How to Add a Rooster to Your Flock

| 1/24/2012 1:28:25 AM

Tags: rooster, cockerel, how to add a rooster to your backyard flock, Victoria Gazeley,

Tom Wattles 

Adding a cockerel (rooster) to your existing flock of hens is one of those things where you'll find almost as many different opinions as there are chicken breeds!  It's a passionate subject, and one that I had the opportunity to delve into recently.

In the fall of 2010, a post came across our local Freecycle group looking for a home for a beautiful young Buff Orpington rooster.  He'd been part of a larger flock that included a number of roosters, most of whom had ended up in the stew pot - save for this guy, and his infinitely more aggressive coop-mate.  At the time, I seriously considered bringing him home, to the point of contacting the owner and making arrangements to go out for an introduction.

But things just didn't gel and we never did make it out to the farm to see him. 

Then a couple of months later, the post came over Freecycle again.  He was still looking for a home.  And my research background kicked into high gear.

I spent an entire day, maybe two, researching rooster behaviour, flock behaviour and the best way to introduce a rooster to an existing group of hens.  Visited probably 20 different websites and forums - all with really valid and experienced advice on the best way to accomplish the task successfully (and safely for all involved).  But the best wisdom came from our Facebook page - I can't thank everyone there enough!  (If you haven't had a chance to join us there, do!  We've got a fantastic group of people from all walks of life and stages of 'self-sufficiency' - newbies, will-be's, and incredibly experienced folk:

Chuck Nabx
5/13/2012 8:13:06 PM

I just today lost a bantam silkie rooster we'd only had two weeks to what I suspect was a coyote. Lots of feathers behind and he sure put up a fight as far as I can tell but we need to get a bigger rooster..a shame cause the girls settled right in with him almost from the get go. As far as introduction we had him in a large cage with food and water for two days while the hens periodically approched him and checked him out. Our most dominant hen took after him after we let him out but he had her down and in check in under a min and after that the rest of the girls fell in place...Now to find another rooster I guess but no more bantams..I really liked the guy but their too small for our free range set up.

1/26/2012 11:50:25 PM

You're right about a good rooster putting himself between the hens and the predator. I lost a great roo this spring that way. I'd never want to be without a rooster.

1/25/2012 1:06:15 AM

Victoria, I've not had any experience with introducing a rooster to the flock. I've only had childhood experiences trying to get those eggs gathered from the old bitty hens in the chicken house. Not that a chicken peck ever hurt that much but it was just scary how quick they were at giving a peck on the hand especially when you are only seven or eight year old. Most all of our chickens ended up fried for Sunday dinner. I'm glad to see the Tom has stepped into his role without any terrible altercations. Have a great chicken raising day.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!