How many roosters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by oldfartfarmer, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. oldfartfarmer

    oldfartfarmer Chirping

    May 10, 2015
    I have 6 golden comets now,
    come next month I'm going to order 8 more chicks (first time with chicks)
    im leaning heavily towards 4-Brahmas, a Black jersey,Barred Plymouth rock,gold or silver laced wyandotte,

    how many roosters are acceptable in a small flock? I'm figuring 1,
    why would one have more than one?

    what are roosters good for? ok quit laughing,,i know about the birds and the bees, but not chickens,

    If i order a Brahma rooster,
    will i end up with a crossbreed in the others I've listed above?
    is this a bad thing?

    ok some more laughter for you,

    say in 9 months after having the chicks, and there laying eggs,
    how does one know if the rooster had a party, and the poor girl is preggers,
    can one still gather and eat the eggs?
    see im a 50 yr old confused male,

    how do i know when to leave mom alone to hatch more chicks?


    john--confused in maine

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi there! Number one, your age is not the issue, but gender could well be ;) (my wife would certainly agree).

    General rule is 10 hens per roo, but a randy little tinker can cover more.

    Some people say Roos are good flock defenders or at least alarm systems. IMO a top ranking chicken does the same job (almost). Unless you want fertile eggs then the crowing and other less wonderful aspects of adolescent Roos are a pain.

    Fertile eggs are visible when you crack an egg. Search for "egg fertility" in the search box for more details.

    Crosses of breeds and likely outcomes I'm clueless about.

    Lots of info about letting mum hatch eggs on BYC but maybe leave that till a little later down the road.

    Hope this bit of help from a similarly confused 45 year helps.

    All the best
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    The recommended ratio is 1 cock for every 8-10 hens. This will allow for good fertility, while preventing overmating and harassment of the hens. This rule can be bent if you use hen saddles, but in a small flock the absolute minimum with hen saddles I would quote around 1:6 cocks to hens.

    Breeders often use backup cocks - if you've got valuable birds on your hands and you need to produce chicks reliably every year, it's always a good idea to keep a secondary cock on hand in case your main breeder is injured. However, if you are simply breeding backyard mixes, then there's no real reason to have more than one cock (unless they are pets). There's no shortage of males seeking homes, so if your main cock is injured/killed, you can quite easily find another suitable bird free to a good home within a matter of days.

    Cockbirds are useful if you want to produce your own chicks, want a bird who can keep an eye out and warn the ladies of predators, or if you would like some pretty chicken eye candy in your yard. I personally say that while a bad rooster can be very detrimental to a flock, a good rooster is an excellent and beneficial addition.

    I would HIGHLY recommend a Brahma rooster. They are large, docile birds, and will make great backyard breeders. The only issue you might encounter is slightly lower fertility, since their fluff is so thick it can interfere with mating - this can easily be fixed by trimming the feathers around the vent (butt), and even then not all Brahma cocks will experience this issue.

    Nothing wrong with mixed breed chicks, as long as you want them for meat/eggs, not showing or exhibition

    If you have a rooster in your flock chances are 99% of eggs laid will be fertile. Fertile eggs are fully edible and there is no difference in taste or appearance, except that fertile eggs will show a small white bullseye on the yolk (as opposed to a misshapen dot on an infertile yolk).

    Hens will brood and raise chicks when they wish. Broodiness is when the hen plucks her breast feathers away, and begins spending most of the day in the best, leaving only once or twice to eat and poop. Some hens may never try to hatch eggs and some may brood on a monthly basis. Certain breeds (Legorns, Sex Links) have been bred not to brood, while others (Brahmas, Cochins, Silkies) still have plenty of mothering instinct in them. If you notice a hen has become broody, you can either try to "break" her by putting her in a wire cage with air flow beneath her belly, eventually causing her to give up, or you can separate her and give her eggs to sit on and hatch.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Songster

    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    The recommended number of hens per rooster is 8-10 so the hens aren't being over mated but a rooster can handle quite a few more so I would recommend just one but I'm sure you could probably keep two if they were raised together
  5. RoosterDon

    RoosterDon Chirping

    Jul 19, 2014
    Austin Texas
    My experience has been that a roos can turn mean then it is good to have a backup in the wings on his way up. If you have a sweet roos who is gentle with the ladies but a good protector then that is the best possible situation. I have one roos who is the man and the one in charge and number two rooster takes his position well. If he at some point wants to take over number one and turns mean then I will start over. Nothing worse then a mean rooster. And I agree that it is really good to have them for protection, especially if you free range. A protective rooster will stand watch 24/7 and make warning noises if he detects anything out of the ordinary outside the pen.

    I had a raccoon get in and come up the ramp to the roost and one of my young roos fought him off and died. But he might have saved some of the ladies. It was a proud and sad moment finding him the next morning.
  6. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Songster

    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    You can often times make a rooster nice again
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    The first thing you need when you begin to keep a rooster is a very sharp knife. There are a lot of roosters that do not belong in a backyard flock. If you don't think you can cull something you have raised, don't get roosters. Personally I think you get better roosters, when they are raised in a flock. I don't think I would order a chick, but rather look around you, there will be crazy chicken people around you, and I would ask for a rooster. Often times people have kept a really nice rooster longer than they planned just because he was so darn nice, and that is what you should start with.

    I just recently crossed a pretty good quality rooster over riff-raff hens, and got some nice chicks. They will kind of look like their parents, and kind of look different, but they will grow up and lay eggs if they are hens. However, 50% give or take of those chicks will be roosters, so again, you will need your sharp knife.

    You probably should consider your neighbors- and how close they are to the coop. Some roosters crow a lot. If you have more than one rooster they can get into a crowing contest. If you have a backyard flock and are just playing (like me) with raising new birds and gathering eggs, one rooster is enough. I think really any dual purpose rooster would work for you.

    this is a fun hobby

    Mrs K

  8. GuineaFowling

    GuineaFowling Songster

    Oct 3, 2013
    Central California
    As others have said, one rooster is enough. Brahma is a good, sweet breed as well. I found my favorite roosters where barred rocks, orpingtons, and Australorps.
  9. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    You can't make a mean rooster nice again, but you can make him scared of you. If he turns into a shin flogger whoop his butt, if he comes back for seconds, get the stew pot out.
  10. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Songster

    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    Ya that's what I meant sorry if I wasn't clear

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