How many roosters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Elocyn, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Elocyn

    Elocyn Just Hatched

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    Hi there,

    I accidentally posted this in the new member introductions section so sorry if you've already read this.

    I'm hoping some chicken experts here can help me out with some advice. We have a rooster who has now fathered a couple of (now 7 week-old) chicks and I'm pretty sure one is a cockerel. This means we'll have 11 hens and two roosters. I think we have enough hens to accommodate the two roosters, but we are potentially interested in taking on another cockerel also - my sister is raising chicks that she got from a local hatchery, but one is looking increasingly male at 5 weeks old. My question is whether you guys think it's possible to harmoniously keep three roosters (my nieces are attached and we'd rather not send him away if we can avoid it)? If so, can you suggest any ways to make this work? Would we need more hens? Would we introduce the chicks first while they're still young and then let them assimilate into the flock and with the adult rooster when they're closer to adulthood? I should mention that our chicks are still with their mum, so I imagine she would chase away a new chick?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG]

    My first question would be why you want roosters. Are you planning on breeding? If so, you need to consider each rooster's attributes and what he may add to the flock. Then I would pick the one most likely to help meet my flock goals and keep him. I would not keep the other two. One rooster can easily cover 20 hens. How many hens do you plan on getting to keep three roosters busy? Do you have enough room that you can house three separate flocks? Three separate coops and enough space between them that they can each carve out their own territory if free ranging?

    People can and do keep multiple roosters without problems. People also attempt to keep multiple roosters and it ends up in a bloodbath as they hit that hormonal stage. Some roosters raised together tend to get along better than those who aren't, but still - when they reach sexual maturity, all bets are off.

    Ridgerunner always advises to keep as few roosters as necessary to meet your flock goals. This is very good advice.

    Your hen would not only chase away a new chick, she could possibly kill it.

    If your sister can't keep a cockerel, it may be time for the nieces to learn about subtraction being part of chicken math. If it's dealt with in a matter of fact way, they will adjust to it just fine. Kids are more resilient than we often give them credit for. Will they feel bad? Probably. They might even cry. But sooner or later they'll have to learn that we can't keep them all. It's the hard part about chicken keeping.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
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  3. mustangrooster

    mustangrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]Hello and welcome to BYC! Thanks for joining us!

    I will try my best to answer your questions..

    My question is whether you guys think it's possible to harmoniously keep three roosters (my nieces are attached and we'd rather not send him away if we can avoid it)?

    My answer to that would be you can very well keep more than three roosters....I have 9 roosters, and they all live in harmony. But thats just how things have worked for me...other people have very bad luck.. The top rooster in the coop fathered 3 of his own sons a while back....one got to go to a new home, the third one became the top rooster in the free range area, and the second one became well your everyday rooster. Now if you put Cody (the 'Alpha' free range rooster) And Mr Rooster (The 'Alpha' Coop rooster) they will fight and fight untill one of them dies....why? Because they are both the top birds....and never sorted out their pecking order when Cody was younger...and they are both in different environment with their own hens. All the other roosters in the coop get along so well..rarely is their a scratch up..why? Because everyone has sorted out their pecking order because they are all in the same coop.

    Can you suggest any ways to make this work?

    Expose the suspected\ cockerel in with the already top rooster. If possible put your broody hen with the chicks in the coop/or where the top rooster is. Your suspected cockerel will grow up around the top rooster, and as he grows older, your rooster will sort this guy out, and assert his dominance, the cockerel will know his place sooner or later...

    Would we need more hens?

    If you plan on having 3 roosters per 11 hens, thats a good enough ratio.....you might want to look into getting a few more hens if you wish....i would suggest you do, but really that is entirely up to you....sorry i cant really answer this question in depth...its not exactly my best area..

    Would we introduce the chicks first while they're still young and then let them assimilate into the flock and with the adult rooster when they're closer to adulthood?

    [​IMG] Apologizes, i dont entirely understand this question....are you saying that you want to get another cockerel chick and give it to the broody hen while its still young? Or do you mean would you introduce the chicks to the flock while they are still young with the adult rooster? If so yes, if i were you i would be putting the broody hen and her chicks in with the flock and the adult rooster...dont introduce the cockerel to the rooster when the cockerel is an adult...he either wont fit in and be picked on all the time, or it might be a fight till...well...you never know..

    I should mention that our chicks are still with their mum, so I imagine she would chase away a new chick?

    It entirely depends on the hen, some will accept a new chick with ease, some will take a while, and some might even kill a new chick, or as you said, just chase it away, or it might ignore it...it also depends on the age of the chick...

    If you have any more questions dont be afraid to ask! Best of luck
    Cheers

    -Mustang
     
  4. Elocyn

    Elocyn Just Hatched

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    Thanks, Bobbi-J and Mustang, for your advice.

    Wow, 9 roosters! That's impressive!!

