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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Remudamom, Jul 24, 2009.
I know I have too many roos.
Maybe you should ask how many hens per rooster. By the way, roosters are chickens.
the ratio 10:1
I knew that didn't sound right when I asked! Thanks.
The size of your chickens (bantam or fullsized) and your goals for roosters wil enter into the equation.
If you want to assure the eggs are most likely fertile, you need at least one full sized rooster for every 10 to 12 hens or at least one bantam for every 12 to 15 hens as long as they are reasonably young and energetic. It can vary some by rooster and by age. You can have lower hen to rooster ratios to be even more sure most eggs are fertile, but this increases the possiblility of other problems.
If your goals revolve around roosters are really neat loooking and have great, interesting personalities, then you can have more. Or if you just want a flock protector that helps keep his hens in line, you can have less. Having more comes with risks however.
You can have problems with more than one rooster. One of them will be dominant. They determine which one that will be by fighting. Sometimes they resolve the dominance issue without one getting seriously hurt and then form a good partnership taking care of the flock. Sometimes it is a fight to the death. It mainly depends on the personalities of the individual roosters but it can be influenced by different things. If the roosters are raised in the same flock it seems to increase the likelyhood they will work out their differences, whether this is brothers raised in the same brood or a male chick raised with the flock, but it is no guarantee there will not be bloodshed. The hen-rooster ratio has a part to play also. The more hens to share, the more likely they will work it out. There is no magic ratio of hens to roosters where there is a guarantee that there will not be a fight to the death. Same thing with space. Thge more room you have, the better the odds an accommodation can be worked out, but there is no magic number.
Another potential problem that more roosters can make worse is barebacked hens. When mating occurs, it is not all that unusual or all that bad for the hen to occasionally lose a feather. Whe this gets to the point that bare spots start showing up, it is getting serious and needs to be addressed. If it goes further and the hen gets wounded, it can be fatal. This can be a serious issue.
Again, there is no magic number where this is not a potential problem. A recent poster had 1 rooster with 18 hens and had some barebacked hens. Some roosters have rough techniques and long sharp spurs, so are more likely to injure a hen. Many times a rooster will pick out favorites and give them too much individual attention. A heavy rooster is more likely to cause this problem than a lighter one. And the more roosters you have, the greater the likelyhood of this problem.
I've seen a few posts on here where people have two roosters and two hens and do not have serious fighting or barebacked hens problems. I've seen a lot of posts where the hen to rooster ratio is much higher and they have serious problems. If you have more than one rooster, there will be fighting. The lower the hen to rooster ratio, the greater the likelyhood that you will have serious problems with either fighting or barebacked hens. And when the hen to rooster ratio gets really low, the odds of a problem really go way up.
My personal advice is to keep as few roosters with your hens as you can to achieve your goals. The more hens per rooster, the greater the likelyhood of a peaceful content flock and flock owner.
Ridgerunner: one couldn't have said it better - great reply!