Hen too frequently mated... Will it help to cull a rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NuthatchKnollChickens, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. NuthatchKnollChickens

    NuthatchKnollChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    Ithaca, NY
    Last year was my first summer with chickens. I got chicks from my local Agway and ended up with ten pullets and two cockerels (unintended). One pullet died as a chick, and three were lost to a dog last summer, leaving me with a terrible ratio of two roosters and six hens. One of the roosters whupped up on the other and since then tranquility has reigned between the two of them. Until this month, all was well in the coop. Now, four of the hens are being mated more than the other two, which is obvious by the feather loss on their backs, and one of them is being mated so frequently that she actually got wounded and I had to separate her from the others (this just happened this afternoon). I'm getting more pullets at the end of April, but that's a long way off and it will take awhile for them to reach an age where they can go in the coop and be ready for the attentions of the roosters. I would prefer not to have to use hen saddles, so my question is this - how much would it help the situation to cull one of the roosters? I don't know if the popular hen is just popular with one of them or with both. I know both of them mate the hens. If I do cull one, who should it be: Tyrone, the king of the flock, or Wendell, his second in command?
     
  2. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    Definately sounds like the girls are getting a little too much attenting. Culling might be good, but if you want to be able to add another Roo in the mix later, you might be better off keeping them both. Adding a new roo into a flock that already has a dominant Roo can be tough and the Dominant may kill the new dude.

    So in April, are you getting babies?

    So it will be July or August before you can mix the group?

    Tough call.

    See what others think..
     
  3. scarter

    scarter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 22, 2008
    Roberts, WI
    We got rid of ALL of our roosters. The girls are way less jumpy now and not looking over their shoulders. If you don't need fertilized eggs could you do both?
     
  4. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    Can you separate them from the hens until the new pullets are of age?
     
  5. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Shamong
    Culling will certainly reduce matings, by 50% I would think.
     
  6. mamaKate

    mamaKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    SE MO
    Not necessarily. The dominant roo may not be letting the submissive one mate anyway. It might slow him down if he doesn't have to show off, though.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Do the two roos get along fairly well with each other? Are they well-mannered towards you & all the other humans around them? If so, it might be better to keep them both, perhaps keep them separate from the hens until they've healed/re-feathered and the young pullets mature. Mannerly roosters are worth the extra consideration.

    But if they already fight with each other and/or are uppity with you, then invite one of them in to dinner, whoever is has the worst behavior.

    You already have 6 hens, how many more pullets are you getting? A good ratio is 1:10-12. Will you have enough girls to keep more than 1 roo occupied?

    Sometimes you can introduce a new roo with little to no problems, especially if you have a lot of hens & a lot of room for them to roam. It just depends on the individual temperments of the roos. Keep the hatchet handy, just in case you have to use Plan B for any rude roosters.
     
  8. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have 40 hens and HAD 2 roos. They were tearing the feathers out of the hens backs and heads! We put the roos ina pen together and they were doing fine...then one day last week they decided to take each other out. What a bloody mess! DH expidited them both and they are now in my freezer. The hens are much happier and healing. My roos were RIRs and it was going to be necessary to cull them anyway. We have 100 eggs incubating and I'm hoping for a milder mannered roo from the crossbreeds.
    My advice...Keep the hens happy!
     
  9. NuthatchKnollChickens

    NuthatchKnollChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2008
    Ithaca, NY
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. The two roos get along fine with each other (ever since they worked out their pecking order) and have been fine with people (so far). I'm getting another six chicks at the end of April, so, yes, it will be a few months until they are part of the mix (and hopefully I won't get any cockerels in the new bunch!) I don't really have a good set-up for separating the roos from the hens. At the moment, the injured hen is in a dog kennel, but that's a real temporary situation. They free range everyday from noon until they go in to roost, so I'm thinking I can let the hen out of her kennel when everyone else is out on the property without too much trouble - she will easily be able to evade the roosters - but obviously I couldn't do that with the roos if they were the ones I was keeping separate since they would track the hens down the minute they were out of jail.

    I think I may go with culling one rooster and see if things improve. They do seem to provide an "alarm" function that's useful to the hens.
     
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I do like keeping a roo with my hens, it seems to make the flock dynamics more balanced, and they sure are good alarms & protectors. If all goes well you should have 12 hens soon, all you'll need is 1 roo for them. If/when you get even more hens, you can get another roo & hopefully they'll come to an understanding fairly peacefully.

    Right now I have 2 hens whose backs are bare, I guess they've been getting too much attention from the roos, or their feathers are just slow to repair. I put them in a separate pen, a hen spa, where they can relax, read magazines, gossip, & give each other makeovers while their feathers grow back.
     

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