Rooster to Hen Ratio

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hawkeyext, Dec 7, 2016.

  1. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello, we are a small farm in NY that just upgraded to 330 chickens for eggs to sell at our local Farmers Markets. We've never owned a rooster, and never anticipated getting one. But upon receiving our new 300 female chicks a few happened to be roosters. We will be selling two white leghorn males, but this one beautiful rooster (whose breed is unknown and I didn't order) is so gorgeous I'm tempted to keep.

    If I was to keep roosters in a flock of 330 egg laying hens, how many is a healthy amount? Will just one do? I do like the added benefit of having a protector as hawks have attacked before.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    A good ratio is 10 hens per rooster. Roosters are a very good early warning system to get hens undercover, but don't rely on a rooster to defend the entire flock. He is usually the first bird to get taken by a predator. Better to have a secure setup, with ample places for the flock to take cover.
    With a rooster in the flock, you will need to be diligent about egg collection. Fertile eggs can develop if the weather gets warm enough.
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    One Rooster in all those Hens wont be an issue........



    Cheers!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Depends on your goals.
    With 330 pullets/hens, you could probably keep all 3 depending on your housing situation.
    Always good to have separate enclosure(s) for problem birds, especially cock/erels.

    The 10:1 thing is a commercial breeding standard for fertility efficacy.
    Private breeders often keep pairs, trios, quads, etc......can depend on the demeanor's of the birds in question.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If you don't especially want roosters for hatching chicks, you don't have to worry about any specific number as far as fertility.

    If this one male is especially appealing to you, keep him. One rooster with 300+ hens will be one happy, happy boy!

    I'm intrigued, can you post a picture of him? I'd love to see what breed his is.....
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by a healthy amount of roosters with over 300 hens. As mentioned it depends somewhat on your goals. It doesn’t sound like fertility is an issue but are only thinking about predator protection, specifically hawks.

    It also depends on how you manage them. Centrarchid keeps a lot of roosters and hens and lets them spread out over a large area. Each rooster carves out his territory and keeps his own harem. If I remember right that normally works out to about 6 or 7 hens per rooster on average, whether they are Dominique or Game. They are over a very large area.

    If yours have enough room I’d expect them to break into sub-flocks whether there are any roosters present or not. If they are in a relatively small area the sub-flocks may not be there or they may not be easily identified. I don’t have nearly that many chickens but I do see a tendency for some of my hens to hang with the rooster and others to go off and roam by themselves. It’s normally the same hens near the rooster and the same ones more independent.

    I’m in the camp where I don’t expect much from my roosters as far as predator protection. Once a threat has been identified mine tend to lead the flock to safety, not go take on the predator to give them time to get away. I’ve had two separate dog attacks with a total of 13 chickens killed. In both cases my dominant rooster was not harmed.

    Roosters do tend to keep a look-out for predators, especially hawks and other flying predators. There may be some benefit to that, but often the dominant hen will take on that role if no dominant rooster is present so I consider the benefit marginal at best.

    One place a rooster does come in handy. If there is something suspicious not worthy of an alarm but enough to make them nervous a good rooster will position himself between the perceived threat and his flock. He may go check it out. This does put the good roosters more at risk and may be why some get taken instead of the hens. But this is basically against ground predators, not flying predators.

    I have seen a rooster chase crows away that were wanting stuff I’d thrown to the flock. I have not seen any real interaction with hawks, but my hawks tend to be red tailed hawks which can but don’t normally bother chickens that often. Cooper’s hawks are the ones normally called chicken hawks and I just don’t see those. I have seen the entire flock really upset when I had a 5’ black snake in the coop but the rooster did not go in there and take care of the snake. He did warn the hens it was there.

    Some people on here have seen a rooster attack a hawk that attacked one of his flock members. It can happen. But in your case one rooster won’t make that much difference. In a flock of over 300 they are just not going to be close enough together for him to be close enough to get there in time even if he were so inclined. I don’t know how many roosters it would take to give even the marginal protection some roosters provide but I’d think it would be several. Do you really want to feed a lot of chickens that don’t produce eggs? It’s certainly your choice. If it’s worth it to you I’d think 15 roosters would be a good number for you. But that’s only a guess since you asked for a number. See how it goes.
     
  7. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Very informative and interesting info. Thanks Ridgerunner!
     
  8. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi donrae,

    Here is a picture. I believe he is a Welsummer, although I'm new to this.

    We ordered seven breeds:

    Welsummer
    Golden Comets
    Barred Rock
    Ameraucana
    Easter Egger
    Salmon Faverolles
    Leghorn



    [​IMG]
     
  9. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    He's a Welsummer.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Yep, handsome little Welsummer guy. I can see why you'd be tempted to keep him, they're the classic rooster coloring. So pretty! And usually well mannered as a rule. With that many hens, I don't see that he'd have much to complain about [​IMG]
     

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