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By this time of year, even newbie chicken owners can distinguish all of their new spring chicks as hens or roosters. There are countless posts from people trying to re-home their surprise roosters. I’m here to tell you that, unless your local laws don’t allow it, you should consider keeping a rooster!
Roosters can be a very valuable member of the flock. We actually have several roosters in our flock of about 40 chickens. But why would you want to keep a rooster?
Why should you keep a rooster?
Roosters are great protectors
A good rooster is always on the alert. If a hawk cries out, you can bet your rooster will be calling his girls to safety. Roosters are noble protectors, and have been known to fight off many different types of predators. I have heard countless stories of a rooster sacrificing himself to keep his girls safe.
While it may not be necessary if your chickens are confined to their run at all times, if you free-range your chickens, you should definitely consider keeping a rooster to protect your flock.
Roosters take care of their girls
Roosters love to take care of the hens. Whenever they find a nice treat, they will coo and call to them to share. They seem to want their girls to have the best food. I absolutely love watching my roosters when I give my flock treats. Such selfless creatures!
Keeping a rooster allows you to hatch eggs
No, hens don’t need a rooster around to lay eggs. They do that all on their own. But if you want to hatch your own chicks, to sell or to propagate a larger flock, you need a rooster.
Fertilized eggs can be eaten the same as unfertilized eggs. There is no difference except their ability to turn into new cute fluffy butts.
Keeping a rooster with your hens can result in a little bit of homestead income, or just a “free” way of adding more chickens to your backyard flock.
Roosters maintain law and order
Roosters are wonderful at creating law and order within the coop. Chicken flocks have a natural “pecking order”, and some hens are just bullies. Roosters can help tame the mean ones. I’ve seen many of my roosters break up fights.
In my opinion, keeping a rooster just helps bring balance and harmony to the flock.
Roosters are beautiful
Like most bird species, the male is the pretty one. They have flashy colors and big, bright combs and wattles. In several chicken breeds, the female is just….blah. But the male is still stunning!
Anytime I look at a male and a female chicken side-by-side, the male is always the one I’m drawn to. They are just so visually appealing and majestic.
Are there any reasons to not keep a rooster?
Against local regulations
Sadly, there are many places that don’t allow roosters. While some urban and suburban areas are lessening restrictions on keeping chickens, they almost always have a clause against keeping a rooster.
So while I believe that roosters are a valuable asset, if you aren’t allowed to keep them, then don’t. You don’t want to spend a bunch of money getting into chickens and then get in trouble for having a rooster!
Roosters have gotten a bad reputation for being overly aggressive. In my experience, that is normally not the case. Sure, there is bound to be some “bad eggs” that ruin it for everyone else. But when treated kindly and given enough hens to occupy them, most roosters aren’t aggressive to people.
I have known a few people who are actually afraid of roosters. Unfortunately, these people likely got attacked by a rooster as a child, and are now scared.
We have had several roosters over the years, and have only had a couple that were aggressive toward people. Admittedly, those ended up in the stew pot. We don’t have a place for aggressive animals at our house!
That being said, some roosters also don’t get along with other roosters. We have had some that we have either had to separate or butcher, because of their aggressive behavior towards other roosters. In order to limit fighting amongst your roosters, you should plan on keeping at least 7-10 hens per rooster.
Yes, roosters can be loud. They will loudly announce the new day, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll get one that will announce it ALL…DAY…LONG! While some people believe this is a big drawback to keeping a rooster, I actually enjoy it. Unless a particular rooster follows me around all day and crows whenever I’m trying to talk to someone. Or record a video. It happens!
Nothing sounds more “country” to me than the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster. It’s their way of greeting another beautiful day in the country. I personally love it!
Overworking the hens
Sometimes roosters can get a little overzealous with their breeding. Hens can sometimes get hurt. I actually had a hen get a large gash on her side from a rooster mating her.
Hens also get a little ragged looking for overbreeding. Several of my hens right now have lost a lot of feathers on their backs. I am considering buying chicken saddles for them to help prevent feather loss.
So, have I enlightened you? Would you consider keeping a rooster in your backyard flock? Let me know in the comments! If you are new to chickens and would like some guidance, I have a new e-book, Chickens for Newbies. It’s only $5 and is jam-packed with information on raising happy, healthy chickens!
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