MaybeMay

Chirping
Sep 18, 2021
29
53
59
Hello everyone!
Need some advise on what is best for my Australorp cockerel.
I have 3 12 week old Australorps, 2 pullets and 1 cockerel and really would love to keep all 3 of them. We’re not in a position to get anymore yet though and not sure it’s a good idea to keep our cockerel (Teriyaki) with only 2 hens. Are we better off re homing him or will the 2 hens be okay? Plan on getting more hens but won’t be for a few months and will most likely get day olds for my children to raise again. Photo of my handsome boy following my husband around 😂
66A2311A-5F0A-4951-A1D8-CC5D5EB5E324.jpeg
 

Shadrach

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You don't write why you think there may be a problem keeping one cockerel and two pullets. I'll assume you've read that there is some correct ratio, possibly here on BYC (?)
In general a rooster will have one or two favourite hens and these are the hens he will mate with most often. It doesn't make any difference how many other hens there are apart from it will give the rooster more choice when picking his favourites.
I currently look after one rooster with 22 hens. There are only two hens with feather dammage due to mating and these are his two current favourites.
Keep your young cockerel and if at some point you beleive he is actaully harming the hens, then that is the time to consider your options.
 

MaybeMay

Chirping
Sep 18, 2021
29
53
59
You don't write why you think there may be a problem keeping one cockerel and two pullets. I'll assume you've read that there is some correct ratio, possibly here on BYC (?)
In general a rooster will have one or two favourite hens and these are the hens he will mate with most often. It doesn't make any difference how many other hens there are apart from it will give the rooster more choice when picking his favourites.
I currently look after one rooster with 22 hens. There are only two hens with feather dammage due to mating and these are his two current favourites.
Keep your young cockerel and if at some point you beleive he is actaully harming the hens, then that is the time to consider your options.
Thank you. Yes I am worried about him possibly over matting them and causing injury. I’ve seen a few different things on what ratio is best for number of hens vs number of roosters and am worried that 2 isn’t enough and they could get injured. Is loss of feather when I should be concerned or will it be more then that if it’s a issue?
 

Shadrach

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Thank you. Yes I am worried about him possibly over matting them and causing injury. I’ve seen a few different things on what ratio is best for number of hens vs number of roosters and am worried that 2 isn’t enough and they could get injured. Is loss of feather when I should be concerned or will it be more then that if it’s a issue?
Well, there is no such thing as overmating really. What seems to worry people, or at least what they notice is feather damage on the hens.
As I mentioned above, it isn't really a matter of any particular ratio or having enough hens. Jungle fowl and many game fowl breeds manage just fine with a single hen.
It takes many months for some cockerels to learn how to mate in a gracefull and efficient manner. What I would be more concerend about is comb damage as some cockerels grab a hens comb instead of the feathers on the back of their hens neck in order to keep their balance.
I would wait and see how the pullets react to the cockerel over time. After all, it's they who have to live with him.
Wait and see if there is a problem and judge that problem on the hens reaction and their condition rather than on some unjustified statement of a correct ratio.
If problems do arise, then there are other ways of dealing with it other than getting rid of the cockerel.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
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I can't add to the advice on potential mating issues, but I have to say that the bird in the photo is not a Blue Australorp, he's a Production Blue.

Blue Australorps never have any red on them.

If the hens are also Production Blues (red leakage around the neck), they are reputed to lay even better than Australorps do. :)
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
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Feb 25, 2008
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Roosters are unpredictable.
I had an very good hatch rate this year, and as a result had WAY to many cockrels. I did advertise them on craigslist and was able to find one of them a home
The others I watched and I had a favorite, but he was a terror to the pullets. There was another that the pullets gravitated to and he defended them from all the unwanted attentions of the others. he himself romanced and danced for his girls and was a gentleman. This is the rooster I kept. The others are in my freezer. I say all this to explain to you that your little cockrel has not matured at this point to show what character he has.
Will he be rough to his hens, or gentle and kind?
will he be a good lookout for danger?
Will he turn aggressive towards humans?
(If you have young children be cautious with roosters)
Adding younger pullets later will also have its challenges, as integration can be easy or hard and dependent of factors including space avaliable, personalities of your birds, and breed and size differences.
You are going to have to wait and see what your boy is made of.
Good luck!
 
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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Why do you want to keep him? What are your goals relative to keeping him? When people talk about making decisions or what to choose it will be different for all of us. We have different goals and different circumstances. Any decisions should be made on your goals, not mine. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs, everything else is personal preference. Nothing wrong with personal preferences. I have a few myself. But those are based on a want, not a need. I generally suggest you keep as few boys as you can and still meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed more problems with more boys, just that problems are more likely the more you have. To me, this has nothing to do with ratio.

I am worried about him possibly over matting them and causing injury. I’ve seen a few different things on what ratio is best for number of hens vs number of roosters and am worried that 2 isn’t enough and they could get injured. Is loss of feather when I should be concerned or will it be more then that if it’s a issue?
Overmating is a term that gets tossed around a lot and can mean different things to different people. Sometimes when chickens mate some feathers are lost. That's not a problem at all unless it becomes excessive to the point that that the skin is bare. That may be on the back where his claws rest when he is mating or that may be the back of the head. In the mating act the male grabs the back of the females head. This is her signal to raise her tail up out of the way so he can hit the target. Without the head grab there would be no fertile eggs. Sometimes there are bare spots on the back of the head or, as Shadrach mentioned, he may grab her comb and tear it. Usually these bare spots upset people more than it does the hen but there is a risk that those claws or beak may cause a wound. Chickens can sometimes become cannibals if they see a raw wound or blood so it is something you have to watch for.

