Can roosters and hens in-breed if I leave them together?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 16, 2011
I bought 7 day old chicks and now the hens among them are just starting to lay their first eggs. It ended up I had 4 roosters and 3 hens out of the chicks, I have sold all but one rooster and am keeping the three hens for laying, is it possible for the rooster and the hens to in-breed if they are left together? Can in-breeding in poultry occur?? What are the problems associated with in-breeding?

any advice much apperciated.

Can they inbreed? lol. If they are the same age and the pullets are laying then THEY ALREADY HAVE. LOL.

As long as you cull hard there shouldn't be too many problems. It all depends on how inbred they were to start with.
Yes, if left together, your chickens will breed.

Did you buy them from a hatchery? I ask this question because hatcheries hatch literally thousands of chicks and it would be highly improbable that your chickens are related....if that was your worry about in-breeding, brother x sister.

Inbreeding is only bad if both the siblings have a flaw/defect that you don't want passed onto the offspring.
Most hatchery stock is related (within the same breed). The chances of them being brother x sister depends on the breed and hatchery (if hatchery stock).

For example, if they are an extremely rare breed from a hatchery they are much more likely to be brother x sister (or half) than if they are something like a Cherry Egger or somesort of thing.
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I find that hard to believe given the statistics of the amount of chicks some of these hatcheries produce.
And we don't even know what breed of chickens the OP has.

Below taken from the hatcheries' own websites.
Ideal Poultry is the largest supplier of backyard poultry in the United States, shipping close to 5 million chicks annually.
Murray McMurray is a leading shipper of retail-bound chicks, hatching 1.7 million annually.
Cackle Hatchery hatches around 160,000 chicks each week.
Lake Cumberland Game Bird Farm producing over 4 million eggs per year.
Mt. Healthy Hatcheries produces over 3 million chicks, duck, turkeys, and gamebirds annually.
Moyer's Chicks sells millions of chicks per year.
Hoffman Hatchery hatches several thousand chicks per week.
Unless they are really closely related for several generations, you shouldn't see any problems. HOWEVER, traits that are less desirable tend to crop up quicker than traits that are good stay in the bloodline. If that is as clear as mud.

If you just want them for backyard pets/egg laying and don't plan on raising babies (or just a few babies), I wouldn't worry.
They are buff sussexs that I was wondering about and they came from a small farm where I bought the eggs to incubate. At the minute they are in seperate coops and I was wondering if it would be ok to put them all in one coop together? I can't see any bad traits with them at all, infact they are super quality - prehaps even fit for show birds! What do you's think?
You can indeed show them. Just be aware that there are no 'Buff' Sussex in the Standard. Thus, the best they could get is 'Best of Variety.'

Chances are they are very very closely related. Since there are no 'Buff' Sussex the breeder would have to have made them. This requires an outcross and then some very close breeding.

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