roo verse hen ratio?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by realtreegirl, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. realtreegirl

    realtreegirl Chirping

    Jul 25, 2013
    Hi :) I have 5 hens and 1 roo. They are about 10 weeks old now so they all get together well. My concern is will my roo be to much for only 5 hens? I don't want him to hurt them mating. My problem is I have no place to get a few more hens from and don't want to order 15 hens! Thanks!
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    A good ratio is about 10 hens to one rooster. That doesn't necessarily mean your five hens would be injured. Some roosters are pretty good about not overbreeding, some are beasts. I have 18 hens and had (not the past tense) a Gold-laced Wyandotte rooster that soon tore the feathers off the backs of several of my hens with his incessant breeding. He was converted into some tasty chicken & dumplings. Just monitor him - if he isn't abusing the hens you are okay. Best of luck to you!
  3. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    it all depends on the rooster. I had a 1 to 16 ratio and still had to get rid of the roo because he was going at the girls so much that they were stressed, loosing feathers and not laying. They'd bend over to eat and he'd be on them. I think the more the better
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There is no magic numbers as far as hen to rooster ratio. Each chicken is an individual and each flock has its own dynamics. We keep them in so many different conditions for different reasons and manage them in totally different ways. There can’t be one magic number that covers us all. Some people keep one rooster with one or two hens in a breeding pen and have no problems. You read what the others said.

    It takes both the rooster and the hens to do their part for things to go well. The rooster needs to dance for his ladies, find them food, keep peace in his flock, and watch for danger to earn their respect. He needs to WOW them with his magnificence. He has to dominate them to properly do many of his flock master duties. The mating behavior is dominance behavior as well as sexual. While the ladies have some standards of what to expect, they need to accept his dominance if he is behaving right. Some hens just never get it.

    You are probably in for a rough time during their adolescence. The hormones will be kicking in but it’s real possible, I’d say real likely, that they won’t be able to control those hormones. The cockerel will be aggressively trying to mate to establish his flock dominance. His technique will probably not be real polished. The pullets will probably be late maturing and will resist. They just won’t know what is going on. If you can get through this time, things will probably sort themselves out and you’ll wind up with a peaceful flock, but many young cockerels literally lose their heads during this teenage, hormones out of control, period. They can be pretty aggressive in forcing their dominance on those pullets and the pullets can resist that dominance real strongly.

    Sometimes problems are the rooster’s fault. He never learns proper technique or is a brute. Sometimes the hens just never learn to submit even when the rooster is doing things right. Something else that often loses a rooster his head; some hens just have brittle feathers. Through no fault of the rooster the feathers break really easily. It looks like he is tearing them up when he’s really not doing anything wrong. I’ve had that a couple of times with hatchery chicks. When I permanently remove those hens from the flock the problem goes away and doesn’t return.

    Instead of giving magic numbers, I always advise keeping as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. My winter flock is normally one rooster and 7 or 8 hens, certainly not the 10 to 1 you often read here, and I don’t have those kinds of problems. Each chicken is different and each flock has its own dynamics so I can’t give you any guarantees, but if you can get through the adolescent years, you have a real good chance of having a nice flock. Good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. realtreegirl

    realtreegirl Chirping

    Jul 25, 2013
    Thank for you guys for the info!

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