpington Roosters– Have friendly yet protective personalities.
Buy And Isolate
Now that you have your perfect rooster in mind. It’s time to find a reputable breeder and purchase your roosters. This is probably the easiest step. But before you throw your rooster into his new flock, it’s essential to isolate.
We recommend isolating for 30 days. It might seem like overkill, but trust us, you will be grateful later. Most chickens don’t start to show signs of illness until two or more weeks of infection. And if you introduce them to your flock too quickly, they will spread the disease to everyone. So it’s better to be safe than sorry in this case.
Time To Add
Now that you have waited the dreaded 30 days, you can begin integrating. There are a few ways how to introduce a rooster to a flock of hens. And you might even find that using a combination of several tactics works best.
Using calm and slow methods are best for keeping roosters with laying hens. Too much stress, and your chickens will stop laying eggs. So if you suspect it to be too much for your flock, remove the rooster. You can try again later after they calm down.
Cage Within A Cage
This method includes using a temporary cage for your new rooster. You move the rooster closer and closer every day over seven days. The final step is to place the pen into the chicken run for the first introductions. Most hens won’t become aggressive towards a rooster. But your chickens will establish a pecking order.
If this last phase goes well, you can then introduce the rooster into the run. Some owners find that at this point, it works best to combine it with another method. But if you have docile birds, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Many experienced owners swear by introducing birds at night. Chickens don’t have the best eyesight at night that puts them into a survival mode. If you put your new rooster into the coop at night when the sun has set, instinct will kick in. Your birds will all find a place to roost quickly, which reduces squabbling.
When dawn comes around, your chickens will wake up and won’t notice a thing. It might even take your hens a few minutes to realize the new rooster. By then, they won’t even feel the need to establish a pecking order.
And the final way to introduce a rooster to hens is by using new spaces. If your hens don’t usually free-range, allow them out into new pastures. They will be so excited and distracted by a new location. They won’t even notice a rooster. For all they know, the rooster has always been there. This technique is handy for introducing a rooster to another rooster as well.
The neutral territory will allow your birds to get to know each other on even playing fields. When it’s time for your chickens to go back to the coop, they won’t have any issues.
What To Expect When Introducing A Rooster To Hens
Now that you integrated your rooster to the hens, you might want to relax. But your job isn’t done yet. You will need to keep a close watch on your flock for the next couple of days. While the initial meeting might go over well, the hens might get miffed if the boy stays.
Hens will eventually start to reestablish their pecking order. Hens attacking new rooster can also become a problem. You should separate the rooster for a few days and try again with a different method in these cases. Maybe even using a combination of techniques to introduce your roosters slowly. But if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t force it.
Don’t Forget The Enrichment!
No matter what methods you use to introduce roosters and hens, this step is essential. Give your flock lots of enrichment, foraging, and treats to keep them busy. The idea is to keep them engaged with their favorite activities so that they won’t fight. But whatever you give, make sure there is plenty available. If you don’t provide your flock enough of the goodies, they will guard and protect it from the others.
Do These Methods Work For Introducing Rooster To Pullets?
You don’t want to introduce roosters to pullets until they are 18 weeks old. The reason for this is that your rooster will be excited to be around so many females. Especially if they are the only males in the flock, they can get a little overwhelmed.
Most roosters will attempt breeding as soon as things calm down. And if your rooster attempts to breed with pullets this young, it could cause injury. If you have a mixed age flock, you might want to remove the pullets until they are older. Or you could wait for the rooster.
You might be wondering how to introduce a new rooster to an existing rooster. These cases are very tricky and might not always work. How many hens per rooster is crucial here. Ideally, you will want at least ten hens per rooster. So if your flock is small, two roosters won’t work.
To introduce your roosters, remove all hens from the scene and let them meet on neutral grounds. If you keep the hens around, the existing roo will become territorial no matter it’s setting.
Start slow and keep the introductions short before separating them again. After a few days, you can extend the time they are together. And once they are happy with being in neutral grounds for a few hours, add the hens. If the addition of hens goes well, ta-da! Your roosters are happily co-existing.
And That’s It
Now you know how to introduce a rooster to a flock of hens. It might seem a little scary at first, but things rarely go bad if properly executed. You could even use these methods for how to introduce new chickens to your flock. And once you get the hang of it, nothing will be in your way.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!