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Introducing young chickens of different ages

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Good morning,


I have a flock of 8 hens that I've raised up from chicks and are now 13 weeks old and living happily free-ranging on my small holding. We have 6 cream leg-bar and 2 buff sussex (man am I looking forward to blue eggs in a few months :))


I recently had the opportunity to get  cream legbar cockerel who is now home and isolating in a outdoor playpen and overnighting in the shed. However, I have a rather big age discrepancy in that he is only 5 weeks (at most) old and looks absolutely tiny next to the girls. My question is at what age would it be suitable to introduce him to the flock? I am currently planning to wait at least a couple of more weeks until he is about 7/8 weeks or should it be longer?


Many thanks x



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Pretty sure you will need to wait a bit longer than that. He will need to be a quite confident cockerel to stand up to 8 mature hens. By the time he is 8 weeks, they will be 16 weeks and still much larger. I have never had cockerels, but I think you'll have to wait until he is more mature. 
When possible, it will be better to keep him close to the ladies, so they can get used to each other. You'll be able to judge better if he will take up his role as cockerel or not.

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Thanks Cat Tails. This is what my gut is telling me. At the moment his 'play pen' is out i n the garden where the chooks wander so they do get the sight of each other without being able to reach each other - although one of them managed to give him a good peck yesterday!

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Introduce him too early and he will be at best beaten up, could well be worse. Not before 20 weeks in our experience. Whilst they may accept him at that age he may become subservient to them and just behave like another hen to avoid repercussions. A situation that needs very careful monitoring. The hens choose their cockerel, so if he isn't up to the job and isn't helped in the introductions he may have a rather miserable and short life. We've just had to deal with the same problem and it wasn't easy. One hen now has a permanent beak bit because she decided to eat his comb and he let her! That's not the first time that has happened.


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