Today, more and more people are thinking about ways to save the family budget and get he althy, environmentally friendly meat and products. Not surprisingly, many of them come to the conclusion that the best way to fulfill their plans is to have chickens. And having understood the topic, they ask themselves the question: how many hens one rooster is needed? The question is really serious, so it will be useful to deal with it in as much detail as possible.
Why do we need a rooster?
Before you figure out how many hens you need for one rooster, it will be useful to say why one is needed at all.
There are several answers here. Firstly, it is the rooster that acts as the protector of the flock. Yes, yes, often when dangerous predatory rodents (rats, weasels, etc.) attack, a rooster immediately rushes at the aggressor, and if it doesn’t drive it away, then at least it raises enough noise for the owners to react.
But far more important is another factor - fertilization. In fact, every chicken egg is an egg. If it is not fertilized, then the chickens will not hatch from it. Besides, not a trampled chicken, knowing full well that her eggs are notfertilized and from them it is impossible to get chicks, will not sit on the nest.
The functions of the rooster end here.
Pros of giving up a cock
Some experienced farmers, who know exactly how many hens per rooster need to be bred, generally refuse to use a male. Why?
As mentioned above, the main purpose of the rooster is the fertilization of eggs. Without it, it will not be possible to use them in an incubator or under a hen to get young chicks. However, this is not always necessary. Some summer residents generally buy chickens in the spring, grow them in the summer, eating fresh homemade eggs, and in the winter, before leaving for the city, let them all in for meat in order to buy another batch of chickens in the spring. That is, a rooster is absolutely not needed in such a farm - at least to perform the main function. If you want to get eggs exclusively for consumption or for sale (and it is desirable to indicate that they are not fertilized), then you can do without a rooster. Contrary to the claims of some breeders, the taste of fertilized eggs is no better than that of unfertilized ones.
Besides, the rooster, in accordance with its function, tramples the hens. Some do it very aggressively. As a result, chickens walk around plucked, scratched and pecked. And such wounds may well get an infection that will lead to a long illness or even death of birds.
A few more roosters, locked in a small area, may well put up a fight. And sometimes it ends with the death of one of them.Of course, this will cause unnecessary trouble for the breeder.
Finally, until the rooster tramples the hen, she will not want to sit on the nest, that is, hatch the chicks. Today, many people prefer to trust this function to the incubator - in this case, the impact of various random factors is much less. The incubator will not take it into his head to throw eggs because of stress, he will definitely not trample them, and he will be able to hatch not 12-15 chickens, but much more. And for the saved three weeks, a chicken will be able to lay 10-20 eggs (depending on the breed), which will become an additional help in the household.
So, if you do not plan to use homemade eggs for breeding chickens, then it is not only not necessary to start a rooster, but it is generally harmful.
Optimal ratio for meat breeds
Let's say that you definitely decided: fertilized eggs are needed. So, you can’t do without the head of the chicken harem. Here the question arises: how many hens per rooster is the optimal indicator? It is difficult to give a definite answer here. It depends on various factors, with one of the main ones being the breed.
The fact is that meat breeds are distinguished by their greater weight and, accordingly, less mobility. Consequently, the roosters are less active here. Therefore, here the ratio must be defined. How many hens for fertilization per one meat breed rooster? No more than 15-20 individuals. The rooster will not have time to trample on a larger number of birds, due to which some of the eggs will remain unfertilized and of themit will be impossible to hatch chickens.
Best ratio for laying hens
But when breeding egg-bearing breeds, breeders did not at all seek to create large birds that give a lot of meat. Here the task was to maximize the number of eggs that hens will bring in a year. Therefore, roosters are more miniature, light and mobile. In this case, one rooster is enough for a flock of 20-25 hens. At the same time, he will surely have time to fertilize each of them, and the owner will receive high-quality eggs, any of which can be laid in an incubator in order to get a cute yellow chicken after 21 days.
Choose the best yard owner
However, it is not enough to know how many roosters should be on hens. You also need to choose the most suitable one.
Of course, it's best to have several candidates for this. This is usually the case in households. Chickens bred in the spring (with the help of an incubator or a live hen) grow up, and it becomes clear which of them is a chicken and which is a rooster. They are not allowed to see adult birds yet - yielding in size and strength, they may well become an object of aggression, and they will not have enough food all the time. But the character is already well marked. Some behave frankly aggressively - for no reason at all they rush at other cockerels and hens. Others, on the contrary, are very passive - they prefer to spend time away from the pack, hide in a corner, not showing much agility even when feeding. Of course, neither the first nor the second are suitable for the role of the head of the chicken family. Butsome individuals are completely different. They walk proudly, are always active during feeding, do not get involved in a fight themselves, but they can stand up for themselves - cocky relatives literally fly away from them, behave very quietly and calmly in their presence. This is the best candidate, which is definitely worth leaving for breeding. He will not only take care of the flock, but also pass on good genes to the chickens.
What to do if roosters fight
Unfortunately, sometimes summer residents are faced with the problem of bird aggression towards each other. Having learned how many chickens need one rooster, novice poultry farmers start a decent flock of hens from several dozen individuals and leave several males in it. That's where they put up fights. What to do?
Alas, there is no really reliable solution here. For wildlife, this is quite natural - stronger males expel weaker ones, and the latter simply leave foreign territory. In a chicken coop or even a small area for walking, this is simply not possible. The rooster will not be able to fertilize all the hens himself, but he will try to keep competitors out of them. The only reliable way is to divide the site into several zones, in each of which one rooster will live with his small harem. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle. But the problem is solved for sure.
Why change the rooster?
Over time, the owner may notice that the ideal rooster, left 3-4 years ago, no longer copes with its functions, behaves rather passively and does not trample the hens. Alas, the bird age is not too long.Already at the age of three years, a rooster is considered quite old. It's time to replace him with a younger one who will be able to stomp all the chickens with high quality, and at the same time protect them from various threats. But how to choose it is a very serious question, so we will consider it in detail.
Looking for a new rooster
Knowing how many hens you need for one rooster, it is advisable to figure out how to select a suitable candidate. The main criteria are described above. But still, it is undesirable for several years in a row to choose a cockerel from the offspring that your own farm gives. This leads to inbreeding (simply - incest), because of which subsequent offspring will be weaker - the number of diseases will increase, the individuals themselves will be smaller, egg production will drop.
Therefore, it is advisable to take a new rooster from another farm, the one with which your hens have not crossed before. Of course, you need to choose a male of the same breed that you specialize in - crossing will not lead to anything good.
By choosing a he althy, strong and robust rooster, you can fertilize an entire flock with just one male and get rid of inbreeding, ensuring many years of good egg production and the absence of serious diseases. This is much easier than changing an entire flock of dozens of chickens.
Instead of a conclusion
This concludes our article. Now you know how many hens one rooster is enough. We also figured out the intricacies of choosing a suitable male, who will be a reliable father of the whole family and your assistant in protectingflocks.