A good rooster is priceless. He is a protector, provider, baby maker, and the best treat finder. You will find him breaking up hen fights, raising babies, and finding the perfect nesting spot for his hens. We have raised roosters for over a decade here and I will say NOT all roosters fit this description. Some are overbearing and downright aggressive. I’m blessed with Mr. Jangles and all my current boys. Even with stellar gentlemen roaming our property, my flock of hens need a break. Let me explain a little why I find it beneficial. Now, this isn't to say you should separate your boys. But it's something to think about.
Here are a few reasons why I chose to periodically separate my roosters from their ladies.
1. It is the middle of summer. Chickens have a rough time during the summer months. Although, there are many ways to help keep them cool. Keeping Your Chickens Cool. No one wants to be chased and mounted during the hottest days of the year. I would not be hatching eggs during these hot months. So, I'm not worried about fertility.
2. Roosters tend to have favorites and treading can leave a hen bald. I’ve yet to figure out the logic behind this my rooster's favorite girls. Observing my flock for many years I can see some patterns unfold. They are drawn to the most submissive and others love a spicy hen. Who knows what goes through those boys' minds. Hens who are favorites end up with broken feathers and bare skin. Hen saddles are a possibility. Honestly, I am not a fan of hen saddles in the dead of summer. Waiting for a bare skinned hen to molt can be a lengthy process.
3. This break gives my girls a chance to just breathe. Now, my girls do love Mr. Jangles. I never place Mr. Jangles in a position where he cannot see them. I always make certain they can see each other. Usually through a fence within the run. Since he does provide constant surveillance for them, I do not allow them to free range unless I am right there next to them. I will toot my girls horn and say they are very aware of their surroundings.
BONUS: I’m adding this one as a reminder. A mature rooster will mate all day every day. Providing enough hens for one rooster is necessary for the overall health of your hens. This allows the other hens to receive a break from mating. Everyone has an opinion on the number and in most places, you will find a standard of 8 to 10 hens per rooster. There is a little wiggle room there depending on the breed, size, and situation. Here on the Heifer Farm, we have larger groups of 36 hens to one rooster (Mr. Jangles and his ladies), all the way down to groups of 4 (Conan and his ladies). Monitoring your flock's health and performing chicken checkups once a week will help you stay on top on any potential health issues.
Giving your girls a break is a good thing! Hugs, Mel