So, how many men do I really need?


10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
We are looking at a flock of about 40 birds and I was wondering how many "men" do the ladies need to ensure fertility? Right now our brood is 24 strong (we are expanding this year), with a single roo (he's a big fat cochin with what appears to be a low sex drive), but he manages the flock nicely and doesn't attack me when I show up.

My birds are a mixed bunch (Barred Rocks, Red Stars, Mutts, Orpingtons, Australops (sp?)).

Thanks for any help!
I've always heard about 10 hens per rooster??? But if you're happy with how your cochin's been doing, maybe only try three. Maybe your cochin doesn't really have a low sex drive, your hens just aren't being harshly molested because his lovin is spread so
I have had as many as 20 hens and pullets to one Roo. I would say 10 to 20 to one Roo. If you have too few hens or pullets, some Roos may be so active that they wear the feathers off of the backs of the girls. Some Roos can also tend to breed some girls more than others. They may have favorites.
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Do you hatch a lot of eggs? Is 100% fertilitily realllllly important? If not, I would get 2 more roo's and plan on getting rid of the one you like least. Just my $.02. If you need 100% fert. you'll probably want 2 more long-term.
Actually, you don't "need" any men since you can buy fertilized eggs and hatch em in an incubator.

But, as I saw someone already posted, if you really want them a rooster's fertility drops the more hens he has to service. I've seen people post 8-10 hens per roo minimum and up to 30 hens per roo.

Personally, I have three roosters with 30+ hens and I still ended up with a broody setting on 9 eggs, two of which were ufertilized eggs. Go figure.

I wish I had 40 hens w/ my roo! I have 10 hens and the roo is TOO active. If you want pure breeds, have a roo for each breed in a 'bachelor pad' and separate them into breeding pens when you are ready for chicks.. If just want chicks--mixed, divide the roo out with several hens for a few weeks to ensure fertility!

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