My young flock is approx 4 mo old, 5 chicks with 3 roosters! Should I add more hens or pullets? How should I do this? I figure my hens should start laying eggs around late Oct/Nov, thanks for any help with this
I let 3 of my broodies hatch chicks this year.
First broody 6 chicks 4 roos, 2 hens
Second broody 7 chicks 5 roos and 2 hens
Third broody, 7 chicks, 6 roos and one hen.
All these chicks and only 5 hens out of 20!
Darn that mother nature this year, she did not give me 50/50!
I will be trying to give away or sell the 15 roos on craigs list come fall.
Already have a nice rooster and not going to overwinter all these extra mouths to feed.
You only need one rooster, if you need or want a rooster at all.
Wasn't too clear in my initial description. I have 5 Bantam chickens, 3 of which are roosters, only 2 hens. I'd like more laying hens to even up the numbers but should I wait it out and see what happens when
they are older or get pullets now? Going into cooler weather up north now, so I'm not sure it's a good idea to add new ones, which have to be quarantined up to a month. I'm a first-time chicken owner, thanks
Do you need/want to keep all the cockerels?
If you plan to keep them I wouldn't go through this winter with only two pullets with them.
Get more guaranteed pullets now or keep what you have separated by sexes until you can get more pullets.
3 rooster and 2 hens will more than likely end up being a very miserable existance for your hens.
If you separate 2 roosters what kind of life will they have.
You can Get more hens for the other 2 roosters but...
Are you set up to have 3 seperate flocks?
There is no guarantee you will be able to comingle these roosters in one coop.
It works for some people but it depends on your setup and avaliabe space.
Are you against rehoming 2 of the roosters?
Realistically do you have room to add more hens and/or possibly multiple enclosures to house just roosters, or roos with their girls? Best course of action is to only keep one roo otherwise. Can't just add more hens and expect that that will eliminate future problems.
For a first time chicken keeper, I would recommend a hen only flock. Often times this is a very difficult decision for first time keepers. The rooster chicks are often times darling and responsive to humans. Adding more hens so that one can keep all the roosters seldom works unless you have a great deal of space.
But roosters take experience and a great deal of space. To keep 3 roosters I would want to have nearly 50 head of birds. They do not get the notion of sharing a flock of hens. They often become very competitive, aggressive and bullies to the pullets and with each other and even with people. It is hard to believe how ugly the behavior can be until it does.
While you are deciding, before it gets to this point, you need a second set up to separate the birds into a pullets group and a rooster group. This will protect your pullets. Then you will need at least one more plan to be able to separate the roosters if they get to fighting.
If you can get someone to take your roosters, that would be best. Once they do that, they are not your responsibility. I strongly recommend you do this. Roosters are a crap shoot, and they very often do not work in a small backyard set up.
What is the size of your coop/run in measurements. Often times people that start with 5 birds do so in those very cute and very inadequate pre-fab coops. If that is the case - really strive to remove the roosters.
Thanks for the clarification. You have three cockerels and two pullets that are four months old. When they go through puberty the hormones typically drive the cockerels to be real beasts. They try to mate the pullets that don't want to be mated and they often fight. That is hard for some people to watch and it can be violent. Since it is often violent occasionally some chicks can be injured or even killed. I don't know how much of that fighting or mating behavior you have seen.
I let my cockerels and pullets grow up with the adult flock until butcher age, which for my cockerels is typically 23 weeks so they have gone through puberty with the pullets. Once every three or four years the boys get rowdy enough that I separate them from the pullets, but the other years it doesn't get that bad. Like 50-45-1, some years I hatch a lot more cockerels that pullets. Other years I hatch a lot mote pullets. I have noticed (because I pay attention) that the ratio doesn't matter, it's how rough certain cockerels are. I typically hatch a little over 40 chicks a year so you can see the scale.
One huge factor is how much room you have. That's why it would really help us to know what your facilities look like and how big they are in feet or meters. I find that having one rooster with the flock doesn't take that much more room as long as he is a mature rooster, but if you have more than one the space requirements go way up.
What are your goals for those cockerels? Why do you want a rooster? The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference. Nothing wrong with personal preferences, I have some of my own. But those are wants, not needs. I typically recommend you keep as few males as you can and still meet your goals. That's not because you are guaranteed problems with more males, but that problems are more likely. Three cockerels with two pullets is not likely to end well.
I don't believe in magic numbers, whether it is square feet per chicken or the ratio of females to males. People with one rooster and over 20 hens can have the same issues as one rooster with two or three hens. Sometimes there are not any issues. When you have multiple roosters it gets even more complicated. Adding more pullets is unlikely to solve the basic problems, though if you have enough room so each male can establish his own territory out of sight of each other and keep his own harem it is usually not bad.
So what are your options. Getting them through puberty is your first goal. You can leave them together and see how it goes. I like to base my actions on what I see going on, but I'll have 40 chicks, not 5 and a lot of room. Definitely have a Plan B ready. For me that would be a separate facility where I could isolate all or all but one of the boys from the girls. This separation could be temporary until they grow up and you can try to merge them with the pullets or it could be a permanent separation.
Depending on your goals, you can get rid of all or all but one of the boys now. You can eat them, try to sell them, or give them away.
I don't see a lot of other options. I will repeat, three males with two females is unlikely to end well.
Thanks so much for all the input! I inherited an unsexed batch of day old chicks when my son had too many so I understand the crap-shoot aspect of it! There is definitely one dominant rooster. I built a John Suskovich chicken tractor to keep them outside, safe from my 3 dogs who would prefer to kill them! I am now building a coop, about 8x10 but it's slow going with limited time, skills and funds. For now, they are being kept in connected large and small dog cages at night. I'll check around and see if I can give at least 2 of them away and maybe add a few hens next year. I'll see how that works out. As you can see, I was totally unprepared, but had to help my son out. Reading all the books on chickens I can and definitely OJT! Thanks again so much