If the roosters have access to the hens, even while free ranging, there will always be a fellow stalking around the edges of the flock waiting to jump on – or chase down – an unsuspecting hen. The hens are stressed by all of this excess attention, which can become evident through reduced laying, increased pecking, or even illness. Hens can also have their feathers worn away on their back. This can lead to pecking as the pin feathers come in if stress is high or just make them less protected from the weather. Too much attention from rough, hurried cockerels can even result in injuries such as torn combs, pulled feathers, or cuts on the side from long spurs. Limit your roosters to about 1 per 9 hens, depending on the breed. Don’t give your extra boys access to the hens, even while ranging.
|Supplement with nutrient-dense feeds, not just empty calories|
Giving too many treats