Approved by Dr. Luqman Javed
Most people decide to raise roosters alongside hens for different reasons. A rooster’s ability to fertilize eggs and provide order and protection to the flock is always welcome for some pet owners.
Roosters are beneficial to garden chicken owners, but they pose some challenges. Therefore, you should consider the pros and cons of having a rooster before deciding to adopt one.
Here are some pros and cons of keeping a rooster in your flock.
The 3 Benefits of Having a Rooster With Laying Hens
1. Roosters Can Provide Flock Additional Protection
Roosters usually take the role of “leader of the flock”. With this role comes the responsibility of being a sentry, or lookout. Chicken are prey to many species, and therefore, the presence of a rooster can help provide the flock additional protection.
Roosters can raise the alarm if they spot a predator or if they notice anything that they perceive a threat. This can help avert a crisis. However, please keep in mind that roosters also have their own predators and aren’t a solution to keeping your flock safe. Though they may instinctively fight an invading predator (especially an avian predator), they can also succumb to injuries from a predator and are usually no match for some larger predators.
The best way to keep your flock safe from predators is by using physical barriers. For example, a covered coop with a covered run in a fenced yard is more sensible that expecting a rooster to fend off every predator that approaches a flock.
2. Roosters Are a Beautiful Addition to the Flock
Like many bird species, roosters are far more pretty, brilliant, and attractive than their female counterparts. The gleaming vivid colors of any rooster breed will definitely add beauty to your flock.
3. Fertilizing Eggs
This is perhaps the most obvious reason you’d want a rooster. Though hens can be artificially inseminated and fertilized eggs can be purchased for broody hens, many owners prefer to keep a rooster around to mate with the hens so that the eggs they produce are fertile.
If you’re planning to sell fertilized eggs, then you’d obviously need roosters to ensure your hens lay fertilized eggs.
The 5 Cons of Having a Rooster in Your Flock
1. Roosters Can Be Aggressive to People
Some roosters are overly aggressive, as this trait has a genetic component in chickens. That means they will sometimes become aggressive to people, including you. It may also include kids, neighbors, and other people your rooster is not familiar with.
Unfortunately, because aggression has a very strong genetic component in roosters, most roosters that are overly aggressive cannot be sufficiently trained to forego their aggression. It is also not advised to breed them, as you might end up with aggressive chicks as well. Often, such roosters end up being culled and used for their meat.
2. Some Regions Prohibit Roosters
Since roosters are loud and quite aggressive, some regions prohibit roosters with city boundaries, even if they allow hens. In NYC, for instance, hens are legal, but roosters are illegal, together with turkeys, geese, and ducks. Violators face fines of $1,000.
It is advisable to check with your local code to be sure whether you can keep a rooster. It is rarely possible to raise a rooster secretly and not get caught. Roosters’ rowdy crowing will alert neighbors or anyone else passing near your home.
3. Over-Mating With Hens
Roosters are incredibly virile. They can mate quite frequently. However, over-mating hens may lead them to lose their plumage on the back and neck.
It can make them look picked on or tormented. It is crucial to provide your rooster with enough hens to keep the rooster engaged. Make sure you provide at least 10 to 20 hens for a single rooster. This way, his attention isn’t focussed on just a single individual but rather dispersed among the flock. You can also place a breeding saddle on your hens (this prevents a rooster from mounting them).
4. Crowing Noise
Roosters usually make loud crows which can be annoying. If you stay in an urban area, you may not want to keep a rooster since the loud crowing could bother your neighbors.
They begin crowing early in the morning, just before sunset, and may continue for some hours. Roosters often start crowing around midday as well as in the evening.
If you’re raising chickens for a profit or as a business, a rooster is an additional mouth to feed and has a higher nutritional requirement than the hens do. Furthermore, though they weigh more, they also require more food to attain their size. If your business is centered around unfertilized eggs, a rooster may be detrimental to your business plan.
Keeping a rooster comes with pros and cons. They can provide additional protection to your flock, fertilize eggs, or add some color to the flock. However, they can also be a nuisance to you, your hens, and your neighbors.
Depending on your requirements and where you live, you can decide whether to keep a rooster or do away with it. Make an individual plan of what you want to achieve with your flock, and then you can make a well-thought decision of whether you can keep a rooster.
Featured Image Credit: klimkin, Pixabay