Can the rooster:hen ratio affect egg laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jrose, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised two batches of straight-run chicks this year. A mix of 18 (EE, blue and black orps, blue and black marans) hatched mid-April, and a mix of 14 (turkens) hatched end of May. That puts the first batch around 6.5 months old, and the turkens around 5.5 months if I'm not mistaken?
    In Late September I got my first little eggs, started getting 0-3 per day, very sporadically. Then sometime in late September the eggs stopped and I haven't gotten any since.
    Now, I know there are many factors; temps, light, weather, molt, food, stress, etc. They're not molting. They've been on 16% lay pellets, with some scratch and some 20% available since I got the first eggs. They also free range all day every day and get fruit and veg scraps and whole squash. Temps are unseasonably warm in the 50s-70s, no snow yet, no freezes, just lots of rain. I've got a light coming on in the morning to give 14hrs daylight.
    Everything seems like they should be happy enough. I've thought maybe they're laying on the property somewhere, but 1. I just haven't found any eggs anywhere and 2. I've locked them up a few days at a time when I've gone away and still didn't get any eggs, so I'm not inclined to think that's the problem.

    So I was thinking: Maybe having too many roo's around is added stress? I've yet to see any of the cockerels bother the pullets, or fight for that matter, and maybe I'm over thinking this, but could the girls be maturing slower with too much male pressure? I've got 11 cockerels to 18 hens at the moment. Culling 7 more cockerels is on my to-do list, but for now they're all mingling. Thoughts?
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Too many roosters can affect egg laying. They may be stressing out the females, even if you aren't seeing them doing so. Removing roosters may very well help egg production.
     
  3. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the input :) I feel like I'm being impatient, but I couldn't help but wonder! I'll bump culling up on my to-do list and hope for the best.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Even 4 young cockerels amongst 18 pullets may be too high a ratio to reduce stress enough for onset of lay.
    You've got wild hormone storms going on there for sure!

    Any chance you could segregate the all the cockerels?
     
  5. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think some people worry too much about the rooster to hen ratio, but that one is a bit high. Is there any chance they are eating them? I would not think they would just stop all together.
     
  6. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seen a few eaten eggs, one every few days. I have never had an issue with egg eating before this!

    I've still got ads out trying to sell 'em off. Whoever's left next week will go in the freezer. That's the soonest I can get to them. I just bought 2 dozen eggs from the store for the first time in 5 years... :s

    I *could* separate the boys... I hesitate because there's been zero aggression in the flock so far. I worry that keeping 7+ boys in a small pen for a week will lead to fighting and injuries! The only pen I have ready is about 50 sq ft with a coop and log inside. So that's the toss-up I suppose... Wait another week for processing and get no eggs, or pen 'em up to whatever consequence and possibly get eggs....

    I also noticed last weekend that one of the male turkeys was after the hens, much to their sheer HORROR. I rehomed him yesterday. Phew!

    So about the ratio issue. I had planned to keep 1 black maran roo and 1 blue maran roo. They're already the two dominant cockerels. I also have 2 turken boys that absolutely adore me that I'd like to keep. I'm open to more input on peoples' experience with roo ratios!
     
  7. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    You could keep the boys together, as long as they were somewhere where they could not be aware of the females. I always choose the path of letting things live, but I guess for most that is not always easiest. Do what you think is right.
     
  8. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The birds have free range of nearly the entire property (minus my yard and garden). There is nowhere to separate 7 males and not let them see or hear the hens. I can't keep this many birds due to space and cost of feeding anyhow. I'm only set up for about 20 birds.

    They can live if someone wants to buy them and keep them, but that doesn't appear to be happening. I don't dare offer them free on Craigslist; if someone can't pay a measly $10 for a live pet/animal, they aren't a good caretaker, IMO!
     
  9. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Where do you live, like the state?
     
  10. Jrose

    Jrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in SW Idaho. I've had them on CL for 3 weeks with no hits. We're flooded with excess roosters around here! I've heard recently that folks are releasing them out into field and prairies, in an effort to avoid butchering them. I'm quite sure the latter is the better option in that case :s
     

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