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Ideal Ratio of Roosters to Hens  

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'm curious what the seasoned chicken experts on here believe to be the ideal ratio of roosters to hens in a chicken coop.

Assume the following:

1)  The chicken coop will be accommodating 140 mature Standard chickens at 4 sq ft / chicken.
2)  The particular roosters in the chicken coop aren't aggressive fighters, territorial or destructive, but can be isolated if necessary.
3)  The purpose of the hens is simply to be productive egg layers.
4)  Both roosters and chickens get a good 4 to 6 hours/day outdoors (weather permitting) either in a large run or free-ranging, so they're not stressed from being cooped-up.
5)  All of the chickens in the coop are approximately the same age and size.
6)  The roosters are being kept around both to fertilize the eggs for future breeding purposes, as well as to offer some genetic diversity when it comes to breeding.
7)  There will be 15 hens each of 7 breeds.   

Here's my question:   How many roosters should there be of each breed, relative to the number of hens?   1 to 15?   2 to 15?   3 to 15?   4 to 15? 

I appreciate your feedback!



John

John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
post #2 of 31

Most people will say average of 1 to 10 that is just for fertility purposes. But some roos can handle larger flocks of hens. And yet other roos can only handle less than 10.  I would say if you have that many hens 1 to 15 would probably be a good ratio. The roo(s) that can fertilize more hens should pick up the slack of the roo(s) that don't.

Starting 2011 with 70 chickens big and small.
Starting 2011 with 70 chickens big and small.
post #3 of 31

One rooster can successfully handle 8-12 hens, maybe a few more, and insure fertility is stable. I had a rooster and his brother in with 30 hens, but the older one refused to share, I rehomed his brother and he still kept most of the girls fertile for awhile. I did see it begin to slack off after about a month, but most of the time, the BR hens were fertile, even if others may not have been. This is a standard Barred Rock rooster I'm talking about.

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post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeslewmazer 

Most people will say average of 1 to 10 that is just for fertility purposes. But some roos can handle larger flocks of hens. And yet other roos can only handle less than 10.  I would say if you have that many hens 1 to 15 would probably be a good ratio. The roo(s) that can fertilize more hens should pick up the slack of the roo(s) that don't.


I understand that one rooster can easily service 15 hens.    My question was from more of a practical standpoint.    If I just went with one per breed, what happens if I lose the one rooster for whatever reason?   Considering I'm looking to keep my options open for breeding purposes, shouldn't I at least have two of each breed in case something happens to the first one?


John

John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
post #5 of 31

Yes, if you don't want to take time to grow out another one, but you may want to keep the #2 roosters in a separate area. Even with just one Delaware rooster for over 20 hens, I still have girls who need saddles due to the feather damage. He has his favorites. And I've noticed that when roosters are competing with each other for mating time, the girls are run ragged.

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Follow Along with The Evolution of Atlas

 

~A dog on its owner's property is a pet; A dog on someone else's property is a predator~

 

From now till Sept 1, make any purchase at www.blueroocreations.com  web store, where every artisan is a veteran or spouse of a veteran, and receive a surprise free handmade gift with your order!

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Follow Along with The Evolution of Atlas

 

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post #6 of 31

Yes, you answered your own question.
JUST INCASE, I always try to have backup.
Matter of fact if I only had ten chickens 2 would be roos. and so on.
Realisticly 10-12 is very good and working for me.

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post #7 of 31

Even for production quality breeders it definitely depends what breed you have.  Some large fowl only lay 75 eggs a year ( Cochins ).  I have been told the older large fowl Roo's after a few years go by, will seek out favorites.  Thus, you might not be hitting on all cylinders with three year oles and older.  I prefer to run younger males, cause their more active.  And then I agree one cockerel/Roo can handle 8 hens easily.  Depending what you look for out of your flock, you might want to selectively breed your best hens to your best males for your own flock replacemnts.  I use 8' by 8' pens for that.  And then I use only 4 hens max.  I don't need to have every girls genetics for the next coming year.

post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle2026 

Yes, you answered your own question.
JUST INCASE, I always try to have backup.
Matter of fact if I only had ten chickens 2 would be roos. and so on.
Realisticly 10-12 is very good and working for me.


I wasn't trying to answer my own question, but rather to point out the potential nightmares of relying on just one.   

Would 3 roosters simply be overkill with 15 hens?   Could you not introduce a rooster to 5 specific hens that he would consider to be just his?    Would there be no circumstance where having 3 might be better overall than 2?



John

John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
post #9 of 31

One thing I do with my Marans, I have 5 cockerels.  And only use three at a time.  Every day, the two who were on the bench go in for relief.  And they've had one day of wanting and needing to get to the girls.  I have 100% fertility with them going one boy to five girls.


Edited by lildinkem - 1/12/10 at 4:08pm
post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lildinkem 

One thing I do with my Marans, I have 5 cockerels.  And only use three at a time.  Every day, the two who were on the bench go in for relief.  And they've had one day of wanting and needing to get to the girls.  I have 100% fertility with them going one boy to five girls.


I like how you think.   That's a clever approach.   


John

John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
John A Gasbarre
Cluckamok Farm
Union, Maine  04862  USA
24 + 4 Standards each of:  Welsummer, Double-Laced Barnevelder, Salmon Faverolle, Blue Orpington, Light Sussex & Buff Brahma
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