Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.
Rooster Pros and Cons
Roosters get a pretty bad rap. They are known for being loud, mean, aggressive, and territorial. Some cities ban keeping roosters altogether! However, roosters can have a very important role in your flock. They are excellent protectors and some can even be friendly pets! Deciding whether or not to keep a rooster can be a tough choice, but there are several good reasons to add one to your flock.
1. They Will Protect Your Hens
The biggest benefit to keeping a rooster is that it will protect your hens from predators. This is especially helpful if you have free-range chickens. Roosters will alert the hens when there is a predator nearby, try to herd all the hens into one area, and they will even fight off threats like foxes or dogs. Roosters do not like anything messing with their hens, and they will put themselves on the line to protect them. It can be extremely reassuring to have a rooster around to protect your hens.
2. Roosters Maintain the Pecking Order
Having a rooster around may help to prevent bullying in your flock. The rooster is always going to be at the top of the pecking order (as long as there is only one rooster). Without a rooster there will be one head hen, and there may be some squabbles before she gets there.
The rooster can actually stop fights between the hens, and keep them from bullying the smaller hens. Chickens fight by pecking, preventing the other chicken from getting food, and pushing. Having a rooster around doesn't mean there will never be fights, but they generally keep the peace better than a head hen. A rooster's job is to protect all of his hens, even from each other.
3. Baby Chicks!
Having a rooster in your flock will result in fertilized eggs, which can hatch into baby chicks! Seeing baby chicks hatch is an awesome experience, especially when the hen hatches the chicks. Hatching fertilized eggs means that your flock is self-sustaining, and you won't have to buy more chickens to keep getting eggs.
If you have no desire to hatch eggs, this may not sound very appealing, but the eggs are still safe to eat, even with a rooster around. If you gather your eggs every day they will never develop into a baby chicken, and you may not be able to tell if the egg is fertilized or not.
4. They Are Fun to Watch
Roosters do have a certain charm. They are usually much prettier than the hens, with more color and big tail feathers. They will strut around your yard and puff out their feathers proudly. They also start out the morning by crowing, which some people think of as charming. All of these traits give them kind of a funny personality, which can really grow on you after a while.
It is also fun to watch roosters take care of their ladies. They keep an eye on them while they are out foraging and lead them to the good spots. Some breeds can even be friendly. Some of the breeds that are the most likely to be friendly are Orpingtons, Silkies, Brahmas. and Cochins. Some notoriously unfriendly roosters are Malays, English Game, and Cornish chickens. Most game breeds are not very friendly either. Not all roosters are the same, but the traits of these breeds have been observed by many chicken keepers.
A rooster showing off for a hen.
5. Roosters Keep The Hens Calm
Roosters can have a calming presence on your hens. They keep them from arguing, keep them safe, find snacks, and they may even help egg production. Chickens naturally live in groups with several hens and one rooster, and they seem to prefer it this way.
Your chickens will lay eggs without a rooster. They only have a set amount of eggs for their whole life, and egg production slows down as the hens get older. However, relaxed hens are shown to lay more eggs, so they do help egg production in that way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Jess H