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A straightforward process for selecting roosters or roosters to introduce to an existing flock of laying hens.
I’ve been documenting my backyard laying hens’ journeys on this blog for the past 10+ years.
It’s been a fun, hugely successful endeavor, and has provided our family with the highest quality eggs with the least amount of problems for over a decade.
Despite the old saying, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, my husband and I recently decided to add a rooster to the mix…
Here’s why we’ve made this big change over the years:
- I hope to hatch my own chicks to ensure the long-term survival of our flock without resorting to increasingly dystopian chick hatcheries.
- Raising your own chicks from fertilized eggs to adult chickens produces healthier birds that are not harmed by the medicalization of chick hatcheries and inhumane transportation processes.
- The rooster’s watchful eye helps protect my hens from the red-tailed hawks that have migrated to our area over the past year.
- I want to take home egg production to the next level of sustainability without relying on the commercial egg industry.
choose the best rooster
When deciding to get roosters for your spawning flock, it is very important to choose wisely.
Luckily there is a rooster sanctuary not far from our house.
This farmer accepted young roosters from people who were raising chicks, and inadvertently got roosters instead of chickens from feed stores and hatcheries.
Therefore, I had the opportunity to observe a number of Lous before settling on Rocky (pictured above).
Rocky is huge, but he’s very docile and doesn’t charge people (beware of his common aggressive behavior).
I was going to introduce Rocky to an existing flock of grown-up chickens with an established pecking order, so I wasn’t going to cut it for young or small roosters.
I needed a big guy who could hold himself from day one.
I also needed a big cock that could fend off hawk attacks on girls. ).
Rocky is only 1 year old, but he makes it in every way.
Is Quarantine Required? Yes or No
Many online sources say a two-week quarantine is required before introducing one or more new chickens into an existing flock.
But a farmer who runs a rooster sanctuary told me that in some cases it’s not necessary.
First, my flock was all chickens and no roosters existed to compete with Rocky.
He will be alpha from the start.
Second, he’s been caring for Rocky for months and all his chickens were healthy (and lived in the same community as mine), so there’s little to no chance of communicable disease. So I was able to quickly introduce Rocky to the chickens.
Third, Rocky is huge and can easily hold his own against any bullying tactics attempted by the mean hen.
introduce a rooster to a flock of chickens
As a result of hearing Farmer Dell’s story, he immediately decided to introduce Rocky, even though he had a quarantine area if necessary.
I also decided to introduce him during the day rather than at night after all the chickens were roosting, as some sources recommend.
The reason for this was based entirely on Rocky’s size.
He wasn’t going to be bullied, so there was no need to sneak him into the coop at night while the chickens were sleeping.
how was it?
It was just hilarious when Rocky introduced me to my chickens.
When I opened the travel cage and let them free range, the hens looked completely shocked and startled.
They literally didn’t know what to do with themselves 😂
Rocky settled in quickly. No ruffled wings or emotions at all.
My one grumpy hen tried to challenge him a few times, but Rocky’s larger body allows him to control the situation without worrying.
In the coming weeks, I will write about the adventures of Rocky and the Hen.
I am looking forward to collecting fertilized eggs and comparing them with unfertilized eggs in terms of taste and storage.
I also enjoy hatching my own chicks.
What is the Rocky breed?
By the way, if you have any clues about the Rocky breed, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Farmer Dell thinks he’s a blend.
My guess is it’s a mix of Orpington and Plymouth rock?