Will my Plymouth Barred Rock Roosters hurt my Silkie hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by slaird61, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. slaird61

    slaird61 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2010
    I have 3 Plymouth Barred Rock Roosters and 13 11 wk. old pullets. Some of those pullets are Silkies (assuming they are pullets). Right now the pullets are seperated from the roos but when they are big enough I plan to put the roos and pullets together. Will my standard sized roos hurt my silkie hens? Should I keep the silkies seperated forever?
  2. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    mant people mix with no problems I keep mine seperate but it is because of several small streams on the property
  3. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
    They should be just fine as long as that roo isn't too aggressive.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas

    Part of it depends on what you consider "hurt". Some people seem to think that the act of a rooster mating with a hen is hurtful. Some of us think that it is natural. There are a lot of variations to this, especially if the hen resists, but the normal sequence is that the rooster dances, the hen squats (which means she lays down on the ground to spread the weight of the rooster so it is not as bad as some people think), the rooster grabs her by the back of the head and hops on, the head grab is her signal to raise her tail, the rooster does his thing and hops off, the hen stands up, fluffs out her feathers and does the fluffy shake to get the sperm situated right in her reproductive tract.

    Several things can go wrong with this. Sometimes the rooster does not dance to give the invitation, has a rough technique, or is just a bully. These don't last long in my flock. Sometimes, or maybe often, the hen resists and tries to run away when he dances. The rooster may ignore her and go about his other rooster business. Sometimes he chases. Often, if he chases,, the hen will stop and submit. She was just flirting and wanted to know if he really cared for her. Sometimes she really tries to get away. The rooster may quit chasing when he sees she is serious aboout getting away or he may chase her down and force her. Hens that are consistently serious about getting away do not tend to last long in my flock either. They disrupt the peace and tranquility of my flock more than I want, plus I want fertile eggs. Also, they increase the chance that they will get hurt during this process. How this goes depends a lot on the personality of your chickens. I think the more room you give your chickens, the better the odds that they can work this type of thing our without them getting hurt.

    With your specific situation, I cannot tell you how it will go. I don't have silkies so I am not familiar with their feathers or how much the feathers will protect them from the rooster's claws and spurs. I'm sure you will find that many people on this forum have silkies and regular sized roosters and don't have problems. I'm sure you will find some with problems. A mature silkie hen usually weighs about 2 to 3 pounds, A mature BR rooster usually weighs around 11 pounds. This can vary by individual. Most roosters weigh more than hens of their own breed, but this is quite a bit of difference. The way a hen squats on the ground to spread the load, this is not a huge issue, but if he is exceptionally rough or she resists too much, it can be an issue. Another potential problem is that he is probably more likely to cause damage with his claws or maybe spurs because of the difference in weight. It may not be necessary but I'd be on the lookout for that type of damage. You may want to clip the claws so they are not as sharp or maybe trim his spurs if it becomes a problem.

    I don't think there is a simple answer to your question. Different things can and do happen.

    Good luck!
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Well, first of all 3 roosters to that many hens will result in way too much wear and tear on the hens. One would do the job just fine. Think of the potential of a horny 12 pound rooster mounting a 2 pound silky hen then being pushed off by a second and third rooster gang breeding her. Yes there is potential for real serious physical injury. Roosters fighting over and gang breeding standard hens can cause serious damage to them. Just ask anyone who has dealt with the slashes caused by spurs and toenails. Is it a given that the hens will be hurt? I think yes if you keep all three roosters. With one gentle rooster and the ability to get away (as in free range or large pen with hiding places) it mnight work out O.K. Just remember in breeding as in the pecking order the weakest are frequently the target.

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