6 Reasons to Keep a Rooster in Your Yard - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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6 Reasons to Keep a Rooster in Your Yard

Rochelle has experience with wild critters and gardening adventures while living the simple life in a rural area for 20 years.

Comet the Black Austrolorp Rooster Could really produce decibels.

Comet the Black Austrolorp Rooster Could really produce decibels.

When we first moved to the country, we wanted to plant a garden. The second step in "ruralizing” our life was to get a few chickens. Eggs go so well with vegetables, after all.

When you buy baby chicks, the people at the local feed store may tell you that the chickens are a "straight run." This means that there will likely to be 50% males and 50% females. Or they will tell you that the little birds have been “sexed” or tested and sorted to assure that you will get all (or mostly all) females. There is still a chance that an impersonator or two will get, through. Our first flock of five baby chicks turned out to include one rooster, who was promptly named Comet by our grandchildren.

The hens were of different breeds, including Rhode Island Red, Arucana, and two others. We got brown, tan, white, and blue eggs.

Comet was a handsome bird. His shiny black feathers had an iridescent green glow in the sunlight, which complemented the blood red comb.

Six Excellent Reasons to Keep a Rooster

Below, you'll find five good reasons to have a roosters in your flock, as well as a few reasons not to.

Reason #1: Fertile Eggs

Maybe you want to raise more chickens. If you want your hens to nest and set on eggs to hatch, or if you want to use an incubator, you will need to have fertile eggs. In that case, you will need a rooster.

Will hens produce eggs without a rooster?

If you have a small backyard flock without a rooster, your hens will still produce eggs. If you don’t have a father bird, the eggs won’t be fertile, and that is fine. The eggs are perfectly good for all you cooking needs with all the qualities you would want.

Some people think that fertilized eggs are more nutritious, but others are freaked out by the idea of eating unborn chicken. In any case, the eggs look and taste the same.
If you are concerned, refrigeration halts any potential growth inside the shell. Almost all store-bought eggs are produced by hens that have not mated.

Will hens be happy without a rooster?

We have had small flocks of three to five hens and they seem perfectly happy without a rooster. In fact, hens tend to be better “pets” and more people-friendly when they are not constantly being chased by a large feathered and spurred suitor.

Another of Comet's four wives.

Another of Comet's four wives.

Reason #2: Protection

Hearing a commotion in the garden yard one day, I went out to discover that two stray dogs had gotten into the fenced enclosure and they had met Comet in mortal combat.

The rooster was fearlessly taking them both on and the feathers were flying. When the dogs saw me, they ran for the fence and exited by the hole they had dug under the wires. Comet was a bit disheveled, with random feathers sticking out in odd directions, but otherwise fine.

The four hens were cowering in a far corner. The dogs didn’t come back and I suspect their adventure left them with several painful scratches on their noses.

If you have several hens, and especially if you free range them part of the time, your rooster tends to be the shepherd or “manager,” keeping them together for protection.

Rudy strikes a pose.

Rudy strikes a pose.

Reason #3: Aesthetics

Roosters are proud, elegant, and attractive birds. They are more colorful and more charismatic than hens. As the iconic farmyard symbol and rural alarm clock, they can be quite appealing.

Comet knew he was a "looker" and was always ready to puff up his feathers and show his confidence.

Depending on their breed, roosters can have different colors and showy plumage but all usually have a bright red comb, eye ring, ear lobes, and wattles. They strut around proudly as if they own the place. They do.

Two hens can provide about a dozen eggs per week, with or without a rooster.

Two hens can provide about a dozen eggs per week, with or without a rooster.

Reason #4: Pest Control and Garbage Management

Though you will want to feed your chickens a commercial feed or pellet to make sure they get the necessary calcium and nutrients, they can also help dispose of kitchen scraps and peelings.

They love tomato worms and other garden pests, as well as an occasional low-hanging tomato. Some people are surprised to find that they are not total vegetarians. Chickens will eat small frogs and even mice if they get the chance. They love meat scraps though their usual feed is more grain and vegetable based.

