While it’s not necessary to have a rooster for your backyard chicken flock, there are reasons for having a rooster around. Hen protection and new baby chicks are a couple of those reasons. If you decide to increase your flock size by adding a rooster, use these tips that have helped me successfully introduce a new rooster to my hens.
Middle of the Day
Timing is everything, even when it comes to fowl introductions. Mornings are hectic in the hen house and evenings are territorial, so introduce the rooster during the middle of the day when bellies are full and none of the hens are jostling for a roosting spot.
The rooster will be out-numbered and pecking order will have to re-established when a rooster becomes part of the flock, so expect some sparring to take place. Make the introduction in a large space so the rooster (and possibly some of the hens) will have room to run and get away from aggressive hens.
Pull up a Chair
Take a few steps back away from the pen and watch what happens after placing the new rooster in with the hens. There is likely to be some initial aggression, but it should cease quickly and without blood shed or feather-loss. If hens become overly aggressive with the new rooster and begin to draw blood and pull out tail feathers from the new man of the house, remove the rooster from the pen and slow down the introduction.
Create a temporary enclosure for the new rooster that will have a shared fence separating the fowls. This will allow the hens and rooster to get to know each other through the fence while protecting the him from the wrath of dominate hens. Keep the rooster in the separate enclosure for a few days, then try the in-pen introduction again.
Benefits of a Rooster
Once the new male has been incorporated into the backyard flock, he will act as caretaker for the hens. He will protect them from predators and keep the flock together when they go foraging for food outside of the pen and he will keep bossy hens in line.
Keeping a rooster in your flock also means the hen eggs will be fertile and new chicks will be born into the flock to provide free eggs and meat for home use or sale.