What are the pros and cons of having a rooster in the flock? There are always two sides to the story regarding roosters. The good and the bad stories. You can weigh both sides before you can decide whether to raise a male chicken in your backyard or not.
My greatest dilemma, as a chicken owner, is whether having a rooster in the flock is good or bad. And I’m not alone in this mind-boggling affair. Nearly all chicken keepers are struggling with the same thought. So if you think you are one of them, read on to learn the positive and negative sides of raising roosters.
Different people decide to raise roosters alongside their hens for many reasons. Key among them is the roosters’ ability to fertilize eggs and protect the flock.
Roosters are beneficial to backyard chicken owners, although they pose some challenges. These birds are aggressive, noisy, and less productive compared to hens.
Below are the advantages and disadvantages of raising a rooster in your flock.
Pros of Keeping a Rooster
Roosters are Good Looking
Even though this reason sounds superficial, roosters add beauty and vibrancy to your flock. They have colorful feathers that make them gorgeous. The tail feathers add some elegance to their unique plumage. Everything that roosters possess compliments their general appearance.
Rooster’s physical attributes are one of the coolest things anyone can notice. Besides, these male birds display beautiful courtship rituals not found in other animals. Indeed, they are quite interesting birds to watch.
Roosters Fertilize Eggs For Hatching
One of the best reasons why you should have a rooster is to enable your hens to lay fertilized eggs. This is important if you are looking to increase your flock through breeding. Without roosters around, your layers will not produce fertilized eggs.
Most non-chicken keepers assume that every egg can produce chicks. This is not the case considering that hens can lay eggs without roosters. For a baby chick to be hatched, an egg must be fertilized. And only the rooster can perform such a noble task.
Roosters Maintain Your Flock Hierarchy
The existence of a rooster in your flock plays many roles. One of these roles is maintaining the pecking order. In this context, the pecking order is a delicate balance of supremacy within a flock of chickens.
With the absence of a male chicken, the hierarchy is likely to be disrupted. The only way to prevent the disruption is to introduce a rooster to your flock. His presence will create a difference in the way your chickens interact with each other.
More often than not, birds at the top of the pecking order are somehow vicious to those at the bottom. Due to their viciousness, those hens can peck each other to the point of death. Those affected the most are the less aggressive ones. Constant pecking causes the more dominant hens to keep the less dominant ones out of their territory.
Keeping a rooster among your hens can help create harmony. This is because the rooster will balance the pecking order by being on top of everyone. Despite his dominance, he will not molest your hens in the same way other dominant hens do.
Roosters Protect Your Flock
Roosters are aggressive to other chickens and humans. A trait that many chicken owners erroneously view it negatively. Their aggression comes for a reason. They always want to protect their territory and the hens from perceived threats. So, being aggressive does not always translate to bad intentions.
Having a rooster among your backyard chickens will enhance their security. This male chicken will keep your entire flock safe from predators such as owls, coyotes, or hawks, among others. He will squawk to alert other chickens as soon as he senses danger.
Sometimes he will physically defend your flock by engaging other predators in a fight. In most cases, the alpha or dominant rooster will stay on until all other chickens are safe before he can take cover.
You need a rooster to keep your hens in line. This is the case, especially if your birds are fond of wandering far away from their yard. Not only will he prevent your hens from straying, but he will also keep them close to home. His primary responsibility is to look after his territory and everyone else in it.
Roosters Can Act as Built-in Alarm Clocks
Even though the rooster’s crowing is a nuisance to you and your neighbors, it is also helpful. A lot of people perceive this trait negatively, but a few love it. Your rooster can become your personal alarm clock at specific times of the day or night.
For instance, they can wake you up in the morning or remind you that it is lunchtime during the day.
Every rooster crows after attaining a certain age. Usually, they crow for various reasons. One of the reasons is to show other roosters that he is dominant over his territory. Other roosters, however, will do the same to mark their territory or hens.
Frequently they resort to crowing to signal the presence of a predator or threat. Most importantly, they crow at daybreak to wake you up so you may prepare for the day ahead. If you don’t have an alarm clock, you should rely on your rooster to remind you that it is dawn.
Roosters are Also a Source of Food
Roosters are a great source of food for your family. If you keep chickens for meat, roosters are as valuable as broilers. You can raise them to maturity and butcher them in the same way you would do for hens. In fact, many chicken owners prefer them more than hens.
Roosters are rich in certain hormones that allow them to fatten more quickly compared to hens. Also, their size, when mature, is an added advantage to you if you are looking for enough meat for your family. They provide more meat per chicken compared to hens. This makes them the ideal choice of chickens raised for meat.
Cons of Raising Roosters
Roosters Can be Loud
One of the traits that identify roosters is crowing. They do so, especially in the morning and sometimes during the day. While this is normal for some people, for others, it is a nuisance. That is why most states and municipalities have set stringent measures on keeping roosters in residential areas.
Roosters are Aggressive
One of the reasons why many people don’t want to raise roosters is their aggression. But not all roosters display this behavior. Some are docile, while others are very friendly. Aggressiveness can vary from one breed to another, not to mention individual birds. Therefore, this trait should not be a reason as to why you cannot keep a rooster in your backyard. Just do your research on different chickens before choosing the right breed for your backyard.
Roosters Need Appropriate Stocking Densities
Keeping one rooster should not be a problem for you in any way. If you have one rooster, you may not even realize signs of aggression compared to having more than one. More of these birds will lead to a lot of problems among themselves. A few may start squabbling and fighting to establish a pecking order while the rest scramble for new territories.
When you decide to keep many roosters, consider the appropriate stocking densities. This means that you should keep one rooster to serve at least six hens. Also, check the dynamics of your entire flock to come up with the most appropriate stocking density.
Roosters Can Wreak Havoc to Your Chickens
Roosters create a preference for a particular hen when mating. Due to frequent mating with different roosters, the hen starts losing feathers from her back. Loss of feathers comes as a result of vigorous mounting during the mating season. In the process, those roosters pull out feathers from the hens back or cause some injuries.
Luckily, there is a product that you can use to mitigate this problem for once and for all. This is the chicken saddle or hen apron. It keeps the chickens back safe during mating. If you don’t have it, you can just separate hens from roosters in the spring season. This is the time when roosters mate with chickens frequently, and they tend to be very aggressive.
How long can a rooster live? Just like other chickens, roosters have an average lifespan of 5-8 years. With proper care, some roosters can live up to 15 years. As they age, these male chickens tend to be less vigorous and inactive with the hens.
How many hens should one rooster serve? A single rooster needs a certain number of hens. If hens are too few, he may overrun them and cause injuries to their necks, combs, and backs. That said, a ratio of 8:1 hens for one rooster is recommended.
Raising roosters come with pros and cons. They can protect the flock, fertilize eggs, act as a natural clock, and many more. On the other hand, they can be a nuisance not only to you but your hens and neighbors. Depending on your needs and where you live, you can decide whether to raise a rooster or do away with it.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!