How many roosters to keep?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dukes7779, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Dukes7779

    Dukes7779 Chirping

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    So out of my 8 straight run silkies, it turns out that 6 are roosters!! What are the odds?! Apparently 3:1, lol. I have 10 various other hens. All chickens are six months old but two of the roos are becoming quite aggressive and actually came after me today. Given the high number of roos and their aggressiveness I am going to rehome some. My question is how many roosters is a good number for the 12 hens? I've heard that you don't want just one rooster, but how many is a good ratio? Thanks!
     
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  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Why do you want a rooster? What are your goals relative to a rooster? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is just personal preference. Why would you want someone else's personal preference to rule yours? Why do "they" say you want to keep more than one? I don't.

    I generally recommend that you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more roosters, but that problems are more likely.

    I don't know why you want a rooster. I have no idea what the right number for you is.
     
  3. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crossing the Road

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    I wouldn't have more than one rooster for 12 hens. (Yours are actually cockerels and pullets, btw) The two aggressive ones would be the first I got rid of, but know that they will be the most difficult to rehome, unless you rehome them to the freezer. I have 3 cockerels to 1 pullet in the 4 straight run chicks I bought. I knew I was risking this, but I want a rooster because I don't want to raise chicks anymore. I want my hens to do that for me. Having 3 cockerels gives me a chance to pick the one with the best personality around the hens, pullet and me. I'll keep a bachelor pad for a while to accomplish this goal. Then the other two will be culled.
     
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  4. CluckNDoodle

    CluckNDoodle Crowing

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    I'm sure there are always exceptions to the "rules" but if you google hen to rooster ratio it recommends 12:1 for really "active" roosters, and 6:1 for a laid back rooster, it actually suggests that Silkie roosters are laid back. However, my friend had 1 Silkie rooster that provided nearly 100% fertility over 10-12 hens.
    If your question has nothing to do with wanting fertilized eggs and you just love your roos and want to know the maximum number you can keep without the hens being overworked, you may need to experiment by reducing their numbers until you're down to your favorites and base your decisions on whether your flock is left with their backs being bald from lovin'. lol
     
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  5. Dukes7779

    Dukes7779 Chirping

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    My chickens free range is one reason I’d like a rooster, to keep an eye out for the girls. Also, one of the roosters was very high maintenance as a chick and was nursed back to health from 5 days old and is now very healthy and not a problem at all at this point. I already have a new home for as many as I want to get rid of.
     
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  6. Soy Milano

    Soy Milano Chirping

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  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I don't believe roosters add that much protection as many others believe but what matters is that you do. Since yours free range I'd keep two. That way if you lose one to a predator you still have another. Or is one turns out to be a pure brute you can get rid of him and have a spare.

    I agree that the ratios of hens to roosters means nothing. You can have the same issues with one rooster and 25 hens as one rooster and 3 hens. I regularly keep one rooster with 6 to 8 hens. @Shadrach has had good success with one rooster per three hens. I personally believe how much room you have makes a lot of difference, the more room the better. Since yours free range that means a lot of room.
     
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  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Free Ranging

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    I do use a rooster for free ranging, but a full size boy. I would only have one rooster. A person can easily get another rooster, nearly any time of the year. And now with the very short days of winter, you really don't get as much free-ranging done, or I don't.

    One rooster for a dozen girls is a nice flock. Two roosters are more trouble than they are worth. However, I do not have any experience with silkie roosters.

    Mrs K
     
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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Free range was the key for me. Even if they share a coop there is a pretty good chance they will be able to work it out and coexist. If space were limited I'd feel differently. And as far as I am concerned, a rooster is a rooster regardless of breed.

    As I said, I personally don't think a rooster is going to offer any real protection but that is my opinion. When I have had one rooster with larger flocks the flock doesn't normally stay all together. I don't know if you have observed this but certain hens tend to stick pretty close to the rooster while other "cliques" roam more on their own. The hope is that with two roosters they will form two separate flocks when they are out and more hens will be closer to a rooster. Plus, with them free ranging if you really want a rooster it might be good to have a spare.
     
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  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

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    I have a slightly larger flock, and three breeding groups, and like to have one or two roosters for each group. There's a 'spare' if something happens to one of them.
    So I raise chicks every year, and select very few cockerels as 'keepers'.
    Temperment is #1, and no flaws in conformation (not looking for SQ, but good structure), and no health issues.
    Out of your cockerels, I'd eliminate the two human aggressive ones, and the one that had health issues as a chick. That last bird might find a home, with full disclosure, but the human aggressive boys would find the freezer somewhere.
    That leaves you with three to choose from, and more time to sort them out. One or two at the most might stay, if they continue to be nice.
    Mary
     

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