Roosters add some vibrancy to your flock of birds. If they are not offering security to your hens, they are mating with them to ensure the continuity of a species. Certainly, these male chickens are a must-have if you want a colorful flock of chickens in your backyard. How many hens should you have per rooster? When he is in his prime age, a rooster should have up to 10 hens to serve. This number reduces with age and at three years old, the rooster should be considered beyond prime.
To keep more roosters, you will require a large number of hens and more space in your backyard or chicken run. Unless you want to confine them, a small space in your backyard is not suitable for more than one rooster. Also, you need to be aware of your neighbors’ feelings about keeping roosters in your compound. These male chickens can be noisy sometimes and make your closest neighbors uncomfortable.
How Many Hens Per Rooster
Even though one rooster can serve as high as 10 hens, this number varies greatly with individual breeds. On the other hand, the size of your flock will influence the number of roosters needed to serve them. Keep in mind that roosters are territorial and aggressive thus the need to be careful when keeping them in the same area.
Some people believe that the optimum number of hens per rooster should be ten on the higher side, but this can vary greatly with individual breeds. For instance, 12 Leghorn hens will require 1 rooster; 6 Bantam Silkie hens will need 1 rooster and 4 Turkey hens as will be comfortable with 1 rooster.
Other people feel that the minimum number of hens per rooster should be either 3 or 4 although this can be a problem in one way or the other. For example, many chicken owners have noted that Easter Eggers, Rhode Island Reds, and Ameraucana roosters become more aggressive in the presence of other roosters and a little bit hostile to hens as well.
You can minimize the damage to your hens by ensuring that there is enough number of hens for each rooster. Just like human beings, roosters will develop an affinity for specific hens in your flock. So, it’s a good idea to make sure that those favorite hens don’t become badly worn from mating with many roosters repeatedly.
Watch out, especially the young, immature roosters for their violent mating as a way of protecting your hens. If you don’t take precautions at the right time, violent mating may result in bald spots, broken feathers, and skin tears among other injuries.
Apart from that, the hens can become fatigued and resort to hiding in order to avoid violent mating from your roosters. Should you notice any of these signs or find your hen looking rugged, you must take action immediately. The best you can do in this case is to isolate the roosters in separate quarters.
Also, you may pen your roosters for several days per week to relieve your hens from frequent mating. This technique works pretty well with many chicken keepers who have less space in their backyards or have a large number of birds in one place.
How Much Space Should You Provide Your Roosters?
One or two roosters will be enough for you if you keep your chickens in the backyard. The main work of roosters is to provide security to the hens as well as mating. As a result, they will guard their space with jealousy in a manner that suggests their intention of conserving their resources.
With that in mind, you must avoid keeping too many male roosters in one place to avoid conflicts and scramble for limited resources. Sometimes you have more roosters than required. So, it’s advisable to separate them in what is known as a ‘bachelor pad’.
Naturally, male birds get along well when in the absence of females and that is the reason your roosters will coexist with each other when they are left to share the same space. Therefore, make an effort of constructing a run and a coop for roosters only if you can.
This is the only way to prevent them from fighting each other over hens, territory, and resources. At the same time, it gives you enough time to change out or replace one rooster with another within your flock when necessary.
In any case, you find yourself faced with several mini-flocks from different breeds, you may decide to assign one rooster for every flock. This way, you will enable each rooster and other flocks to have their own space in a bid to keep them separate. Nevertheless, the area you are keeping these flocks separately does not need to be large. But you must ensure that it’s well-delineated using a barrier or a fence.
Why Do Hens Need a Rooster?
Some kitchen owners don’t see the need for a rooster in their flock of birds. As a matter of fact, they perceive them as a nuisance and unnecessary.
Even though some roosters are a nuisance and stubborn, not all of them have the same behavior. It is all about an individual rooster’s traits rather than just accusing all of them. This is more or less the same as generalizing a group of people rather than pointing an accusing finger to an individual.
The presence of a rooster in your flock means a lot in terms of security and equilibrium. When it comes to security, the rooster takes the frontline in defending his hens no matter how serious the threat may seem. Also, the rooster watches over the chicks as well as finding some tasty morsels for the hens.
Let’s learn more about two major reasons why you should keep roosters with your hens:
The Pecking Order
Roosters affect the pecking order in every flock they are placed in. The pecking order is described as a complex social stratification among different flocks of birds. In simpler terms, the pecking order enables each chicken to know its place in relation to other flock members. The chickens are supposed to recognize each member in their flock and know where they belong in the hierarchy.
Here are three major distinct levels of relationships in the pecking order:
- Rooster to rooster
- Hen to hen
- Rooster to hens
According to the pecking order, mature and clever roosters will always take the top position on the ladder. Mostly, you will find alpha roosters at the top followed by others at the bottom. The alpha rooster’s hens will not be far behind in the pecking order.
Normally, the alpha rooster takes the responsibility of looking after the flock by providing food and security. In return, he receives other benefits such as best perches, best food and finest hens in the flock.
Those roosters found in the lower section of the order are referred to as secondary roosters. From the name, you can tell that they are not as powerful as the alpha roosters. This means they are not entitled to privileges and perks that are enjoyed by those at the top of the pyramid.
But a young and energetic rooster may try to ‘overthrow’ the alpha male from time to time and eventually succeed in doing so if the alpha rooster is sick, injured or old. If this happens, then the pecking order will be altered in favor of the new rooster.
Any flock that has a rooster is found to be more cohesive, focused and peaceful. You can tell a good rooster by observing it all the time. This particular rooster works extra hard to ensure that his flock is comfortable and safe.
For instance, he’ll escort hens to a feeding spot or stand guard watching them feed. This rooster will ensure that every hen feels part of the flock. Furthermore, the rooster ensures that he guards the hens against predators and any form of danger including other roosters.
How often do roosters want to mate with chickens? Roosters mate with hens so many times that you can not keep a good count of their actions. Naturally, roosters want to reproduce from time to time, especially those that are the most healthy and young ones. So, it is not something new to see your rooster mating between 10 and 30 times per day.
What happens when roosters mate excessively? If there are a few hens in your backyard, your rooster may decide to mate with the few that are available, causing them to lose their physical condition and make them experience unnecessary stress. It is always advisable for you to provide your rooster with 8 to 10 hens. But this number depends on an individual chicken and breed as well.
One rooster is known to serve up to 10 hens but this depends on an individual breed among other factors. The presence of roosters in your flock has its own significant value. These male chickens provide security to the entire flock, help in establishing the pecking order and most importantly, fertilize eggs for the continuity of a generation. For these reasons, chicken keepers should always include one or several roosters to their backyard flocks if they find it necessary.