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Roo:Hen ratio

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by KelsiNS, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. KelsiNS

    KelsiNS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard 1:10 is a good ratio of roosters to hens. I have 41 chickens, with 4 being roos (possibly just 3).
    Thats slightly less than 10 per boy, and they are all the exact same age, raised together. So, those of you with handsome gentleman chickens-how many do you have and how is your flock getting along?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Don’t take me wrong. That 10 to 1 ratio makes for a nice flock. But that ratio comes from commercial hatcheries using the pen breeding method. That’s where they may keep 20 roosters and 200 hen s in one pen. They’ve found under those circumstances they need a ratio about like that to keep fertility up. It doesn’t have anything to do with roosters fighting and not much to do with hens being over-mated or anything like that. I’ve had great success with three roosters and 15 hens and I’ve had problems with one rooster and many hens.

    In a larger flock like yours, if they have a reasonable amount of space, three normal reasonably young roosters with normal vitality will have no trouble keeping all the hens fertile. Two could probably do it. Each flock and each rooster is different so I can’t give you absolute guarantees but it should work most of the time.

    It’s possible you could get roosters that fight to the death, especially with certain breeds like game roosters, but what normally happens is that the roosters decide which is dominant and then reach an accommodation on how they take care of the flock. There will probably be less fighting and less vicious fighting if they are raised in the flock together, either as siblings or in a father-son environment, but even adults put together will usually reach an accommodation. In any circumstances try to give them a lot of room so the loser has plenty of room to run away. It can be interesting to see them working together. For example, I’ve seen the dominant rooster be the first out of the pop door in the morning checking things out while the subordinate is the last out, protecting the rear.

    When they mature you will probably see the flock split up where each rooster has his own harem. That doesn’t mean that the rooster only mates within his harem. Any rooster could be the father of any chick from any hen. In a flock your size, you may even see some hens form their own sub-flock without a rooster.

    When yours hit adolescence it will probably get real active. The boys will have their hormones flowing wild and likely won’t have much self-control. The pullets will probably mature a little slower and won’t have clue what’s going on so they don’t know how to do their part. If you can get through that adolescent phase the flock should settle down very well but it can be trying for a few months.

    I know this doesn’t answer all your questions but maybe it’s a start. Each chicken as its own personality, each flock has its own dynamics, we keep them in totally different circumstances. I can’t tell you what will actually happen with yours. But if they have enough space and you can get through that adolescent phase without wringing the cockerels’ necks, they should settle down to a nice flock, whether with either three or four roosters.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. dandrews1971

    dandrews1971 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Depends on the personalities & environment. I have 14 girls, (3 young ones too not yet integrated) and currently 5 roos. They all get along just fine. Hens arent overworked either. Fred the largest dominant roo takes good care of about 6 of them. (the older ones) I have 2 younger roos who take care of the 8 younger girls. One of the boys is obviously submissive & doesnt mate much at all. Then theres the bantam roo. Funny to watch him mount up (or attempt to anyway).
     
  4. CAjerseychick

    CAjerseychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well we have one beautiful Huge Roo out of 2 sets of chicks, June/ July hatches-- (he was one of 4 and the only survivor of our, now reformed chicken killing dog) so he was essentially raised with the hens-- He has 10 hens plus 3 young pullets (14 weeks old, sort of integrated, they are on the periphery but every one is let out to roam all day and freerange, they arent seperated by me at all) -- so thats a ratio of 1:13-- he was the June hatch so he is a little over a yr old -- they are all Jersey Giants and they take 2 years to really finish growing so maybe hes still an adolescent? And fertile b/c the hens hatched out 2 sets of chicks this summer -- the pullets are whats left of them....
    Because while very protective and care taking of his hens-- there are several that are just barebacked, and some are really red under their wings from his claws....
    I think it b/ c he is soo big and a bit ungainly?
    He is not mean to his hens at all-- if he finds something good to eat he makes his treat call and then steps back and lets them eat first and any distress sound he is right there to fix the problem....
    SO that is my experience.....
     
  5. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    30 hens and 2 roosters.

    A rooster is nice to have to round up the girls and to keep a watch out for predators. Our alpha rooster (Golden Comet) will stay out to take on a predator when the girls run for the safety of the run/coop (dog got in the free range area). More than one rooster and they will often joust each other to enforce their ruling status. Multiple roos are OK for a large flock but smaller flocks are often best with one or none in my opinion.

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  6. KelsiNS

    KelsiNS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love my boys. They are very well mannered-getting out of my way, taking treats to the girls. So far Hershey and Boot are the only ones butting heads, and i think its just sorting out who belongs where in the flock. Im happy they are arguing at 8 weeks old instead of full grown :)
     

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