Ideal Ratio of Roosters to Hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Diavolicchio, Jan 12, 2010.

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  1. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    I'm curious what the seasoned chicken experts on here believe to be the ideal ratio of roosters to hens in a chicken coop.

    Assume the following:

    1) The chicken coop will be accommodating 140 mature Standard chickens at 4 sq ft / chicken.
    2) The particular roosters in the chicken coop aren't aggressive fighters, territorial or destructive, but can be isolated if necessary.
    3) The purpose of the hens is simply to be productive egg layers.
    4) Both roosters and chickens get a good 4 to 6 hours/day outdoors (weather permitting) either in a large run or free-ranging, so they're not stressed from being cooped-up.
    5) All of the chickens in the coop are approximately the same age and size.
    6) The roosters are being kept around both to fertilize the eggs for future breeding purposes, as well as to offer some genetic diversity when it comes to breeding.
    7) There will be 15 hens each of 7 breeds.

    Here's my question: How many roosters should there be of each breed, relative to the number of hens? 1 to 15? 2 to 15? 3 to 15? 4 to 15?

    I appreciate your feedback!



    John
     
  2. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    Most people will say average of 1 to 10 that is just for fertility purposes. But some roos can handle larger flocks of hens. And yet other roos can only handle less than 10. I would say if you have that many hens 1 to 15 would probably be a good ratio. The roo(s) that can fertilize more hens should pick up the slack of the roo(s) that don't.
     
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    One rooster can successfully handle 8-12 hens, maybe a few more, and insure fertility is stable. I had a rooster and his brother in with 30 hens, but the older one refused to share, I rehomed his brother and he still kept most of the girls fertile for awhile. I did see it begin to slack off after about a month, but most of the time, the BR hens were fertile, even if others may not have been. This is a standard Barred Rock rooster I'm talking about.
     
  4. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I understand that one rooster can easily service 15 hens. My question was from more of a practical standpoint. If I just went with one per breed, what happens if I lose the one rooster for whatever reason? Considering I'm looking to keep my options open for breeding purposes, shouldn't I at least have two of each breed in case something happens to the first one?


    John
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yes, if you don't want to take time to grow out another one, but you may want to keep the #2 roosters in a separate area. Even with just one Delaware rooster for over 20 hens, I still have girls who need saddles due to the feather damage. He has his favorites. And I've noticed that when roosters are competing with each other for mating time, the girls are run ragged.
     
  6. Eagle2026

    Eagle2026 HIGH FLYER

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    Yes, you answered your own question.
    JUST INCASE, I always try to have backup.
    Matter of fact if I only had ten chickens 2 would be roos. and so on.
    Realisticly 10-12 is very good and working for me.
     
  7. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even for production quality breeders it definitely depends what breed you have. Some large fowl only lay 75 eggs a year ( Cochins ). I have been told the older large fowl Roo's after a few years go by, will seek out favorites. Thus, you might not be hitting on all cylinders with three year oles and older. I prefer to run younger males, cause their more active. And then I agree one cockerel/Roo can handle 8 hens easily. Depending what you look for out of your flock, you might want to selectively breed your best hens to your best males for your own flock replacemnts. I use 8' by 8' pens for that. And then I use only 4 hens max. I don't need to have every girls genetics for the next coming year.
     
  8. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I wasn't trying to answer my own question, but rather to point out the potential nightmares of relying on just one.

    Would 3 roosters simply be overkill with 15 hens? Could you not introduce a rooster to 5 specific hens that he would consider to be just his? Would there be no circumstance where having 3 might be better overall than 2?



    John
     
  9. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing I do with my Marans, I have 5 cockerels. And only use three at a time. Every day, the two who were on the bench go in for relief. And they've had one day of wanting and needing to get to the girls. I have 100% fertility with them going one boy to five girls.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  10. Diavolicchio

    Diavolicchio Buk Buk Buk Buh-GAWWWK

    Quote:I like how you think. That's a clever approach.


    John
     
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