1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Too many roosters in the hen house?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by carldaugh, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. carldaugh

    carldaugh In the Brooder

    May 14, 2016
    Holopaw, Florida
    Hello, BYC friends, I have a question.

    Can there be too many roosters in the hen-house??

    Here's our set-up.
    We have 20 chickens total. Four (4) adults (1 Leghorn rooster, 2 game hens, 1 silkie hen) and 16, 3 & 4 month old chicks.
    Chicks are 7 golden comet pullets, 3 Leghorn pullets, 1 Leghorn rooster, 2 RIR roosters, 1 RIR hen, and 2 more game hens.

    Scenario.... two days ago one of the RIR rooster "4 mo. old chicks" attempted a "mount" of one of the adult game hens, not only did she not appreciate his advances, neither did the adult Leghorn. "Papa" roo promptly yanked a "knot in his chain", pulled him off "mama hen", and quietly went about his business. I have not seen this happen since, but I know it's inevitable. My question is.... should we be concerned, or do we allow nature to rule here?? I hoping this young "Roo chick" has learned a life lesson and sticks to "his place in the order".

    Other than the occasional "pecking order squabble" there's been no other issues with the adults and chicks co-mingling/eating/roosting.

    I grew up (30 years ago) raising chickens and pigs, but these were all for "food" purposes so we never really "got attached" to our animals. We just this year got to a property sufficient for livestock. We decided to start with 20 chickens. As you may understand my entire family has grown "attached" to each of the chickens. We have a 20 Ft x 20 Ft coop. Half of it is covered and half "exposed" but surrounded by chicken wire. We have since covered most of the "outside area" with a black-mesh tarp to give more shade in our extreme Florida heat.
    This pic is from back in March 2016, before we brought the "babies" out from the "incubator".
    The 4 adults are in the "covered area to the right, out of the photo.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016

  2. TerryH

    TerryH Songster

    Mar 12, 2016
    NW Arkansas
    My Coop
    1 rooster for every 10-12 hens is a generally accepted number.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    As the cockerels reach sexual maturity, they will start harassing the hens and eventually may challenge the adult rooster. When it comes to roosters, 'less is best'.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Agreed. One rooster can easily cover your 16 females. Your young guy may have been set back temporarily, but he may (or may not) challenge the adult one when he's older. If you really feel the need to keep all of them, I would suggest a bachelor pen. I also would watch for personality and see how they act around humans. I would not keep any that are human aggressive. That may help you weed them out right there.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    People often think that nature can rule... and that is true, but in nature, life is often very violent and ugly. Chickens are domesticated, and people have developed methods that keep domesticated animals productive and healthy. A coop/run is not a natural place. It is a protected place under your management. When people started domesticating animals it was to improve a continuous food source, and not to lose the investment that the animals entail.

    In the wild, chickens are prey, and a lot of the birds would be eaten by something else, controlling numbers. Less dominant birds would be driven away from the flock, and be eaten.

    In a coop, hopefully none of that is going on. But in a coop/run set up, you have to be the manager as to the numbers of birds in a limited space and the number of roosters. You have just seen the first episode, but not the last. I am sure that your family does not want to remove those friendly younger roosters, but if you don't, you will see a lot of negative things happening in your flock. People tend to just hope that they will all get along, so that they do not have to make life and death decisions. They think that they do not need to follow traditional management methods as they can afford to keep the roosters as pets, it does not have to be an economical decision.

    Truth is, roosters can be very aggressive. To hens, towards other roosters and towards people. When asked, (I realize you didn't ask) I strongly recommend first time chicken people to only have a hen flock. Roosters take some experience, and roosters are often giving out cues that inexperienced people misinterpret, such as the squabble that you think has settled the issue.

    If I have the count right, you have at least 4 roosters in a flock of about twenty. It is too many roosters. You can cull or re-home some of those roosters now, or wait until you have a mess on your hands. You definitely need to have a cage set up, so that you can immediately separate birds that are fighting to the death.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Songster

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    I have 7 hens, 4 roosters, and 6 chicks, yet to be determined. They have a 1/2 acre to free range in.
    2 of my roos are brothers, hatched out 3 years ago, from Broody Mama Ramin. Hank is the dominate rooster, and is as gentile as they come, he will take food from my hand, and then call the ladies over to eat. Once they have their fill, then he will eat. His brother Cotton is the bad boy, he will charge me if I am not looking. I always carry a broom when I go out in the back yard. If Hank is near by, I will yell to him to get Cotton, and Hank will chase him away from me. Cotton does try to challenge Hank, they get into it from time to time, and I have tried to find Cotton a home, any home, but I have not had anyone interested.

    My other 2 roos are 2 years old, hatched out by Brody Mama Ramin. No Name & Puffles are as sweet as them can be. You can go right up to them, scoop them in your arms and love on them. No Name will talk to you as you hold him. The two younger boys will try to love on the ladies, but as soon as Hank hears them squawk, he comes to their aide, and just chases the boys away.

    2 of the yet to be determined chicks looks like they are roos, their legs are quite large, and they are quite tall at 2 1/2 months old. My younger 3 chicks are only 2 weeks old, so I have to wait.
    I may be building a bachelor pad soon, just to house Cotton in. I want to keep my sweet boys out and running in the grass. They have feathered feet like their grandpa, and short legs, they look so cute running to me when I call them.
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    If and when they start causing turmoil, squawking each other and running around bouncing off the walls and knocking the hens over you have too many. If there's no problem, don't worry about it.
    The 1/10 ratio is for optimum egg fertility in a commercial enviroment and not applicable to how many pet roosters you can keep in your backyard chicken pen.
    1 person likes this.

  8. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Songster

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    Happy Happy Day! Went to the feed store to get layer pellets for the chickens, after picking hubby up from work today, and ask the owner if he know of a place where I could re-home Cotton. He said, sure bring him to me, I have a friend who re-homes them. So Thursday, Cotton will have a new home! [​IMG]
  9. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Songster

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    Cotton is at his new home, and I can walk in my back yard without a broom!
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Hooray! It's a great feeling, isn't it?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by