Will Brahma roosters be too much around Leghorn hens?

DoozyWombat

Songster
I have a small flock of Brahmas. Currently six hens and two roos, but we might be swapping one of the hens for a third rooster (which I don't think is sustainable with that number of hens.) We also have a bunch of CX which are heading to freezer camp very soon, and a single Leghorn pullet. Everyone is about ten weeks old, but we need to sort this out very soon.

Two questions.

1. Would three Brahma roosters be sustainable with a group of five Brahma hens? I.e., would they kill each other or get along?

2. If we have two Brahma roosters instead of three, along with five Brahma hens and one Leghorn hen, would it be too hard on the lone Leghorn? I.e., do I need to find a home for the Leghorn? (I'd hate to do that, as she is our favorite bird, but it just dawned on us that the Brahma roosters are three times the weight of the Leghorn hens.)

I love the tappable experience of BYC!

Thanks very much in advance.
 

3KillerBs

Crossing the Road
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My one Light Brahma rooster had the feathers off the backs of 4 of his 5 hens (the Brahmas tolerated his weight better than the other breeds that weren't so heavily feathered). I'd think even two roosters would leave all the hens completely naked -- if they weren't always fighting each other.
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
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With only 5 hens, 6 including the Leghorn, I'd get down to 1 rooster. 6 hens and 2 or 3 roosters could be brutal on the hens.

The Leghorn can bear the Brahma, but it will be harder on her. However, she is also flightier of foot and likely not as easily caught for amorous duties.

Only keep a rooster that is a gentleman to his hens. Some feather breakage is expected, especially in the heavier breeds, but he shouldn't be bullying them. Because of his weight, you may need to go to hen aprons to protect their feathers. Some roosters are simply more adept than others as well. I keep those who do little damage to their girls. The clumsy fellows find freezer camp.

My thoughts.
LofMc
 

DoozyWombat

Songster
My one Light Brahma rooster had the feathers off the backs of 4 of his 5 hens (the Brahmas tolerated his weight better than the other breeds that weren't so heavily feathered). I'd think even two roosters would leave all the hens completely naked -- if they weren't always fighting each other.

That's what I feared. Thanks for the information!
 

DoozyWombat

Songster
With only 5 hens, 6 including the Leghorn, I'd get down to 1 rooster. 6 hens and 2 or 3 roosters could be brutal on the hens.

The Leghorn can bear the Brahma, but it will be harder on her. However, she is also flightier of foot and likely not as easily caught for amorous duties.

Only keep a rooster that is a gentleman to his hens. Some feather breakage is expected, especially in the heavier breeds, but he shouldn't be bullying them. Because of his weight, you may need to go to hen aprons to protect their feathers. Some roosters are simply more adept than others as well. I keep those who do little damage to their girls. The clumsy fellows find freezer camp.

My thoughts.
LofMc

Good thoughts, especially about the Leghorn being fleeter of foot. She definitely is that.

Thanks!
 

Folly's place

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I agree that even two roosters will likely be too many for your small flock. If you keep any, keep the one who's best behaved, and has no human aggression developing.
At ten weeks, some behaviors will be showing up, but things can really change in the next two or three months.
Some birds have better feathers than others, so some pullets and hens will look fine when being mated, and others will develop bare backs, with the same amount of breeding happening. Fewer hens means more breeding attempts with each, usually. And without adults to squelch adolescent foolishness, these young cockerels will be pretty busy fairly soon.
You could also eliminate all the cockerels this year, and raise some chicks next year, including cockerels, and pick someone then.
Mary
 

Ridgerunner

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1. Would three Brahma roosters be sustainable with a group of five Brahma hens? I.e., would they kill each other or get along?

Whether you have one hen or 50 they might get along or they might fight to the death. Odds are there will be some pretty serious fighting whether you have one of 50 hens but i can't tell you if they will reach an accommodation or it will be tragic.

2. If we have two Brahma roosters instead of three, along with five Brahma hens and one Leghorn hen, would it be too hard on the lone Leghorn? I.e., do I need to find a home for the Leghorn? (I'd hate to do that, as she is our favorite bird, but it just dawned on us that the Brahma roosters are three times the weight of the Leghorn hens.)

During the mating act the hen squats. This gets her body onto the ground so the rooster's weight gets to the ground through her entire body, not just her legs. This way a hen can support a heavier rooster without injury to her legs. The more weight difference the hen and rooster the easier it is for something to go wrong, but it usually doesn't. I personally would not be that worried about the Brahma rooster hurting a Leghorn hen's body because of the weight difference.

My suggestion is to prepare a place you can isolate two of those boys away from the flock at a moments notice. Be ready. I suspect you'll probably need it in another month or two.
 

DoozyWombat

Songster
I agree that even two roosters will likely be too many for your small flock. If you keep any, keep the one who's best behaved, and has no human aggression developing.
At ten weeks, some behaviors will be showing up, but things can really change in the next two or three months.
Some birds have better feathers than others, so some pullets and hens will look fine when being mated, and others will develop bare backs, with the same amount of breeding happening. Fewer hens means more breeding attempts with each, usually. And without adults to squelch adolescent foolishness, these young cockerels will be pretty busy fairly soon.
You could also eliminate all the cockerels this year, and raise some chicks next year, including cockerels, and pick someone then.
Mary

Thank you, Mary. We'll definitely pick the rooster by temperament, and we'll probably stick to just one, after reading the comments.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
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If you are able to butcher the meat birds, then put the boys where you had the meat bird. They will need a couple of weeks more, but AArt is fond of them on the grill at that time.

I do not quite understand why you would swap a hen for a rooster. Adding a third rooster is going to triple your odds of things not going well.

If asked, I give the advice of a hen only flock the first year. Get some experience, roosters are a crap shoot and take experience, they seem to be a darling or a nightmare. Being as you can cull, I would do the meat birds and the roosters.

Next year, raise up some chicks in the flock with the older birds, they tend to educate roosters. Or if you really want a rooster, ask around, what you are looking for is an extra rooster that was raised up in a multi-generational flock, and is so nice, he did not get culled and is nearly a year old. I would not add him till the pullets are laying.

Personally, I like 8-12 hens with a rooster, but I would not add a second rooster until I was approaching 20-30 hens. Roosters take more space than hens. I think what you are considering is pretty much a good recipe for at least one and a high probability of multiple cock fights, and worn out pullets. This is going to be hard on all the pullets, not just the leghorn.

Mrs K

Mrs K
 

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