How Many Hens to Each Rooster and How Long?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jlgoinggreen, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. jlgoinggreen

    jlgoinggreen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2009
    South Central PA
    I am thinking of having two separate pens for breeding besides my main pen. I have customers that do not want to buy fertile eggs, so I have our hens for egg consumption in one pen and wanted a separate pen for breeding. We have decided for now to only breed two different breeds.

    What I was thinking is having 1 rooster with 2 hens in each pen of each particular breed. Would it be a bad idea to keep this as a permanent thing? The same two hens permanently with the same rooster? Would it be too much for the hens to have this rooster constantly with them or will they be OK?
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It may or may not be too much activity for the hens. Give it a try, and if the hens become overmated, remove the rooster. Then allow him once weekly conjugal visits. One mating can make a hen fertile for 2+ weeks.
  3. jlgoinggreen

    jlgoinggreen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2009
    South Central PA
    Quote:Thank you sourland, but how do I know if they are getting overmated? I've always had all my chickens free ranging and only had one rooster for about 16 hens. Wasn't doing it for breeding purposes, I just ended up with a rooster someone gave my son. This is the first time I want to breed for fertile eggs on purpose.

    I like your idea of separating and only bringing them together once a week. If I were to raise the two roosters I plan to use together from chicks, do you think they will get along? They will be two different breeds.
  4. Pagan Prince

    Pagan Prince Chillin' With My Peeps

    Over here, we often work with "Breeding trios". I have two Black rock hens I have in with a Buff Orp Cockrell... he's not killed them or over serviced them yet ... but he's still under a year old. (Yr in June)

    Mind you ... I'm begining to think he's "Firing blanks" .... Lots of action and no results.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Looks like this is a good thread for you. You'll note it often gets better as they mature.

    Breeders managing roosters

    What people often think of as overmating is when a hen becomes barebacked. That is where the rooster removed enugh of her feathers on the small of the back area that she is in danger of being cut by his claws or spurs during mating. Sometimes you will see chunks of feathers missing from the back of her head. There is no magic number or magic ratio of hens to rooster that causes this or prevents this. Many people will quote a 10 hens per rooster ratio, but that is a ferility ratio, not a barebacked hen ratio.
  6. JRchickchick

    JRchickchick Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 16, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    I currently have 16 hens to 1 rooster, the hens a mix of White Leghorns, Golden Sex Links, and Black Australorps. They are last year's Spring chicks, and I am noticing a couple of hens that have the feathers broken off on their backs, getting bare-backed, from his growing spurs I would imagine. I am going to remove the spurs tonight, with the neat trick of twist and pulling the outer spur shell that I found information on here. I am going to watch, to make sure the bare-backs aren't getting more damage (bleeding), they are all nice hens.

    I have 18 new chicks in another area, and when they get bigger, 15-16 weeks, will introduce them, slowly. I just noticed one chick having little wattles, and the comb is starting to be a little more prominent, and they are only 8 weeks old. While I only bought pullets, I'm pretty sure she is a he, and I will need to find a home or see if I can introduce him as the younger, secondary rooster. He is either a California Gray, or a Cuckoo Maran, they both look very similar at this age unfortunately!

    I am hoping 1 rooster - 16 hens is a good ratio, but may have to simply find him a new home. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by