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

Too many roosters?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DillardHome, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

    Sep 2, 2009
    Claxton, GA
    I have 11 chickens - Silkies and Sumatras. When we got them all we new we had 4 hens but the rest were to young to tell. Now they are older and of the 11, I know for sure that 5 are hens and 4 are roosters. The remaining two are still to young to tell. 2 of the 4 roosters have become dominating and aggressive toward the hens. My husband says that I have too many roosters and I should get rid of a couple before they hurt each other. I do let them all free range during the day, and they all voluntarily go into the coop at night to roost. So they are not cooped up all day. So my question is: How many roosters are too many?

    Thank you for your help!

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    More than one rooster per 8 to 10 hens, some say 10 to 12 hens. Even if they don't fight, the hens will end up overmated and stressed out from all the attention. Stressed hens don't lay well. Just MHO.
    Welcome to BYC!
  3. kyrose

    kyrose Songster

    Jul 29, 2009
    well ive got 5 roos.3 silkies,1 wyandotte and 1 mix.they get along fne,i think it depends on the breeds and their temperment.
  4. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

    Sep 2, 2009
    Claxton, GA
    The roosters do seem to get along (for now at least) with each other, but they do seem aggressive toward the hens. Like what GRITSAR said the roosters are constantly jumping on the hens. Is that normal for roosters to force themselves on the hens even when the hens are squaking and trying to run away? Maybe its the human in me but that bothers me. [​IMG] And on another note, is it normal for roosters to start crowing way before daylight? Mine seem to like to start around 4:30am when it is still pitch black outside? Why do they crow anyway? [​IMG]

    Thanks again everyone for your help. I am learning from them all the time. [​IMG]
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I have one roo with just over 20 pullets/hens and he doesn't get the job done with all of them.
  6. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Songster

    Feb 6, 2009
    They WILL crow when it's dark. I ask them why & they won't tell me. [​IMG]

    I have experienced a problem with taking a "wait & see" approach to having too many roosters. That is, by the time I noticed any aggression, it was too late. Mind you, my coop is right up near my house and I work from home. I had two young Americauna roosters. They were hatch mates & would hang out together and roost together. Too cute! One morning, I was on my way to run an errand & saw them facing off - just hackles up and some chest bumping. I decided that as soon as I got home (in 2 hrs.), I would put one of them in our separation pen w/a few hens. Got home, later, to find that they had nearly killed eachother. Rehomed the winner; kept the loser cuz he was so beat "to a bloody pulp" that his head was a giant scab. Figured no one would want a roo with a head that looked like a meatball.
  7. Matoe

    Matoe In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2009
    crystal coast NC
    I had 3 roo's for my 15 girls way too much action for the girls so we picked a roo to keep. The smaller less aggrasive one made the best choice he never bothered the girls with the other roos around But now he is king of the coop. A good choice Big Boy and his friend Meany WE tried to do the right thing and eat the roos but at 6 months they were the worst I have ever tried to eat. What to do with the boys ????????? Pura Vida Matoe

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    How many roosters are too many? Depends on what you want.

    If you want fertile hens, you need about 1 full sized rooster for every 10 to 12 full sized hens or 1 bantam rooster for every 12 to 15 bantan hens. Some roosters can handle more, some cannot.

    If you want a flock protector, you only really need one, but two will often form a good partnership and work well together taking on slightly different tasks. When I open my coop in the morning to let them into the run, the dominant rooster comes out first to make sure everything is Ok and the second in command comes out last, protecting the rear sort of. Of course it could be that the secondin command is afraid to come out, but I don't think so. They get along pretty well.

    If you want pets, you can have as many as you can handle.

    There are a couple of potential problems with having multiple roosters. You can get barebacked hens. This is where a hen loses enough feathers on her back to make it possible she can be injured by the spurs or claws of the rooster when mating. If she gets injured to the point where blood is drawn, the others can peck her to death. You can get barebacked hens with only one rooster and any number of hens. Sometimes a rooster will pick a favorite and overmate her, even if he has plenty of others to choose from. And it is common for breeders to keep 1 rooster with 1 or 2 hens and not experience these problems. Things like personality, age, and size difference between the hen and rooster play a part. It seems that older roosters are less prone to causing barebacked hens that the equivalent of active teenagers. Either they mellow with age or learn better techniques. Your odds of getting barebacked hens increases as the ratio of roosters to hens increases, but the ratio is not sure thing. It can happen with any ratio.

    The other possible problem is fighting for flock domination. It is possible that roosters will fight to the death to try to become the flock master. Some will not accept any other rooster in the flock, regardless of number of hens. This problem is usually worse if you introduce new roosters to the flock. Introducing a new rooster to a flock almost guarantees a pretty bad fight. Roosters raised with the flock, whether they are brothers in a brood or a father-son type relationship, will often work out these differences without bloodshed, although you can expect them to determine which is the dominant one. There will be reminders even after this is determined, but it is usually not bloody. The son will challenge his father once he reaches a certain age. It is certainly possible that they will fight to the death. It depends on the personality of the two. Interestingly, difference in size between the roosters does not make that much difference in which is the dominant one. It seems it is determined by spirit instead of size.

    As far as the roosters chasing the pullets who try to run away. The rooster has certain responsibilities in the flock. One of these is to assure the eggs are fertile. He also needs to be dominant over the hens to perform some of his other duties. He establishes this dominance by mating. It is something that is natural with chickens. Sometimes, or should I say usually, a rooster will mature before a pullet. He will be ready to play at being a big boy before the pullet is ready to do her part. Since she does not understand what is going on and her instinct to procreate has not kicked in as early as his, she will try to run away. The rooster's instinct says, wait a minute, we have not finished, so he tries to force his way. My pullets had sufficient room to get away when this behavior started so it never got too bad. The rooster just gave up after a couple of steps. If you don't have room for the pullets to get away or you have a very aggressive rooster, it can get pretty rough. Some roosters are natural brutes and deserve the crock pot, but many will mellow out a lot when the pullet matures enough to properly perform her duties within the flock. Some pullets seem to never mature to the point that they will accept a rooster without a fuss. I believe it is both the rooster and the hen's responsibility to give me a peaceful, tranquil, fertile, flock. I keep a limited number of hens in my laying/breeding flock. I do give the pullets sufficient time to mature, but after they are well into laying, if they consistently resist the rooster's advanced, that is sufficient grounds for them to not be in my permanent flock.

    There is no magic number of what is the right number of roosters for a certain number of hens for everyone. It depends on your set up and your goals. There are potential problems with any numbers you decide. My suggestion is to keep the number of roosters to the minimum that is consistent with your goals to reduce the potential of these problems, but that is a opersonal decision and different for each of us.
  9. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I have 2 roosters for about 47 RIR hens and they seem fine. They pay attention to the hens that have bright red combs and ignore the pink combed hens. As long as they mount each hen at least once a week, I feel I'm fine. Anymore than that, and I feel I would be neglecting the pullets. They would be harassed too much and the feed I would be giving the unnecessary roosters could be going to the pullets.
    Even though you are talking about a very small breed, I would slaughter them, unless you have someone that would be interested in them. They are taking up space for nothing. Let the space they take up, be in the freezer.
  10. DillardHome

    DillardHome Songster

    Sep 2, 2009
    Claxton, GA
    I think the best decision is to try and find a home for at least two of the roosters and try keeping two for now. The roosters are Silkies. Would anyone like to adopt them or one? Since I don't have it in me to put them in a pot. [​IMG] I really do not know their ages, we've had them since August 16, 2009 and we were told they were only a couple months old then. I can send larger pictures if your interested via email. I am requesting pick up only.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by