Keeping 2 roosters with 12 hens, can it work?


9 Years
May 25, 2012
Fort Valley, GA
I've had chickens for about 5 years now, started with a roo and 4 hens, all buff orpingtons. I have gained and lost a few over the last few years and always get rid of roosters because I only had a few hens. Now that I have 12 I'm wondering if it's ok to keep my cute buff polish that was sent to me as an exotic freebie from McMurray. He is about 6 months old and not really that aggressive. He does try to be a rooster with the hens, but only when they are free ranging. When he's in the coop he is very submissive to our big roo. My husband thinks he must be unhappy and we should give him away. He stays to himself most of the time when free ranging and away from the flock. What do you think? How unhappy can he really be and does it really matter? TIA
Lots of people have more than one rooster. If your Polish roo is running around, occasionally mating, eating enough and he looks healthy, then the situation is fine for him. Sounds like the larger rooster tolerates him, and he knows his place, which is pretty typical for chickens.

Now, if the larger rooster starts beating the crap out of him and making his life miserable, I would find a new place for him. But it sounds pretty normal to me.

I would say that the situation seems fine for the smaller rooster. Roosters are so pretty and interesting. I just recently bought a Lavender Orpington, and he's so pretty. He's young and just started crowing. He acted just like your smaller rooster does now when he first came into my flock. I didn't have a rooster. He was young and he kind of skittered around the flock for a while. My hens were a few months older than him and they pretty much ignored him. Now he fits right in and he's really grown alot.

I bet it's fine to keep him.
Thanks for the reply! I have noticed the big roo pecking at him, but no huge fights. "MoMo" the little roo, stays out of his way. He crows, but only when they are free ranging. He eats fine and I don't see any signs of injury. They all roost together at night with no problem, but during the day when they are still in the cage he hides from the big roo and if cornered he will stick his head on the ground just outside of the fence in a very submissive way. "Red" just leaves him alone at this point, so I guess he is tolerating him. I'm wondering he gets older will it get worse or better. Even wondered if I could get MoMo "fixed"! lol!
Hey Karen.
Sounds like they are all getting along fine. I have had more than one rooster with a dozen hens and it just got too much for the hens. By the way, I sold my little farm and now that we no longer have acreage for them to roam around it was quite an adjustment for us all. One rooster and 11 hens is working out here in suburbia. The neighbors don't seem to mind the crowing in the mornings.
I think it will be okay unless the other rooster becomes aggressive. I would put in extra food and water though so your little roo is sure to be able to eat. Some pecking is normal but as long as your little guy isn't getting really beat up I'd leave it for now =)
Hi. I'm going to have a pretty similar situation. I have 8 pullets that are 7 months old. All laying nicely. I got 7 new birds (+ meat birds that are in the freezer now) from McMurray. The exotic that they sent me is a buff polish roo(initially I thought he was a she...) I had 2 black Australorp roosters too with that order. The less dominant Australorp picked almost all of the polish's crest feathers the point of bleeding. At that point I had not realized yet that she was a he. This is my 1st year with chickens. I figured out who the offender was and separated him. He ended up having to fend for him self among the older girls. Phil's (polish) crest feathers have grown in nicely. The younger birds are 14 weeks now. I got rid of the Australorp that picked his feathers, today. I let the young ones out(they have their own small coop/run in the yard among the big girls.) 2 of my larger girls attacked Elvis. They had him bleeding. I rescued him & put the youngers back in their run/coop.

I am Really hoping that Elvis will continue to get along with Phil. I am going to let them get a little older before I try to integrate again. I have done quite a bit of reading about integrating & chickens, but time will tell how they do. In the end, I hope to have the 12 hens & 2 roosters. My hens are: 2 Auracaunas, 2 silver laced wynodottes, 2 Barred Rocks, 1 golden sex link (red Star?), 1 buff orpington; youngers are 2 pearl leghorns, 2 Australorps. Then the Black Australorp rooster(Elvis) & Phil the buff polish. Oh, and my polish crows every day multiple times. Always right after Elvis. I thought the 2nd crower was the other Australorp until I removed him from the younger bird coop.....and there continued to be 2 crowers. That's how I figured out Phyllis was really Phil!!! lol.
It depends on the roosters, really. If I put two young Delaware males in with only 12 hens, it would probably be too much for the hens. Delawares are enthusiastic breeders, especially while young. My Dellie rooster handled 25 hens all by himself for quite some time.

If I put two blue Orpington males in with the same number, it would most likely work out very well, as long as the males got along fairly well. My blue Orp never had more than 5 hens and usually no more than 3-4 at a time. None were overbred.
I have sibling roos, they were from spring of 2013 hatch, I too thought mine were girls, till the crowing started. Hank the bigger roo is lord & master over the 7 hens we have, Cotton keeps his distance, and is the last one out of the coop each morning. He will tag team with Hank, if Hank is doing the "Man Thing" with one of the hens. As soon as Hank is done, Cotton jumps on, and Hank will not chase him off. During feeding time, Cotton keeps his distance, because Hank will run him off, so I give Cotton his own pile of food away from the others during the day.
This years hatch, we have a banty roo, but he & his sibling (gender unknown) live in their own fenced in coop. Next spring if one of my hens go broody again, I will give my little banty roo any hens that may hatch out. Because we have a larger variety of hens, I no longer have to worry about inbreeding.

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