How many hens per rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dianehodges, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. dianehodges

    dianehodges Chirping

    Dec 10, 2010
    I have one rooster and now 3 hens just introduced Charlie (new hen) to Little Richard and the girls I have six more chicks coming in March If they all survive, that will be 9 hens Will I need another rooster

    1 veteran, 1 red dog 1 rooster and 3 hens [​IMG]

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    No, you will not need another rooster if your intent is fertile eggs. One rooster should easily be able to keep that many hens fertile.

    There is a myth on this forum that you have to have 10 hens for every rooster or terrible things will happen. Ten hens per rooster makes a nice flock and is a great target to shoot for, but many breeders keep one rooster with one or two hens without problems. And many people have flocks with one rooster and many more hens and have good fertility. There is no such thing as a magic ratio that solves all problems and makes the world a better place in all situations.

    The ten to one ratio is what hatcheries have found that works best for them to get fertile eggs when you have a pen breeding situation. That is where you have maybe 20 roosters in a pen with 200 hens. Due to the random nature of breeding in that situation, that is the ratio that works for them to get fertile eggs.

    You don't have a pen breeding situation so that 10 to 1 does not apply. But your 9 to 1 will make for a great flock. I think you are in really great shape.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Crowing

    May 3, 2011
    Magic Birdie land
    I agree, it's fine.
  4. duckinnut

    duckinnut Songster

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    They say the ratio is 1 rooster for 10 hens, so a 9 to 1 ratio should be fine. Although the new girls I wouldn't introduce them until they are big enough to sustain him.[​IMG]

  5. Feanor

    Feanor Chirping

    May 15, 2012
    Thanks for the explanation Ridgerunner, I've got 30 hens and one young rooster (about 10 months old) and most every egg I crack has a fertility bulls eye on it. If I watch them for five minutes I see him mount at least once or twice, so I can only imagine how much he's mating over a 14 hour day. I've also seen hens come up to him and squat (I guess when they think it's their time?). I'm about to set some eggs in the bator and will update on the fertility rate in a few days. I was worried that I would need to separate him with ten hens after reading all the "suggested" ratios, but now I think I'll give it a shot with random good-looking eggs.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    And he's the happiest rooster around!

    I ran one roo with around 17-20 hens and had good fertility.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by