What's a good roo:hen ratio?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by happytxchick, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. happytxchick

    happytxchick Egg Song Acre

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sulphur Springs, TX
    The book about chickens that I got for my kids says that 1 roo and 2 hens are a "nice little family." I have several little families of different breeds that are/will be 1 cockerel to 4 pullets (they are all pretty young still and a couple of cockerels are in their eggs at the hatchery right now).

    Is this going to be a disaster? Should I get more pullets to offset the ratio? What in your experience is a good ratio?
  2. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    One of the gurus here mentioned on another thread that 1 rooster to 10 hens. Any fewer hens and there will likely be difficulties. No rooster here with 12 hens. I just remember that part of the discussion.
  3. happytxchick

    happytxchick Egg Song Acre

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sulphur Springs, TX
    Seriously!? My husband is going to "lay an egg" if I buy more chickens. [​IMG]
  4. SallyF

    SallyF Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    Don't forget to post a picture of the egg and call the news stations!! [​IMG]

    Seriously, I'd base it whether or not your roosters are fighting each other over the hens. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  5. chicknjane

    chicknjane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pine Grove, PA
    What I've learned through threads, reading Storey's guide and other books and from the people in my area is that the Alpha rooster will get with all the girls he can handle, but physically he may spread himself thin in the process (i.e. not all the eggs will get fertilized). My neighbor has dozens of chickens, mostly roosters and only the alpha really gets to mate consistently. Of course, they have lots of room to roam and the hens can easily escape the advances of the roosters so the hens don't show feather loss on the heads and backs. Another problem lies in whether or not the hens get stressed out from too much attention. If they do they won't lay. I have one rooster in his prime and he has his choice of 7 girls his own age, but stays with just one. (I think its because she's easy, where the others fight and squawk). She is the only one I have that lays and lays everyday.

    I got caught up in the whole rooster needs enough girls issue too and ended up going from 1 roo and 4 pullets to well, 30+ chickens.

    If you only have one rooster and enough room for the girls to escape, I wouldn't worry too much and if necessary you can always seperate the rooster.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Here are a couple of threads on roosters that you may find helpful. I will point out that there is no magic number of hen to rooster ratios. The often quoted ratio of 10 or 12 to 1 is about fertility only. Some people have no problems with very low ratios. Some people have severe problems with very high ratios. Read the threads and you will see what I mean.

    Number of roosters thread

    Managing multiple roosters

    My advice is to have as high a ratio as you can and meet your goals. I think with a 4 to 1 ratio, many of your groups will do fine and you will have some that have barebacked hens. It will depend on the personality of the individual rooster. Saddles or spur trimming may be helpful in some groups. This does assume you will keep the groups separate.
  7. happytxchick

    happytxchick Egg Song Acre

    Jul 8, 2009
    Sulphur Springs, TX
    Ridgerunner...thanks for these links...I will read them this evening when I have time to sit down and learn.

    Thank you very much!

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