too many roosters

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by prizeybelle, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. prizeybelle

    prizeybelle New Egg

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    Hi, I received my first set of chicks (6) that were born May 2014 and as they grow up fear I have 5 roosters to 1 hen. Obviously we can not keep the ratio like this. We really want eggs so we need more hens. If we add hens to the flock do they need to be approximately the same age? We do not mind roosters but understanding we have too many, how many do we need to get rid of. Basically, any advice I could get on how to get a reasonable flock would be great. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge True BYC Addict

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    A lot of the answer will depend on your coop size and whether they are free ranged. Wondering about your climate too.
    IMO if the roosters are raised together and get along you should be ok with 2 if you have enough hens. Roosters can be very demanding of the hens so I would try and have at least 5 hens to every rooster. ( I still think 5 is not enough)
    When grown roosters get to fighting over territory or hens it can be really really bad for them both.
    I personally believe in the one rooster per coop set up.
    Hoping for the best for you little fellers.
     
  3. prizeybelle

    prizeybelle New Egg

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    Thank you for your response. Our coop is only a 4x4 that has an attached run. Just yesterday I opened up the run and let them all out into a large chain linked fenced area. I think they really enjoyed the new freedom. We live in middle Georgia and have lots of shade trees for them. I am in the process of looking for more hens. Do I need to get hens that are about the same age as the one I have? Does breed matter? I am not sure what breeds I have, the gal that received the eggs to hatch was told they were silkies but that is definitely not the case. I can send pics if you are interested in looking at them and giving me your opinion. How long do I have to get this taken care of. The chickens are about 3 months old.
     
  4. J at Yoti Farms

    J at Yoti Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    10 hens per rooster is a good number
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Personally I don’t believe in magic numbers for chickens. We keep them in so many different situations and conditions, for so many different goals, and they have such different personalities, there is no magic ratio that solves all problems. I think how much room they have is a real critical factor. I’ve had just as many problems with a real good hen to rooster ratio as when I had a ratio that people would call bad. Each flock is unique. Still, I always recommend that you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals. It’s not that you are guaranteed problems with more roosters, just that problems are more likely.

    In your situation, with that small coop and what sounds like somewhat restricted run area at least part of the time, I’d strongly suggest no more than one rooster maximum. You simply don’t have the room for more than that. You might follow the link in my signature for some of my thoughts on room before you get more hens. The only reason you need a rooster is if you want fertile eggs. Everything else is personal preference. The hens will be quite happy without a rooster and will lay just as well. If eggs is all you want then zero roosters might be the right number for you.

    Those chicks may have hatched from Silkie eggs. The gene that gives the Silkie feathering is recessive, it has to pair up at that gene pair for the feathering to show up. If the rooster that fertilized those eggs was not a Silkie, the Silkie feathering would not show.

    Breed doesn’t really matter when you are looking for more hens. If you are looking for eggs only, just get hens that should lay a lot of eggs. They’ll fit in and make a nice flock. Size of the hen doesn’t matter that much and I’ve always kept chickens of various colors together without any problems from that.

    If you can, try to get hens about the same age as yours. Integrating new chickens can get tricky, especially in small spaces. The more room you can give them, the easier it usually goes. Maturity is very important in that too. They will have to establish a pecking order when you put them together. More mature chickens outrank immature ones and can sometimes be quite brutal if the more immature cannot get away. What often happens when two chicken that don’t know where they rank in the pecking order share personal space is that one pecks or tries to intimidate the other. If one chicken runs away they have determined pecking order, though there may be some chasing and running away, plus some repeat performances. If one does not run away there will almost certainly be a fight, but usually it’s not long before one decides it’s better to run away.

    Even if they have settled the pecking order, if the weaker invades the personal space of the stronger there can still be pecking and chasing. That’s why you often see younger chickens form their own separate flock when you integrate them, they just try to stay away from the older chickens. It helps tremendously to have enough room for them to run away or avoid.

    Sometimes integration goes so smoothly that you wonder what all these predictions of gloom and doom are all about. Sometimes they end in disaster. Most of the time there is some bullying and skirmishing but they work it out. Many of us do that all the time quite successfully, but you can read some horror stories on this forum about that. They are living animals, no one can tell you what will happen in your unique situation.

    If you do get more hens that are younger or older than your current hen, you can still integrate them, it is just a little harder.

    The sooner you take care of the extra cockerels the better. At three months they are getting ready to hit puberty. The hormones are very soon going to hit them really hard. The cockerels will start fighting for flock dominance. If the loser in these fights has enough room to run away these usually end OK though they can get pretty vicious. Sometimes even with room injuries or death can happen. I have lots of room. I had one cockerel dislocate a leg this year in these fights. When the others sensed that weakness they tried to kill it. It could not run away. If you don’t have any females with the cockerels these fights are usually not nearly as bad, usually no worse than a flock of pure hens determining pecking order, but if a female is present those hormones take strong control.

    They will also start mating with that pullet. She won’t know what is going on because the cockerels will mature before she does so she will probably resist. They will force her, especially if she can’t run away due to restricted space, though with that kind of ratio they will catch her anyway. It will almost certainly be very hard on her and she could get injured. You may be better off separating the pullet from the others if you can’t get rid of the extra cockerels really soon.

    Good luck with this. You can do this quite successfully. Many of us do regularly.
     
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  6. prizeybelle

    prizeybelle New Egg

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    Thank you so much for the info. I am going to attach pics of my chicks, can you (if possible) confirm that I do have 5 boys before we do the deed I am not crazy about. Also how long can my hen be by herself? I know they like to have others around, right?

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  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    3 is a pullet. The rest are boys. Sorry. I've had similar ratios before from hatches. It's rotten luck.
     
  8. prizeybelle

    prizeybelle New Egg

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    :) ok that is what I thought. Should I at least keep one of the boys until I find her some girlfriends? I also saw someone looking to sell their flock of Sussex Chickens. 7 Hens, 1 Rooster. Would this be a good idea if I kept my hen? I appreciate your help. We are hoping to increase our chickens at some point and would eventually like to do both meat and egg birds. I just don't want to overwhelm myself right in the beginning.
     
  9. prizeybelle

    prizeybelle New Egg

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    I should note the Sussex chickens are year and a half so much older than my girl. It could be horrible for her especially since I am sure they already have their pecking order :(
     

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