Hen:Rooster Ratio question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tootmany, Apr 6, 2018.

  1. tootmany

    tootmany Songster

    Mar 14, 2018
    Hey guys! Wondering if anyone has any experience with only a few hens for one rooster? Right now, it is looking like one surprise rooster to two hens. My partner feels deep affection for the little guy but I might have to make the hard decision if it is better for the sake of the hens. :hmm

    Side note - I am sincerely hoping that it is not two roos to one hen. We definitely have one girl. The other is a 90% chance of pullet and we will know soon enough.
  2. farmmanjim

    farmmanjim Chirping

    Jun 23, 2015
    Normally you keep one rooster for 10-15 girls if you want fertilized eggs. Any more roosters than that and you could have a lot of fighting.
    tootmany likes this.
  3. tootmany

    tootmany Songster

    Mar 14, 2018
    Definitely won't be keeping more than one roo! Just trying to figure out if even a single rooster is too much :)
  4. meetthebubus

    meetthebubus Crowing

    Mar 28, 2017
    Well it also depends on the rooster I mean my opinion is 1 roo to two hens is fine unless the rooster is aggressive to them. Also roosters can change behaviors from when they are young to when they mature. I had a roo that would jump up in my lap and then once he got his hormones he turned and bit me and was never the same after that. Not to scare you with that bc I've had plenty of sweet gentle roos including the 3 I have now (well technically 2.... 1 is a hen who turned roo)
    farmmanjim and tootmany like this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The 'rooster' to hen ratio of 1:10 that is often cited is primarily for fertility efficiency in commercial breeding facilities.
    It doesn't mean that if a cockbird has 10 hens that he won't abuse or over mate them.
    Many breeders keep pairs, trios, quads, etc
    It all depends on the temperaments of the cock and hens and sometimes housing provided.
    Backyard flocks can achieve good fertility with a larger ratio.

    How old are they?
    FYI.....semantics, maybe, but can be important communication terms when discussing chicken behavior.
    Female chickens are called pullets until one year of age, then they are called hens.
    Male chickens are called cockerels until one year of age, then they are called cocks(or cockbirds or roosters).
    Age in weeks or months is always a good thing to note.

    If you plan to keep a male, stop handling/cuddling him now.
    Read up on cock/erel behavior, really has more to do with the keepers behavior.
    Here's a good place to start:
    tootmany likes this.
  6. ehoneybee

    ehoneybee Songster

    Apr 22, 2017
    Southern Berkshires, MA
    We had 1 rooster to 3 hens for awhile. It was fine, they would fight him off pretty well and no one looked worse for the wear, HOWEVER, when he tried to eat my children, he had to go in the pot! He was super sweet as a cockerel, but when he became a rooster, what a jerk!
    tootmany likes this.

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