Is one rooster enough?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Delmar, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is one rooster enough for seven hens? Somebody suggested that there are times when the hens won't "accept" a rooster. I hate to get rid of all but one, if my girls might not want the one I chose. Would keeping two roos make the problem less likely.
  2. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:1 rooster is perfect-2 your looking for problems in overmating and bare backed girls My one rooster has 10 girls and most of the girls have to wear saddles because he mates all of them so much!
  3. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Depends on the chickens..normally one is enough and two can be a bit much for the hens. In one hen house I have 8 Partridge Cochins and 2 roosters partly because they were so pretty I just couldn't get rid of them (on my avatar), but only one gets to mate with the hens, the other one keeps chasing him away when he he has to go in the run or in the hen house away from the other one.. and hope a girl follows him out.
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    One is enough for that many - and even more hens.

    I actually do have two roos and 12 hens, but one roo is definately top, and the other is definately on the bottom rung of the ladder. He's kinda....physically handicapped as well.

    I started out with a dozen chicks, 5 of which were roosters. I culled the roosters over time that were mean to the hens, or had thoughts about attacking my child. By mean to the hens, I mean the ones that were aggressive breeders or had a tendency to pick one hen and WAY overbreed. I'm not needing fertile eggs, I just like roosters, but I don't need to spend money for aprons or deal with unhappy hens.

    The two boys I have now are good breeders, gentle, and stay away from us when we are in the coop. The dominant roo breeds most of the girls, the sub roo breeds the bottom rung hens. I thought I would eventually end up with one roo, but since both of them are good and don't fight, and the girls are happy, they both stay.

    If you have quite a few roos, just watch how they interact with the hens. Cull (this can mean rehoming) the roos that are mean or hard on the hens. Keep the ones that are gentle and have good qualities (both my boys constantly are finding food for the hens, watching over them, and always wing dance before mating, none of the attack and mate stuff).
  5. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Definitely enough. I have 1 rooster for 9 hens and no problem. The hens would prefer 0 roosters for 9 hens tho.
  6. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    You are good to go.

    You may find that one of the hens will not breed him, but most will.
  7. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I guess I can see that.
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Not sure this is the case. Hens seem to behave differently when a roo is in the flock, yes, but I'm not sure they prefer not having one. For a long time I had one hen who actively singled out one roo or the other and squatted for him. Her back stayed tattered looking, though not bare, fortunately. Who's to say whether they like having a good roo around to keep squabbles monitored, or whether they feel safer with a roo present? My flock has sometimes had a mature roo, sometimes not. The only thing I'm sure of is they don't like too many roos -- they will hide from them or get on the roost during the day.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are several urban legends on this forum about roosters. Some people keep 3 roosters with 2 hens and do not have any problems. Some have 1 rooster with 18 to 20 hens and do have problems. It depends on your situation and the personalities of the roosters and hens. The bottom line is that the more roosters you have the more likely you are to have problems. There is no magic number or ratio that will either guarantee problems or guarantee that you won't have problems. That is why I recommend you keep as few roosters as you can and meet your goals. From what you said, I think one is plenty.

    One rooster should be able to keep seven hens fertile. It depends on the hens and rooster. One mating should keep a hen fertile for about two weeks. With some it is a lttle less, some it is more, but two weeks is a good average. A young vigorous rooster can usually keep a lot more fertile. But the older the rooster gets, the less active he is. Some hens will squat for anything in spurs. Some resist anything in spurs. Some obviously enjoy having a rooster around. Some don't. Many seem to be somewhere in between, squatting sometimes and running away sometimes. Remember, he only has to get her in the mood once every two weeks or so for her to lay fertile eggs.

    Hens squat more readily for a rooster that treats them right, dancing first instead of attacking, finding them food, providing protection, and doing the things a good rooster does to take care of his flock. They more often resist a brutal bully. Studies have shown that non-dominant roosters mate just as often as the dominant rooster if they have enough room to be sneaky about it. In a small pen where they cannot hide, yeah, that leads to conflict.

    Commercial operations that produce fertile eggs to hatch chicks for big laying or broiler operations keep one rooster for every ten hens, usually in a big building with hundreds of chickens intermingling. When fertility drops, they remove older roosters and replace them with younger roosters. That is where the 10 hens to one rooster comes from.

    Hope this helps a bit. To be clear, I think one is plenty for you. Good luck!
  10. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Keep a second male even if you have to pen him seperately. In my experience if you keep only one male he will die. If you keep 2 they'll both be fine.

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