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can you have a rooster with 5 hens? if so, how?

 
S Carreg
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Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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We have had our hens almost a week now and they seem to be doing ok. They were 2 yr old rescues from a commercial operation, we have 5 of them in a large static run with deep litter, and we are getting 2-4 eggs per day from day 1, hooray! I am curious about getting a rooster - would there be any benefits for a small flock that is in what I hope to be a secure static run, other than potentially hatching baby chicks? If there would be benefits, would 1 rooster to 5 slightly older hens be an acceptable ratio or does he need more? If it is possible, would I want a younger or an older cockerel, and what is the best way to introduce him?

What got me thinking is that one of my hens seems to be 'role-playing'.... she occassionally mounts one of the others, always the same one as far as I've seen. I don't think they're fighting too badly and no one has any missing feathers or anything, is this behaviour something to worry about?
 
Tristan Wood
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Maybe look into getting a less aggressive breed of rooster for your flock. I might look into getting more hens
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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yes, my experience is that a flock generally benefits from having a rooster. +1 on the docile bread advice, Brahmas are excellent in that regard, and beautiful. A rooster will maintin order in the flock, the hens will be happier and more content. Sure there are overzealous roosters, but a calm rooster is a good thing for the harmony of your flock. Everytime I remove a rooster from a flock, I notice an increase in bad hen behavior. Roosters will watch out for your hens, guide them to particularly tasty morsels, and keep everyboddy in line. Nasty roosters are certainly nasty, but a good one is worth finding. Like most things, a calm, middle aged rooster would be your most reliable bet.
 
Jay Green
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Roosters are a must if free ranging but I'd only have one in a static run if I wanted to reproduce my flock. One hen will usually step into the flock master role if there is no rooster. If you decide to get one, the usual ratio for rooster and hen is 1:10, though a much older rooster will be just right for 5. A younger one can/will wear the feathers right off their backs and can cause them to be too nervous to lay.

Introduce them by sectioning off a part of the pen and putting your new bird there for a week. Let them see him, hear him but no physical contact yet...then blend. It should go alright if he is older and there shouldn't be any dominance issues, but if younger, the older hens may kick him around a little until he gains maturity. Depends on the breed, the age, the flock order, etc.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I never knew about that 10 to 1 ratio.
Awesome answers guys.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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thanks very much! i think we'll let everyone get settled in for a few months and then see if we can find an older, calm rooster who needs a new home. then maybe we can add a few more chicks next year! thanks
 
Jay Green
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S Bengi wrote:I never knew about that 10 to 1 ratio.
Awesome answers guys.


A young and vigorous rooster can easily cover~but not overuse~a flock of 15-30 but as he ages that breeding efficacy slacks off a bit and makes him just right for a flock of 10 or even a little less. My personal ratio for a young, vigorous cockbird no less than 1:15.
 
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