how many roosters

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fullerfamfarm, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. fullerfamfarm

    fullerfamfarm Out Of The Brooder

    31
    3
    41
    May 18, 2015
    Texas
    Hello
    I am wondering how many roosters would be smart for our flock of 21. We ordered 1 but were sent 3 :)
    Many thanks
    Katie
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,232
    7,617
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    A lot depends upon the temperament of the roosters involved. If they were mine, I would allow all to mature. Any that showed human aggression would be eliminated. If they started gang breeding or overbreeding the hens, the most aggressive would be removed. Assess the flock situation/dynamics and make adjustments accordingly.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. fullerfamfarm

    fullerfamfarm Out Of The Brooder

    31
    3
    41
    May 18, 2015
    Texas
    what symptoms would the ladies show if they were being mistreated? loss of feathers? they are just now coming to maturity.
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,232
    7,617
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Loss of feathers would be one sign, scratches or skin gashes back of the wings just anterior to the legs would be a signal for immediate action. Groups of roosters chasing a single hen and attempting to knock one another off of her can cause this physical damage as can overly large or clumsy roosters.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    32,744
    5,505
    556
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    When they first come into maturity it can be really chaotic.
    The cockerels are ready before the pullets and can be very aggressive, especially with more than one male present due to the competitive environment.
    Many folks separate young cockerels until the pullets have started laying and are more receptive to being mated.
    Hard to assess cockerel behavior that young.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,950
    3,111
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Katie, my standard recommendation is to keep as few roosters as you can and meet your goals. It’s not that you are guaranteed problems with more roosters, just that they are more likely. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference.

    You’ll often see magic numbers quoted on here for chickens. One of those supposed magic numbers is hen to rooster ratio, for full sized fowl often quoted at 10 hens per rooster. I’m sorry but there is no magic in those numbers. You can see hens barebacked or acting over-mated with one rooster and over 20 hens. Breeders regularly keep one rooster with one or two hens in breeding pens for the breeding season and don’t have those problems. If roosters are going to fight it doesn’t matter if there are 50 hens or only 1.

    Two or more mature roosters can live with a flock and often do, but you normally need a lot more space when you add a second rooster. You are dealing with living animals so behavior is not always consistent, but normally two (or more) roosters will determine which is the dominant one and then split the flock into harems. Each rooster claims a certain territory so they can avoid each other during the day. If you don’t have enough room for them to claim territory and stay out of line-of-sight of each other your potential for conflict goes way up. Normally doesn’t mean always but more space is a lot better than less.

    That’s for mature roosters. Many people make the mistake in confusing pullets and cockerels for hens and roosters. They are not. The cockerels have hormones running out of control once they kick in and no self-control. The pullets don’t mature as quickly and don’t have a clue what is going on so they resist. The cockerels are bigger so force is used. Once they mature into adults things normally settle down but watching adolescents sort this out and go through the maturing phase is often not for the faint of heart.

    I don’t know what your goals are but since you only ordered one rooster I’d think one just might suit you. I know goals change though. Good luck with your decision.

    In addition to Sour’s comments, another sign or over-mating is when the hens or usually pullets stay on the roosts during the day or somewhere the cockerels or roosters have trouble getting to them.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by