how many hens per rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 2overeasy, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I mix my chicks with my adult flock, I will have 22 hens and 5 roosters. Gomer is the grown rooster (mix breed, probably golden comet), the young'uns are 1 Naked Neck, 1 Frizzle Cochin, I BR, and 1 Orpington (he's the leader of the chick flock of 18). How will this work out - or will it?
     
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Ideal ratio is 10 hens to 1 rooster.
    Every situation is different, but you may have reached critical mass with that many roosters and that few of hens. Sometimes it will work out.
    Solution-get more hens! [​IMG]
     
  3. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I always like to think that, if you only have one coop, you can only have one rooster and he is the head of the entire flock. The non-alpha males I prefer to call cockerels. Although the real definition of the word is the same (i.e. a male chicken) it's an important distinction. Important to them too.

    Your rooster will tell you when there are too many cockerels, because he'll chase them and beat them up. He doesn't do this until they start showing signs of becoming mature. Our rooster is a relatively amicable boy, he tolerates two younger (but of breeding age) cockerels but has started beating up a large gang of four/five month old cockerels (they are all holders of a one-way ticket to Barbequesville and the bus leaves this weekend).

    Assuming that you intend breeding (else you wouldn't need a rooster) you can be sure that at least half your hens will either be sitting on eggs or nursing chicks at any one point in time, the only time the rooster is actively involved is the two weeks of egg laying so factor that into your rooster ratio.

    Much as cockerels are lovely to see, too many of them makes life hard for the rooster and worse for the girls - rampaging hormones means that any girls within reach will get chased, jumped, pecked, dragged by the tail or comb and finally forced into submission - for nasty cockerels this includes girls on eggs and with very young chicks - they get a free taxi to Barbequesville before they do any damage.

    I'd say one cockerel will do you fine, he'll be a happy boy with no competition and he'll spend more time helping out with the chicks, sounds all very 'new man' but of course he only helps out with the chicks to get the hen back into breeding mode again - not so much 'new man' rather he is a 'smarter old man'.

    We have over 40 breeding hens and our rooster services them (for want of a better word) without any problems, he spends most of his day making sure the two young boys don't get a quick fumble with his girls.

    ETA - And here he is

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  4. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Please excuse the hijack-Ovenready your rooster is beautiful.
     
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They usually sort it out. Don't be surprised if one of the younger roosters decides to take over and kills the older, alpha male eventually. I think too, that the hens will often make the decision as too who they like as well. I've often noticed how some hens tend to hang with certain roosters and if another rooster comes around he will fight him off. I think too the more room the chickens have to get away from each other the better the like sexes get along.
     
  6. edb

    edb Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have had the same problem, too many rooster. Thursday (3) roosters are going to the sale. I have only (6) hens and 4 roosters of breeding age. All 6 hens have all the feathers pulled from their backs and necks. After watching the roosters would gang up and catch one hen and once one rooster finished with her the next would step on and start. i watched several times as the same thing happened. One poor hen was mounted 23 times before she escaped. So I have have a huge R.I.R. and (2) Sexlinks going to the sale. Hopefully I can get a few more hens while there!
     
  7. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you, thank you for all of the helpful replies. I guess I will have to see who gets along with whom before I decide which has to go. I just love them all. I love my little frizzle cochin, Darcy, b/c he's such a tame sweetie but he's so smal compared to the others that I worry. Beaky is my naked neck and he is gorgeous! I don't know how her will fair either. My dominant cockerel of the 18 chicks is the orpington (he's already attempting little crows!) so I think he might be most apt to spar with Gomer, my grown rooster. Then there's Jack, the barred Rock. He's not tame or anything, he's actually a bit quiet and keeps to himself, but he's going to be beautiful and I'm particularly fond of Barred Rocks - originally I wanted just a whole flock of that breed.
    I couldn't just take them to a sale and how do you slaughter a pretty little chicken like a frizzle or Beaky?
    I could find a good home for them but no one wants roos. I would love for Beaky to have a good home. Maybe b/c he's a little unusual it might be easier to place him...
    Anyway, I do appreciate the feedback. Part of this, I guess, was my just talking it through to myself! ;-)
     
  8. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Please excuse the hijack-Ovenready your rooster is beautiful.

    EastTXChick - thanks for that, I'll let him know in the morning he'll be delighted, not that he needs any more admirers thans he's already got. [​IMG]
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    My normal advice is to keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. Many keep multiple roosters and don't have any problems. Others have problems. The 10 hens per rooster ratio is for fertility purposes only. It is not a magic number that guarantees you that you will or will not have problems either with roosters fighting or with barebacked hens. These threads might help you.

    Number of roosters thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=219443

    Managing multiple roosters
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=229968

    Breeders managing roosters
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=250327

    Good luck!
     
  10. Opal The Hen

    Opal The Hen New Egg

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    I had four hens but one turned out to be a rooster, one died from an egg getting stuck in her(probally), and one died from a hawk. I now only have opal, a(sorry for bad word but it's the breed) black sex link. We had all breeds known for niceness, not laying eggs( but they still layed them) If you have breeds known for Eggs over niceness, then 10 hens per rooster. If you have chickens known for niceness over eggs then 5-8 hens per rooster
     

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