Some pullets or hens are more susceptible to feather loss. Some can have brittle feathers that break really easily. Even if the rooster is a perfect gentleman those feathers can break. Some cockerels do not have a good mating technique and during adolescence mating is often by force. Usually when the mature the boys develop better technique and the girls quit resisting so strongly so this gets better, but some never grow up.

Typically when they mature they calm down a lot, but when the pullets and cockerels are immature it can be anything but calm. The hormones "can" hit the boys hard and the girls are still so immature they don't know how to cope. Sometimes this isn't a problem at all but it certainly can be. It looks like yours free range. All that space is a big help, I consider it pretty important. As someone on here once said, watching adolescent boys and girls go through puberty can be hard on the faint of heart. At that age mating has nothing to do with fertilizing eggs, it's about establishing dominance. The one on bottom is accepting the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force. At that age it is almost always by force. Since it is by force it can be violent, hence a risk of injury. I've never seen a pullet injured by this, I think having a lot of space helps, but it can sometimes be violent so injury is possible.

You may notice I'm using a lot of weasel words like can, often, sometimes, or usually. That's not because I'm a lawyer, I'm not, but because different things happen. Each year is different. Each brood is different. You can see these behaviors but it does not mean you will.

Sometimes, especially when they are immature, the cockerel will try to mate the pullets so often and they really don't want him to that they spend most of the day in the coop when he is in the run. They may even spend most of the day on the roosts to avoid him. I hardly ever see this but it's more common if room is tight. I have multiple food and water stations so the pullets can get food and water. This stage usually doesn't last for long and doesn't hurt them but it can be hard for people to watch.

To me those are the potential issues. Reading this forum you'd think all this is guaranteed each and every time. If that were true chickens would be extinct. These things can happen and an injury can be serious, so pay attention. But I totally agree with Shadrach, go by what you see instead of what some stranger over the internet like me tells you will absolutely happen. If your goals don't include having a rooster getting rid of him might potentially simplify your life, especially before adolescence hits. But adolescence may be no big deal for you.

I currently look after one rooster with 22 hens.
Quite a change for Spain where you were looking after multiple roosters with very small hen to rooster rations. You were always good at observing, I'm sure you are enjoying this opportunity.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
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A lot depends not on the birds, but rather on the set up and the birds. Many people keeping 2-3 birds have a very small set up, and it is usually close to the house. This is going to be much different than a set up with a dozen birds, and more different yet with a flock of 20.

In that small of a set up, I would strongly recommend rehoming the rooster, or culling him. IMO roosters need more room than hens. If they are close to the house, or close to neighbors, they will crow obnoxiously making them difficult to live with.

And how a rooster is behaving today is no indicator at all how he will behave next week, or even tomorrow. IMO, rooster chicks raised up with flock mates, tend to become bullies. Personally, I would not like how that bird is behind the man, that is often where the attack will come from.

Shadrach is right, you don't need to do something until you have a problem, it might work, but you do need to be aware that there is a strong probability that it might not work, IMO in a small set up, being with just flock mates, and first time chicken people the odds are rather more towards it not working.

Do have a plan B set up and ready to go. This forum is full of posts where the darling becomes the nightmare.

Mrs K
 

MaybeMay

Chirping
Sep 18, 2021
29
53
59
Well, there is no such thing as overmating really. What seems to worry people, or at least what they notice is feather damage on the hens.
As I mentioned above, it isn't really a matter of any particular ratio or having enough hens. Jungle fowl and many game fowl breeds manage just fine with a single hen.
It takes many months for some cockerels to learn how to mate in a gracefull and efficient manner. What I would be more concerend about is comb damage as some cockerels grab a hens comb instead of the feathers on the back of their hens neck in order to keep their balance.
I would wait and see how the pullets react to the cockerel over time. After all, it's they who have to live with him.
Wait and see if there is a problem and judge that problem on the hens reaction and their condition rather than on some unjustified statement of a correct ratio.
If problems do arise, then there are other ways of dealing with it other than getting rid of the cockerel.
Thank you. I think we will keep him and see how he goes with the pullets.
we do have a plan B and D but would like plan A to work of course.
 

MaybeMay

Chirping
Sep 18, 2021
29
53
59
I can't add to the advice on potential mating issues, but I have to say that the bird in the photo is not a Blue Australorp, he's a Production Blue.

Blue Australorps never have any red on them.

If the hens are also Production Blues (red leakage around the neck), they are reputed to lay even better than Australorps do. :)
Interesting I always thought it was wired. I got them from a backyard breeder who had a splash rooster 4 black hens and 2 blue hens. So I just assumed the colouration came from the splash. Here is a photo of all the hens if you could tell me your input.
D4D44C37-B8F3-4518-984A-A163F7F71494.jpeg
6E54544A-7FA7-4EC1-B7E5-6BFD45045C7B.jpeg
 

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