Rooster/hen ratio?


6 Years
Jun 15, 2015
I guess this is the right place to post this, as getting chicks is kinda my concern :)

I've always heard 1 roo for every 10 hens. But, I tried that with Silkies once (Had 2 roos and 20 hens) and had very low egg fertility. Then I read you need more roos per hens if you plan on hatching the eggs. It didn't say how many though.
Now, I'm getting out of most of my breeds, keeping just a few. For Polish and Silkies I have one roo, and three hens.
I'm getting mostly into Seramas.
When I went to a breeder to get some more, he told me that Seramas need more roos than other breeds if you want fertile eggs because of their small size. So low and behold, I got two roos from him when I only meant to get hens for the two roos I already had (I just had two hens) Now I have 8 hens and 4 roos. The boys all get along, and don't seem to be rough on the hens.
My question is, is this ratio okay? Is it true I need the extra roos if I want high fertility? These are great quality birds, and aside from being pets, breeding is their main purpose. So I definitely want the eggs to be fertile.
Are the 4 roos gonna be too much stress on the 8 girls once they get a little older and more serious?

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
Where I live, commercial hatcheries seem to go for a ratio of 1:7. I think what's more important than numbers or ratios is your observation. If your hens seem to be suffering from the number of roos, then reduce the Roos, but if they do not show signs of overmating (feather loss around the neck or back) then all is well.



6 Years
Jun 15, 2015
So far the hens aren't showing much wear. The favourite hen will lose a feather or two occasionally, but nothing to worry about. But the boys are young now, and I'm hoping nothing will change as they get older.


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
People like to think there are magic numbers associated with chickens, hen to rooster ratio, coop and run space, roost length, temperature versus age in a brooder, all kinds of things. There are no magic numbers. There are just so many variables involved in all this that there cannot be one number that covers all of us. You have to go with what works for you.

I’ve seen one rooster free ranging with 25 hens keep them all fertile. You’ve seen the opposite with your Seramas. Some people have seen barebacked hens with one rooster and over 20 hens. Some breeders keep one rooster with one or two hens the entire breeding season and do not have problems with barebacked hens.

I don’t know how old yours are. Doesn’t matter. It’s possible things can change later so you have to pay attention and be flexible. Trust yourself and what you see more than what anyone on the forum says, including me. We can tell you our experiences and maybe what to expect, and that is valuable, but we are away over the internet, you are looking at them.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
Some Bantam seem more forgiving and not as prone to over mating as some large breeds, I had found light egg laying breeds to be the worst for constant mating. I do like to see how many roosters I can keep in a flock before it becomes too much, I can always remove extra roosters but it can be hard to add more to an established flock. So you have to take breed as well as an individuals personality into consideration when deciding how many roosters to keep.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom