Keeping Multiple Roosters Within A Flock Of Hens

“I have a small flock of 5 of my favorite breeds (Delaware, Amerecauna, Buff Orpington, Welsummer & Barred Rock). I ordered a Delaware Rooster in my latest chick order as the hens are so friendly (they come running to be petted) and I’d like to see if they will hatch some eggs for next year. However, I also wanted Welsummers and had to order straight run instead of pullets. If I should get a rooster in that batch of 6 ordered (which is highly likely) can I keep two roosters in a flock of about 20 in the chance I might get some purebred Welsummer chicks from a broody hen or would that cause only trouble. Thanks for any advice you can give.” ~ Linda Steiger

Hi Linda,

I’m glad you wrote. We have three of the five breeds you mentioned, and enjoy them tremendously.

Firstly a quick note to those who may not be familiar with the terminology regarding Linda’s orders – If you order baby chicks as “straight run”, you could get hens or roosters, or any combination of the two. If you order pullets, you have a 97% chance of getting hens only. Straight run chicks are generally cheaper for this reason.

You are right to assume that you’ll get a rooster in your straight run, at least from my experience. (Then again, I’m one of those people who always end up in the slowest line at the grocery store so maybe my luck is different than most people.)

In general, with the breeds you mentioned, you’ll only want to keep 7-12 hens for each rooster.

Your plan of 2 roosters in a flock of 20 hens is perfect. When they are young, roosters can attend to more hens but as they get older, too many hens will result in low fertility. Too few hens result in tired out, torn up hens and roosters who fight with each other.

Here’s the secret to keeping more than one rooster; raise them together from a very young age.

At one time, our roosters were being too aggressive with our hens and we needed to give the hens a break. We removed all four roosters and put them into a space of about 8ft x 8ft. We were prepared for some mortality but felt we didn’t have any other choice.

We were thrilled to see that the four roosters did just fine together! They had their own pecking order with the dominant fellow doing most of the crowing. They really didn’t squabble much at all because they had worked out issues of submission before we separated them from the hens.

We realized that they did so well because they were all brothers and had never known life without the others. I’ve heard other people say this as well.

In fact that’s the way it seems with most animals; if they are raised with a particular circumstance, they are accustomed to it.

Linda, best of luck with your chickens, I hope this helps.