Approved by Dr. Luqman Javed

Raising backyard chickens has been a growing trend for years and has become even more popular during the past few years. Collecting your own eggs might sound rewarding but hearing a rooster crow at dawn every morning is less fun. So, do your hens need a rooster to lay eggs or will constant cock-a-doodle-doos be the price you pay for fresh omelets? The good news is hens will lay eggs with or without the presence of a rooster.

However, if you have the space, keeping a rooster with your hens does have some potential advantages which we’ll discuss in this article. If not, rest assured the eggs will keep coming no matter what!

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Why Hens Don’t Need a Rooster To Lay Eggs

A hen’s ovulation, or egg production, is stimulated not by the presence of a rooster but by the amount of sunlight they are exposed to. Hens usually begin laying eggs between 18-22 weeks of age when they are receiving 14-16 hours of light per day. Hens lay a new egg approximately every day no matter whether they live with a rooster or not. They produce more eggs during the months with longer daylight hours.

Without a rooster, the hen lays only unfertilized eggs which won’t develop into chicks. If you want to breed and raise your own chicks, obviously you will need a rooster. Besides this, there are a few other reasons why you might want to consider keeping a rooster that we’ll talk about next.

hen laying egg_thieury_Shutterstock
Image Credit: thieury, Shutterstock

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The 3 Reasons You Might Want a Rooster Anyway

If you are keeping chickens within city limits or in a neighborhood, owning a rooster may not be an option. Many cities or homeowner’s associations ban roosters due to noise concerns. If you know you’re on the right side of the law, here are some benefits of adding a rooster to your flock.

1. Protection

If you keep a free-range flock, the chickens are obviously at risk of falling victim to predators such as hawks or wandering dogs. As they forage, the rooster will always keep one eye out for danger. They will sound the alarm if they spot a predator and attack if necessary to keep their hens safe.

Rooster pecking food from the ground
Image Credit: GAIMARD, Pixabay

2. Keeping the Peace

Without a rooster, your hens are left to figure out their places within the flock. More dominant hens will often squabble over who’s in charge and bully the weaker birds. Social unrest can lead to stress in your flock and possibly decrease your egg production.

Adding a rooster to your flock usually eliminates any question over who’s in charge as the hens instinctively will defer to him. However, some roosters are overly aggressive and may be bullies, so the temperament of the rooster should be a consideration before you introduce him to your hens.

3. Baby Chicks

This is the most obvious reason why you’d want to keep a rooster with your hens. Raising baby chicks might sound adorable but it can get complicated especially if you don’t have the space for a large flock. Adding new young roosters to a flock doesn’t always go well, so you’ll need a plan to deal with the male chicks you hatch.

If you want to keep a rooster but avoid hatching any chicks, you’ll need to make sure to collect eggs daily and keep them refrigerated. Fertilized eggs won’t develop into chicks unless they are kept at temperatures that mimic incubation.

You’d also want to have a rooster if you wish to start a business selling fertilized eggs, as these usually fetch a higher price than unfertilized eggs.

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Becoming a backyard chicken keeper can be a fun, eco-friendly pastime. Not only can you take steps to be more self-sufficient, but chickens can also help you reduce food waste by eating many fruit and vegetable scraps. Keeping a rooster with your flock has both advantages and disadvantages. However, the amount and quality of the eggs your hens produce will be the same whether or not they live with a rooster.

Featured Image Credit: Roblan, Shutterstock