Question about roo to hen ratio - odd situation

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Aunt Tacky, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. Aunt Tacky

    Aunt Tacky Hatching

    Jan 5, 2014
    OK- I got 4 EE pullets last year- my first foray into chickens. Of course one turned out to be a rooster. I did not want fertilized eggs, so we made him his own coop and separated him. We named him Stewie (because he may be stew some day). He is aggressive toward us when we go in to feed etc., so he gets minimal contact. My girls lay regularly and I added another hen from my neighbor's flock and all was good. But now one of my girls has decided to be broody and very rarely leaves the nesting box. Soooo, since my girls are on their second laying season, I am thinking of putting the broody girl in with Stewie. Can I get some pros and cons? My hubby thinks he would attack her, but I think he is attacking us because he is frustrated and crabby. I can foresee having to have him live up to his name after the eggs hatch, because we would need access to the chicks, but at least I would have some chicks. The coop is good sized (an old dog run). I have looked at some forums on ratios and see both sides, but would like some information on whether this is a good idea. My broody girl is hardly eating and I am starting to worry about her.
  2. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

    Jul 13, 2014
    Dateland Arizona
    The common ratio is 1 Roo to 10-12 Pullets, Yoy can put your broody girl with your Roo and just watch them for a bit to see if he is ok with her.
  3. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Songster

    Jul 4, 2014
    If she's gone broody she won't be laying. She will however sit on the fertilized eggs of the other hens. Also, unless the idea of eating fertilized eggs bothers you...they don't taste any different from unfertilized eggs and there won't be a developing embryo unless the hen were to sit on them for a full day so you wouldn't necessarily have to keep him separated all the time. While the best average ratio may be 1 roo for every 10-12 hens, some roos do alright with fewer and some need more.

    You could put your roo in with all the girls if you want your broody to be able to hatch a clutch, however, something you may want to consider before putting him in with any of them is his aggression. Is that really a trait you want to pass on to offspring?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  4. fshinggrl

    fshinggrl Songster

    May 1, 2009
    the edge of insanity
    I agree with this bolded statement.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The broody hen will not be laying eggs, just as Islandgirl said. It will do you absolutely no good as far as fertile eggs to put the rooster with the broody hen.

    It takes an egg about 25 hours to go through the hen’s internal egg making factory. That egg can only be fertilized in the first few minutes of that journey. That means if a successful mating takes place on a Thursday, Thursday’s egg is not fertile. Can’t be. Friday’s egg might be fertile or it might not. I would not count on it. Saturday’s egg will be fertile. This is after a successful mating not a handshake introduction. Roosters don’t necessarily mate with each and every hen in the flock every day, though in a small flock like yours he probably will. The hen can store sperm in a special container near the start of that internal journey for about two or three weeks and the sperm will stay viable.

    Breeders often house one rooster with one or two hens throughout the breeding season without the hens being over-mated or injured in any way. The secret to that is that they use mature hens and roosters. They need to let hem mature enough to see if they are worthy of breeding so they don’t try that with adolescents. Mature hens and mature roosters generally know how to act in a mature manner. Immature pullets and immature cockerels don’t. Many people on here only have experience with immature cockerels and pullets and think that is how mature chickens behave. They probably also believe a classroom of middle school kids behave the same was mature responsible adult people behave.

    They are living animals so you can have exceptions, but you should be able to put your adult mature rooster with adult mature hens and they will do OK. The first thing he will do when they meet is mate some of them to establish his dominance and make them his flock. If you are not used to chicken mating that may look pretty rough but he will grab the back of the head when he hops on to tell her to raise her tail out of the way to expose the target, he will touch vents and hop off. Sometimes the hen does not cooperate at first and he does force her to establish his dominance but as long as she squats to get his weight into the ground through her body and not her legs and he does not draw blood, no harm is done. There are some people that can’t stand to look at that. Those people should not have roosters with the flock. But those used to being around mixed flocks understand that what is going on is natural and normal.

    Before a hen starts to lay she builds up a lot of extra fat. A lot of that is in a fat pad in the pelvic region but she has fat throughout her body. When she goes broody she mostly lives off that fat. She will lose weight and she still needs to get up some toe eat and drink, but they spend practically all their time in the nest taking care of the eggs. Nature came up with a way that will allow them to hatch eggs. The fat pad is nature’s answer to that problem. If you want you can toss her off the nest once a day to give her the chance to go eat, drink, poop, and dust bathe but she is just about as likely to go back on the nest as take her constitutional. If she is not pooping in the nest she is getting up on her own, you just don’t see her.

    Good luck with however you decide.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Put the other layers in with the rooster, wait a week, collect eggs from all of them and slip under the broody hen.

    Mrs K
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    If you're going to hatch eggs, why not just put him in with the layers? A rooster living alone will be frustrated. I'd say either give him a good life, that includes being able to mate, or dispatch him.

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