Is my flock too big for my rooster?


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 4, 2014
Rochdale, Lancashire, UK
Hi all,
What's the optimum number of hens for my rooster to look after? It only just occurred to me, whilst sitting here watching my incubator, that if there were too many of them in his harem, he might not get round to all of them and I might well have a higher percentage of infertile eggs than I thought!


5 Years
Jul 4, 2014
The most common ratio is 1 rooster for every 10 to 15 hens though I believe that can vary depending on the rooster himself. I've had two roosters in the past; one did just fine with just a few ladies whereas the other needed a lot more. Too few hens can result in harm to your girls.

If your focus is fertility though, the fewer girls you have (whilst still providing him with a decent number) the better chances he has to making the rounds to all of them or at least most of them.
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Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
1:10 is the commercial ratio for fertility....but as said above, depends on the rooster.

They can favor a few and ignore others, be more or less biologically virile than you would like.

Best to do is watch the eggs as you consume them for fertility, that can give you an idea of his effectiveness.
Here's a thread that tells and give examples of how to ID a fertile yolk.

Or you can just wait until day 7-10 and candle the eggs to see which are developing.

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