The Truth About Roosters

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If you order or hatch a batch of chicks, you’re likely to end up with a mixture of hens and roosters. While that may be the natural outcome, many backyard farmers prefer hens to roosters. Some cities even ban roosters! Loud, aggressive, and territorial, roosters don’t offer many of the benefits of their egg-laying, quieter female counterparts. Do you want a rooster in your backyard? Here’s what you should know.

If you want fertilized eggs and therefore a larger flock, a rooster is a vital part of your farm. He’ll also serve as a watchful eye, keeping the hens safe from most predators.  He will cry loudly to warn the flock from dangers. In fact, crowing is one of the rooster’s most distinctive features. Crowing begins around the time he is 4 months old and continues for the duration of his life, multiple times a day. The belief that roosters crow only as the sun comes up is a farce. Roosters crow whenever they feel like it. They crow to claim territory, assert dominance, or just because it appeals to them in the moment. The noisy nature of the rooster is one main reasons why they are not allowed in many towns.

While a rooster is not required for a hen to lay eggs, it’s required for her to lay fertilized eggs that will hatch into new chicks. This is a fantastic benefit. You most likely won’t want more than one rooster for a small flock, however. He’ll provide adequate fertilization and protection. Roosters can be aggressive and territorial, especially toward other roosters. They can also be aggressive toward people and other pets. Their beaks and spiny legs  can do a lot of damage, so be careful! Poultry live in a social hierarchy, and a dominant male will make it well known that he is the head of the coop.

What’s one to do if they end up with a handful of roosters along with their hens? Egg-producing facilities kill males shortly after hatching. There’s no need to be that cruel. If some of your chicks are male, raise them for meat or list them for sale in the classified ads. There may be someone else in your area who would like a rooster. Raising dual-purpose birds will give you excellent layers as well as meat birds. If you order a fair quantity of chicks, expect a good portion of them to be male. It’s best to have a plan beforehand.

Roosters have been vilified in modern culture, but they can be very rewarding and wonderful animals to raise. Do your research, use common sense, and keep the number of roosters in your flock low. Raising roosters is a whole new experience.

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