Can One Rooster Mate 13 hens Split up into 2 Breeding Pens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lots A Cluckin, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Has anyone ever used one rooster for two different breeding pens? I have 13 BBS hens and one blue rooster that I want to breed them to. I was going to put all 13 hens and the one rooster in one breeding pen but then I got to thinking that he will get 2-3 favorites and pretty much forget to breed the rest.

    So then I thought what if I split the hens up into two different breeding pens 6 in one 7 the the other and every couple days move the rooster to the other breeding pen. That way maybe he wont get favorites or maybe if he gets favorites it will be 2-3 from each pen instead of 2-3 out of the whole flock. I know one rooster can't easily cover 13 hens so I hope buy splitting the hen up into two flocks of 6 and 7 that he will be able to cover each hen better!

    I would like to hear every ones thoughts on this and if you think it will work or not! Main goal is to have fertile eggs ;)
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    What makes you think one rooster can’t cover 13 hens? You can read about anything on the internet and people love to tell you what can or cannot happen, but you are dealing with living animals. Those limits don’t exist in reality, only in some virtual world. In the right circumstances one rooster can cover 25 hens. It depends on the rooster. A young vigorous rooster can cover a whole lot of hens. A tired, old, worn-out rooster might have trouble covering two or three hens. The hens themselves have something to say about that too.

    When a rooster successfully mates with a hen, the sperm is stored in a special container inside the hen. The sperm normally remains viable for two to maybe three weeks, so all he has to do to keep a hen fertile is mate with her once every two weeks. In most of our flocks that will happen.

    Before you start over-thinking and over-managing things I suggest you start checking the eggs for fertility so you see what you have. This thread has some photos that can help you do that. I think you will be surprised.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    My roo covers 15 girls. I saw my very first infertile egg this morning. He's a very busy and very happy boy!
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've had a rooster easily keep almost 20 hens fertile. I'd just start with one breeding pen and check fertility. If you notice an issue, then think about splitting pens or adding another rooster, but don't buy hassle until you know you need it.
     
  5. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone! The thing is my birds are very large English Orpingtons and normally people say only 4 hens per rooster for this breed however last year I did have 8 hens to one Roo with no issues.
     
  6. BenHogan

    BenHogan Out Of The Brooder

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    So what Ridgerunner posted gives me an idea for you. If the sperm is stored in the hen and used over the course of 2 to 3 weeks, I have a solution for you. I have noticed a behavior pattern among my chickens where the rooster will mate with a hen immediately after she is put in the pen. Probably a dominance thing. If I had a hen that got out, when we caught her and put her back in, the dominant rooster would run over and mount her. So, have a rotating schedule where you take a different hen out of the pen every morning while tending the chickens and stick her back in when you are finished. Each hen gets a guaranteed encounter with the rooster ever 2 weeks!
     
  7. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a great idea BenHogan! Thank you!
     
  8. BenHogan

    BenHogan Out Of The Brooder

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    It will be interesting to see if your chickens display the same behavior patterns as mine did.
     
  9. Lots A Cluckin

    Lots A Cluckin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will try it and keep this thread updated! I am waiting for my saddles to arrive before I put the roo in with the girls though! They will hopefully be here later on in the week!
     

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