Introducing new rooster to the existing flock is exactly as difficult as introducing your girlfriend/boyfriend to your family. The existing flock won’t accept the presence of a new member positively. To introduce a new rooster, you need to have some plans & precautions so that you can minimize the probability of fights & injuries. In this article, you will find the steps as well as some tips & tricks for introducing a new rooster to your existing flock.
The right time to introduce a new rooster to the flock
If you just put an adult rooster to the existing younger rooster flock, the adult one will try to dominate the youngers & the younger won’t tolerate the dominance of a new rooster. So, fighting & injury is a must in this case.
On the other hand, if you introduce a young rooster in an adult flock he won’t be able to cope up with the adults & it will also result in the injurious behavior of the roosters. That’s why it is necessary to know the right time of introducing a rooster to the existing flock.
If you let your hens breed naturally then you don’t need to worry about how your cockerels need to be adjusted with the flock. The hens will take care of this & help the cockerels in adjusting with the environment. But if you are introducing a new rooster & you got him by hatching or bought him from the market then you have to do the arrangements for his adjustment with the flock.
Introduce him to the flock when he’s a cockerel. You should introduce him to the flock when his wattles are red & before he starts crowing. By this time there won’t be any pecking problem in the flock & he will be able to adjust in the flock normally.
Know rooster behavior very well before introducing a new one to the flock
Except for some aggressive breeds, roosters are really nice guys. But you have to always keep in mind that the rooster has a pecking order. Just like we have a head member in our family, they have a top rooster in their flock. The top rooster has the most dominance over others, just like the head of our family has the most power in their hands. It will be a very bad idea to just buy a too adult or too young rooster & put him in the flock randomly.
A new rooster has to prove himself to determine where his place will be in the existing flock. If there is any mismanagement in their pecking order the roosters can be very aggressive. So, you must have to plan & follow some necessary steps before introducing a new rooster to the existing flock.
Steps of Introducing new chickens to the existing flock
Before you just bring in a new rooster in the flock you must have to follow 5 steps
1.Monitor the Health of your cockerel:
Always notice the health condition of your cockerels whether you buy them or get them by hatching. There is various kind of diseases like worms, mites & coughing are shown in roosters. These diseases are signs of respiratory issues.
Monitor whether your cockerel is coughing or his poop is abnormal. Always try to observe before taking a new rooster & introducing him to the flock. If his health condition is bad, it might harm the health of other roosters, hens & chickens of the coop. So, always be careful about the health of a new rooster.
2. Quarantining the new chickens
If you don’t find any negative health condition in your new rooster & the owner of the chicken shop says you that the rooster is fine & healthy, it is still a better option that you quarantine the new rooster for a couple of days before introducing him to the flock.
A very important step when introducing new roosters to your flock is quarantining them and making sure that they have not any diseases or infection. It’s better that you quarantine the new rooster from one week to 30 days. Replace your rooster’s water with minerals to make sure he is perfectly fit. Feed him well to make him strong & healthy before placing him in the existing flock.
It’s better that you keep your new rooster away from your existing flock when you are quarantining him. Keep him in a separate coop & give him enough space to move easily. From this separate coop, you will be able to observe your new rooster & check if they are healthy and free from any diseases or infections.
During this time wash your hands very well to prevent the transfer of any diseases from the new rooster to your existing flock. Remember that the more time you spent quarantining, the more it’s safe for your existing flock. You definitely don’t want to give your existing flock any diseases. So, quarantining is a must.
3. Introduce your chick to the existing flock visually
Don’t ever rush to introduce your new rooster to the existing flock. Even if your rooster is healthy & don’t need quarantining, don’t introduce him to your existing flock. This rush will cause unnecessary trouble & fighting. Keep your new rooster in a different pen & keep that pen near or in front of the existing flock.
In this way, your existing flock will be able to see the new member but they won’t be able to touch him. Instead of squabbling, your new flock will get used to the new rooster easily in this way. Keep the new one separate from your flock for a week. Introduce him to the flock visually in this time period.
4. Physical Introduction
After you have followed the previous steps you can now introduce your rooster physically to the existing flock. Open the pen & place your new rooster first & then open the existing pen. In this way, the existing flock will greet your new rooster as they have already introduced to him visually.
When you just introduce the new one you might see some small fight & squabbling but don’t get worried to see this. It’s normal as they will set their own pecking order. You should only stop this fight if you see any injurious condition as you don’t want to give your rooster a permanent injury. If you see this fight continues for several minutes then remove the new one & introduce him again the next day. Keep doing this until your new flock accepts him.
5. Settle in your chicks
After your rooster & the existing flock have met and they can stay together you should move the new one from his coop to the existing coop. monitor whether the new rooster follows the flock into the coop & settle in by themselves. If the new rooster can’t settle in put him back to his previous pen & during night place him to the existing coop. Continue doing this until they fully settle in the existing flock
Tips & Tricks to keep in mind:
While introducing your new chickens you must follow some tips & tricks to perfectly settle in your new one in the existing flock.
Introduce your chicken at night
At night the hens, chickens & roosters of your existing flock are sleepy. So, they can’t concentrate much on anything else than sleep. Introduce your new rooster to your existing flock at night as they will be less likely to attack & react to your new rooster at that time.
Relocate both new chickens & existing flock
Try to move your existing flock & the new rooster both to a new place. In this way, they all will be trying to adjust to a new place together so there will be less chance of fight & injuries. Relocating both of your flock & the new one will result in faster settling of your new one in the flock.
Introduce chickens of the same size
Remember that same size matters a lot. Always introduce same sized roosters to your existing flock. Never introduce an adult rooster to a young flock. If your rooster is smaller in size than the size of your flock then you should wait for some couple of weeks. When we will become younger & of same size as the flock then you can introduce him without any worries.
Extend the space of your chicken coop
Don’t keep the new rooster & existing flock in a confined place. Extend the place of your coop before you introduce a new one. It is very normal that the new one & existing flock will have some fight because of setting the pecking order. And if there is not enough space for the rooster to move there is a huge possibility of having injuries. So always extend the size of your coop before you put in a new rooster.
Isolate the aggressive roosters
If you see any particular rooster or hen is behaving aggressively with the newcomer & attacking him whether all other members of the flock are behaving nicely with him then remove the aggressive one from the flock. Isolate him in another coop & try every day to make him adjust with the new rooster.
Try to distract the aggressive roosters & hens fighting with the new rooster by feeding them. Give them more & more foods to keep them distracted. Place the aggressive ones in the flock every day for several minutes. If they behave nicely then let him be there. But if they continue their bad behavior again & again then remove the aggressive ones from the flock.
It’s the rule of nature that we can’t take any new change easily. And this rule applies to your chicken flock as well. The existing members of the flock won’t accept your new rooster easily until you take some movements. Hope that this article will help you in introducing a new rooster to your existing flock.