Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Hen to rooster ratio

Bare back on a hen which has been overmatedI’ve attached a couple pictures of my chickens and I was wondering if you have had this happen to any of your hens.  They are losing the feathers on their back.  They don’t seem to have any mites.  Our 2 roosters are pretty aggressive so I wonder if having 2 roosters in a pen with only 4 hens might be the cause.  Any thoughts are appreciated.
--- Ross

It sounds like your roosters are definitely at fault.  We had a similar problem a couple of years ago when we were keeping four hens and a rooster in a chicken tractor.  The rooster overmated the hens since they had nowhere to run and hide.  After our rooster nearly killed one of the hens, we retired him to the stewpot.

The optimal rooster to hen ratio is around 1:12.  When you have too few hens, roosters will end up ripping feathers off the hens' backs, and in some cases can be so rough that the hens begin to bleed.  The problem is exacerbated if the chickens are confined in a small space.

The solutions are simple, but not always palatable.  Unless you're trying to raise your own chicks, you don't actually need a rooster in your flock and the easiest solution is to eat him or to separate him from your hens.  If you're too attached to your rooster(s), you can add more hens to achieve the optimal hen to rooster ratio.  But be sure to increase the size of your coop and run in the process!

Our homemade chicken waterer will decrease chicken pecking somewhat since it gives the chickens something else to do.  Your order will ship with an ebook and video tutorial to help you learn to butcher your first chicken, a daunting task that is surprisingly easy to learn.

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