How many roosters in one coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newchickenista, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2012
    Southeastern, Oklahoma
    I have a coop that has a 10' x 20' run and an 8' x 10' house with plenty of roost space. I will have 17 hens in this coop, will I be able to keep 2 roosters in this coop?
  2. beb444

    beb444 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2015
    Northern CA
    I've read 1 roo per 8 hens so I think you should be fine.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Unless you have a true need for those two specific roosters, (not just, " I wound up with these two roosters and I like them both and don't want to get rid of them), I'd go with just one. Two roosters are a pain to manage. They can get along well until BAM, one day out of the blue one challenges the other and you may have an injured or dead rooster. I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying why go through all the hassle?
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I agree. If fertile eggs is your goal, one roo could probably cover 17 hens. I had 2 cockerels (3.5 months old) who were hatch mates who one day decided to fight - one ended up dying from his injuries.

  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    If you do need 2 specific cock/erels for propagating specific breeds, then you'll need to separate them with their specific hens anyway.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    They are living animals so no one can give you guarantees one way or the other, but that’s not a lot of room. Age makes a difference too, there is a difference in cockerels and roosters and how well they control their hormones.

    I’ve also had a cockerel kill another cockerel. I was raising 18 cockerels in my flock with an adult rooster and 7 hens. I bought the cockerels so there were no pullets in the mix. Around 16 weeks of age one took an intense dislike to another and consistently chased and attacked him. I was waiting for them to grow a bit more before I ate them but one day the weaker cockerel was killed. After that the 17 cockerels got along OK. I put them in the freezer in three batches, 18, 21 and 25 weeks. Just something in their personality caused one to really dislike another. I thought I had enough room for them to work it out. It had always worked in the past but not in this case.

    They can fight to the death but what normally happens when chickens fight (hens, pullets, and cockerels as well as roosters) is that at some point one decides they are better off running away than continuing the fight. There is often some chasing involved and possibly a rematch or two, but eventually they reach an accommodation. They recognize which one outranks the other and get along peacefully, maybe the weaker avoiding the stronger, sometimes not. Usually once they work out the pecking order/dominance issues they get along OK. A very important aspect of this is that they have to have enough room to run away, get away, and avoid. You don’t have a lot of room.

    When two mature roosters reach an accommodation they normally divide the flock, each getting his own harem. They may sleep in the same coop at night but set up different territories during the day. It’s best not to leave them locked in the coop too long after they wake up either. They are avoiding each other during the day. If the dominant rooster sees the subordinate mounting a hen he just might knock him off, thus causing conflict. If they don’t have enough room to avoid each other you set the stage for a lot of potential conflict. You are taking a chance.

    But there is another argument where it might work. Seems like there always is another argument with chickens and their behavior. Hatcheries want all their eggs fertile but they don’t want to pay to feed any more roosters than they have to. They generally use the pen breeding system. This is where all the roosters and hens are put in the same pen and allowed to mate at random. In a different thread CT said that in Kenya they use a 7 to 1 ratio, while here in the states a 10 to 1 ratio is normal for full sized breeds and maybe 12 or even 15 to 1 for bantams. The monitor fertility and add more roosters if they need to so the ratios are a bit fluid. These ratios are about fertility only. You’ll often see these ratios quoted on this forum as if they are magic numbers where they resolve all problems, but they have nothing to do with roosters fighting, hens being over-mated, anything like that. It’s just about fertility in the pen breeding method.

    They may have 20 roosters and 200 hens in the same pen and all the roosters don’t kill each other. But if you have 20 chickens at 4 square feet per chicken, you have 80 square feet total. If you had 200 chickens at 3 square feet per chicken they still have 600 square feet work with. Quite a difference. That’s a lot more room to run away.

    Normally one fairly active rooster can keep 20 or more hens fertile in different housing methods. Many of us have seen that. But each flock has its own dynamics and each chicken has its own personality. You’d need to check the eggs for fertility to see how it’s working out for your flock. Personally I’d be comfortable with one rooster with 17 hens as far as fertility.

    I always advise keeping as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. That’s not because you are absolutely guaranteed problems with more roosters, just that it is more likely. I don’t know your goals or how many roosters are right for you. You can certainly try keeping both but have a plan B ready. You may or may not need it, but if you do, you’ll need it quickly.

    Good luck!

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