How many roosters can my flock tolerate?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by iamcuriositycat, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking of keeping three roosters with a total of ten to fifteen hens. I'm wanting experienced feedback on whether this set-up is likely to cause problems, and any considerations I should take into account. Here's how it would look:

    One silkie rooster (currently fully mature) with three to four silkie hens. They would be cooped separately (the hens are frequently broody and get cooped alone in "nurseries" when they are--the rooster is cooped with whatever hens are not currently broody or raising babies), but free range with everyone on most days.

    One RIR rooster (currently immature) and one barred rock rooster (currently a chick--I'm just assuming I will get at least one roo out of the batch). They would be cooped together, along with two easter egger hens, one buff orpington hen, and several barred rock hens, and free range during the day.

    I also have a breeding pen, where I will sometimes separate one of the roosters & some hens for when I want either purebred BRs or black sex links.

    Any thoughts or concerns?

    I'm an experienced fowl keeper (quail and ducks), and have had a tiny flock of silkies for a couple of years. This is my first year with a full-size chicken flock, so I appreciate the help! Thanks. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thought I should add: None of the roosters will have been raised together, although the barred rock will have been raised by a silkie hen and therefore introduced to the silkie rooster in a friendly way. The RIR and the silkie rooster already seem to get along fine, though the RIR is still a juvenile, so time will tell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't see much of a problem with the Silkies. My Silkie rooster has 5 hens (but one was just recently acquired, he did just fine with just 4). I leave my rooster in with my broodies. The broodies have their own cage to prevent other hens from laying in her nest, but my rooster absolutely adores the little chicks when they come out of the brooding cage, he feeds them and I've found him keeping them warm occasionally. I don't think its completely necessary to separate them (unless your guy is a jerk). But, if your set up works for you, why mess with a good thing?

    Here's where I see a problem happening, its with your standard flock. With two roosters on duty, I'd keep a minimum of 20 hens and since they both sound young that may be pushing it. Watching two roos fight for dominance while trying to mount a hen (all at the same time, both at the same time) is really ugly and it usually results in the girls getting injured. Not too mention the drop in egg production numorous boys can cause.

    If you're really set on keeping them all, I would build yourself a bachelor pad. Keep them both in there most of the time and remove one or the other depending upon who you want chicks from, whos better at watching out for the girls when free ranging, ect. The hens won't have to worry about constantly being harassed by them and they'll keep each other company (with minimal to zero fighting). Depending on their personalities, they could be fine all living together, but most likely not. I had 3 roosters in my laying flock last year and they did ok together. But they had 60 hens to share between the 3 of them. Even with that many girls, they'd still fight. Occasionally I'd come home to find someone seriously bloodied but most of the time it would be a minor squabble. With the number of hens you plan of keeping, they'll probably be running into each other more often. Anyway, just my two cents. Good luck!
    Nikki
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the feedback! Maybe I'll go ahead and let the RIR rooster go, then, and stick with just the BR rooster.

    To clarify, the silkie rooster isn't separated from the broody hens to protect the babies from him--he's very sweet with the babies. It's more a matter of the broodies being locked in "nurseries" to protect the babies from other things--birds of prey, predators, watering holes (I've had seven-week-olds drown in the duck pool), etc. And it allows the rooster to continue to free range with the hens I want him to keep fertilized. :)
     

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