how much mating is normal

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cekendri, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. cekendri

    cekendri In the Brooder

    Dec 24, 2016
    I just was watching my flock of six hens and a too and my smallest hen got mated three times. The rest have not been touch.

    Therefore, does my rooster just have a preference or is this not normal?
    getaclue likes this.
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    Males often choose"favorites"...also some hems will revise to submit to a roo. ...both can lead to one or a few hens being overmated. Warch for signs of excessive wear and tear and respond accordingly (hen saddle, remove the hen or rooster, etc)
    getaclue, Stephine and Hybridchucks like this.
  3. Hybridchucks

    Hybridchucks Queen Of The Coop

    Jul 13, 2016
    My Coop
    she is his fav lol but it cud damage her bad.......
    getaclue likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How old are these birds?
    Are all the females laying?
    getaclue and Hybridchucks like this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Aart asked some very good questions. I'll also ask if you are seeing any damage or behavior modifications.

    One type of damage could be loss of feathers on the back of the head or even injury to the comb. As part of the mating process the male grabs the back of the female's head. This is her signal to raise her tail up out of the way so the target is exposed. You will not get fertile eggs if he does not grab the back of her head. It's possible he could pull some feathers out. Her losing a few isn't a big deal but if you see injury or blood, you need to deal with that. That really doesn't happen often.

    Another type of damage is loss of feathers on her back and the backs of her wings. When the male mounts he stands on his feet that have claws. If he has bad technique, which sometimes happens with immature males especially, he can remove feathers. An occasional feather isn't a problem, but if he creates bare patches she can be cut by his claws. If he is old enough to have spurs and really bad technique spurs can also pose a threat.

    The type of behavior that can indicate a problem is where the females avoid the male. Maybe they spend all day on the roosts in the coop instead of out in the run with the other chickens, especially the male.

    All these things are much more likely to happen with immature cockerels and pullets and a lot less likely with mature roosters and hens.

    When a hen or pullet is laying she gives off some signs such as a bright red comb. She is also usually more likely to squat when he dances. If she is the only one laying he will be more attracted to her.

    Just because you saw him mate her and not the others doesn't mean he is not mating the others. If the others are laying you can check for the bull's eye to see if they are fertile.

    This may be totally normal, I don't know for sure but I suspect it is. As long as you are not seeing any damage I do not see any cause for alarm. Chickens are chickens and a lot of this behavior is absolutely normal and natural flock behavior.
  6. getaclue

    getaclue Crossing the Road

    Jun 19, 2013
    Central Florida
    It sounds more like you have a cockerel, and pullets, not a rooster, and hens. For a cockerel, and pullets, you've described normal behavior. Regardless of age, and technique, eventually the hen's backs are going to show some wear, and tear. You will need a large cage, or separate enclosure, (a bachelor pad) to put the rooster in, when the hens get nearly bare backed, and when the hens are molting. Once the feathers are back in, you can put the rooster back in with his hens.

    I find I have to do this a couple times a year, and during molt. It usually takes about 4 - 6 weeks for the feathers to grow back in, from being bare back. It takes a bit longer when they molt, so make sure the cage, or bachelor pad is big enough that the rooster will be comfortable during that time.
    Birdinhand likes this.
  7. cekendri

    cekendri In the Brooder

    Dec 24, 2016
    I have since put the rooster in my chicken tractor while my meat birds are still under the lamps.

    Three of my hens were already bare backed and had capes on. The favorite one had a spur or claw wound that I did not notice before.

    The egg laying has since gone back up and the hens seem to be more friendly and actually getting along. I think in the long run he many be getting a bath of red wine and we will look for a smaller rooster as he is a buff orpington so he does do a lot of damage in a short period of time due to his size.
    Peeps61 likes this.
  8. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Songster

    Apr 19, 2014
    NW Florida
    Glad you found a solution. You might want a few more hens, if you can keep them, since the ratio is usually 9 to 12 hens per rooster, and he sounds like a teenage Lothario.
  9. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Crowing

    May 20, 2015
    Roos like to take advantage of loose hens...
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ratios are for fertility efficacy, usually in a commercial setting.
    Has nothing to do with avoiding over-mating,
    especially when a young cockerel is involved.
    Ridgerunner likes this.

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