Question for Breeders


10 Years
Feb 9, 2009
Capital Region NY
I see where many of you will have 3-4 hens and 1 rooster in your breeding pens. My question is regarding the hen/roo ratio. From what I've read on here, it's recommended to have 8-10 hens per roo. But it seems to me from what I've also read on here, alot of breeders don't follow that ratio. So how do you keep your hens from being harmed by over-mating? I'm asking because I'm considering getting into breeding when I have a flock I'm satisfied meets the standards or better, so I'm trying to learn as much as possible before I jump into something like that.

Ps, if you have any tips or opinions on breeding, feel free to post them, like I said, I'm trying to learn as much as possible.
I don't do anything " keep my hens from being harmed by over-mating" & my breeding pens range from 1 to 4 females.
You apparently assume that because someone here recommends something that means their information is accurate. This is often not the case.
My roos might prefer 8-10 hens.
But to insure good fertility I'm following the 3-5 hen ratio per roo.

I haven't had a problem with overbreeding from this ratio. Only with teenage roos that attack in 'gangs' before they get split up into breeding groups.
Ten to one is about max for hatchability. Contrary to all the hype, most roosters are gentle with their hens when they mature. It`s the "teenage boy" in them that causes most of the problems with the girls. My passion is gamefowl, so I "single mate" all my breeders. That way there is no doubt about where the chicks came from and if I want to reproduce certain traits, I know where to go for the ingredients. I have yet to have a problem with overmating and I`ve been doing this for half a century.......Pop
That's good to know. My daughter and I have been thinking about some specific breeding questions and I wondered if one-to-one would work. The 2 boys in question are a little young right now, but next spring they should've settled down some.
Thank you all so much, that helps as I was pretty confused and worried I would be harming my hens if I only kept a few per pen.

NYREDS, it's not that I was assuming anything, it was more that I was reading contradictory information. I figure that's one way of learning, is to ask people who know better than I do
The funny thing about that 1 to 10 ratio is that in nature and in home free range flocks it is not followed naturally. Where I live we have wild flocks of turkeys that pass by often. Everyone of those is 2 or 3 to 10. My home flock when I had 2 roos I could have had 2 more. I have 22 pullets and only five or six went with each roo. So that 1 to 10 ratio is way off like alot of stuff out of chicken books. Those that just do not know parrot it out all the time even though they do not have a roo and never had one.
besides from all of the above, you can have as many hens in there as you want. The rooster sometimes picks his favorites and mostly treads them. There could be ten hens, one or two bare backed, three more slightly worn and the rest in full feather. No one explained to the roo that he is supposed to rotate hens in a particular order on a schedule.
I have 1 rooster per 2 hens for the most part. Some I only have pairs...two of my more over-zealous roos, I got him some more I have four hens & one roo and five hens & one roo. I watch them closely and if the hens need a break, I have the "bachelor" pen that the roos go to for a week or so. I've also considered saddles but haven't gotten any, yet...

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