    Mustang, yes, I can see why you find my question about introducing cockerels to the flock confusing! Sorry! What I meant is that we essentially have three separate boys. We have an adult rooster (Henny Penny - long story!!) who fathered Corky (our 7 week old cockerel). My sister is currently also raising a 5 week old cockerel (Stormy) with her children. Stormy was meant to be a pullet but is turning out not to be, so my sister is hoping to pass him on to us if we can accommodate a third boy. I hope I'm not making things more confusing!

    I guess my questions then are:

    1. Would it be sensible, or at least not crazy, to take on Stormy? If so, how should I go about it? None of the boys have met previously and as I mentioned, Corky is still being looked after by the broody hen (in a separate section of the coop). I don't think we have a way to separate that section into two without one sectioned off area being exposed to all the weather.

    2. At what age should I introduce the cockerel(s) to our adult rooster? Corky could currently have limited interactions with the main flock (including with Henny Penny) through the wire, though the main flock spend most of their time free ranging away from the coop.

    Thanks again for all your advice! :)
     
  5. Rach4

    Rach4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey it's not really advice but we have 3 roosters and 8 hens, they all get on fine, one of the roosters is the leader of the pack and the other two accept it, we had a cat in the yard the other day and they all band together to protect the flock until I could get outside and deal with it. Again this is just our experience and I am in no position to give advice. I asked the same question and I was also told by another member they were in the same position. I also had others say it's not a good idea which I also took on board but decided to give it a go, which I am glad else I would have culled them for no reason (again just our experience). I am not sure if breeds etc matter as we have old english bantams Good Luck!
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Hello,

    I do not think you will be easily convinced that it is a bad idea to have a Rooster with two young Cockerels.....Try it and see....Be prepared when the Cockerels turn into teens and challenge the Rooster and chase the Hens.....It wont be fun at your place.......Cockerels are young and COCKY, stupid young males that have no manners....

    As stated by the other posters, Only have one Rooster.......


    Best of luck..


    Cheers!
     
  7. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can but you need lot's of hens. Some roosters just will not put up with another male being around, some tolerate them, and some actually enjoy another rooster.
     
  8. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It also might work if you gave the boys their own bachelor pad.
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    There really is no one size fits all answer here. There are so many factors at play. Space being a big one. If you let them free range, it could help. If they're all cooped up, it will be more difficult. Chickens don't have a sense of "family" like we do. They understand and recognize flock mates and flock dynamics. We don't live those things, so we don't understand them like a chicken does. My friend's rooster was killed by his son in a fight for dominance. Being raised together doesn't mean peace and harmony will always reign.

    The only way you will know is to try it. Follow Chicken Really's advice and be prepared to separate them if things turn ugly. When it does, it will happen fast and you should have plans put in place.

    Sometimes you can have a lot of roosters with a few hens. Sometimes the hens will be run ragged. They will be chased away from food and water, not allowed to dust bathe or anything else because one rooster will want to breed, and the other two will want to also breed that same hen.

    Dekel had a good suggestion with the bachelor pen. That is one way you can keep them all without stressing your hens or chancing a blowout between the three of them.

    As far as when to introduce them, I don't know. You could put your broody and chicks in with the flock now. I have found the ideal time for that integration is when the chicks are roughly 2 weeks old or so. That's what works best for me, anyway. The chicks are young enough that the broody is still protective, and the older chickens don't see them as a threat. If you wait until Stormy is too old, the other males will likely see him as a threat, and that won't go well.

    If it were my flock, I'd stick with the older rooster and rehome the other two. I'd keep the older one as he's a known factor. You are already familiar with his personality and know if he's prone to human aggression or not .

    Do you plan on raising more chicks from your flock? What are your plans for the next cockerels that hatch out? You need to start thinking about that now, as you will surely hatch out more with each batch. Eventually you will run out of room and won't be able to keep them all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    This is great advice. Don't try to take on this cockerel. It's just going to raise issues with your flock. This is just how things are, we can't keep male birds. Usually, parents make way bigger of a deal about this than the kids do. Kids are used to rules and having to do things they don't want to or understand, to them it's just part of life.

    If you want to keep your young cockerel you hatched, integrate your broody and her chicks now. I would have done it sooner, you're edging on the later time of when broody momma will stand up for her chicks. But, at this point, your adult rooster won't see the cockerel as a male, just as a juvenile. As the cockerel grows, there may be issues in the spring as he reaches maturity. Or, there may not....it's a try it and see kind of thing. Some of my cockerels have worked well in the main flock, accepting the dominance of the head rooster and only stealth breeding occasionally. Some have challenged the head rooster and been a constant thorn in the hens' sides, constantly trying to mate and forcing the head rooster to body block them.

    If you're just wanting to keep these roosters because you're soft hearted and want to provide a home for them, I'd look into a bachelor pad for the cockerel and the one from your sister. But, do you really want to commit to years of keeping and maintaining separate pens for a few freeloaders, pretty though they may be?
     
    1 person likes this.

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