They can contribute to your compost management and help produce better garden fertilizer. On this point I have to say that hens do as good a job as the males, though the roosters are usually larger and thus eat more.

Rudy, our current rooster, strikes a threatening pose.

Rudy, our current rooster, strikes a threatening pose.

Reason #5: Entertainment

Chickens are fun to watch and even though roosters tend to be less people-friendly than hens, some of them can be docile and friendly. This is especially true if they have been handled and picked up, starting when they are young chicks. This applies mostly to hens. Roosters may object to you picking up their hens, so be careful.

They can be expressive and silly. I was shocked when I realized that the tune of the Chicken Dance song is actually based on a hen’s clucking pattern. This means, of course, that the composer of this song basically stole the tune from real chickens and they have no way of filing a copyright infringement suit. They also know the dance.

Reason #6: To Annoy the Neighbors

I tried to think of a sixth positive reason but could not. Despite their procreative talent, their protective nature and their attractive looks they also have a few negative traits.

They are loud and annoying. They don’t just crow at sunrise as you may have been led to believe. They crow at any time of day, just because they can. I think my hens are deaf.

They can also be aggressive and dangerous especially toward small pets and children. Take care to protect chickens, pets and people with a sturdy enclosure.

Roosters develop sharp spurs on the back of their ankles, and they know how to use them. Rudy once attacked me and left big bruises above my knees. Luckily, I had heavy Levis on at the time. He has since been taught to reluctantly respect a person holding a five foot length of small diameter PVC pipe.

Your local ordinances may prohibit noisy roosters as a general nuisance. If there is no law against them where you live, you may still have nearby neighbors who are highly displeased at having their peace disturbed.

I have heard of people who have friendly, approachable roosters which still look after the flock and perform other rooster duties. I had high hopes for Rudy, but have not had a real friendly one yet.

Rudy, our current rooster is rather “feisty,” but we have many predators here. Over the years we have lost several hens, so we take precautions and tolerate his pugnaciousness.

Finally, a Reason NOT to Keep a Rooster:

As far as I know, there is no good reason at all to keep a rooster if you don’t have hens. Cockfighting is illegal here as well as being cruel and unusual.

I am fairly convinced that the eating of chicken meat started with the realization that no one needs more than one or two roosters unless you are running a commercial chicken-raising ranch.

Rudy keeps watch over his hens.

Rudy keeps watch over his hens.

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.

Comments

Adrienne Farricelli on September 05, 2020:

We had roosters and they did a wonderful job in protecting our hens. They sometimes didn't even want us near, but we bribed them with goodies.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on August 06, 2020:

It seems like they definitely have their own little personality. It was interesting reading this because no one I know has roosters or hens, so I dont know much about them.

But the rooster seems to be a good little guard protecting his girls.

Steve daniell on July 07, 2020:

Great article. I agreed with everything said. Thank you for a fun read

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 24, 2020:

It was probably a Bantam breed. My mother-in/law used to have one that was very friendly. It liked to sit on her lap.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on March 24, 2020:

As a mailman I see a lot of craziness. I had a house on my route with a rooster that was half the size of his hen. I often wondered about the logistics of mating in this affair. Anyway, this rooster was perfectly docile. He never tried to attack me when I went into the yard. Perhaps his short man's complex had killed his mojo. Great article.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2018:

I hope your new chicks get along with Rudy and the others. I never realized that it could pose a problem. I guess they are just like other animals. Some get along and other perhaps do not.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 16, 2018:

We just got two new chicks,but they are not yet read for formal introductions, Hope they all get along. Thanks for the read, Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2018:

It was interesting to read this although our subdivision does not allow the raising of chickens much less roosters. Nice to know that your Rudy helps to protect your hens.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 19, 2018:

Glad you liked it. I wish our rooster was a little more friendly.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 19, 2018:

Rochelle, I lived with my grandparents for some time and always enjoyed watching the chickens and roosters, one rooster use to follow my brother everywhere and would even sit in his lap if he sat down, but there is an ordinance against having Chickens in the city, although my hubby wanted to have a few anyway before he got so ill.

Enjoyed your hub very much.

Blessings my friend.

moonlake from America on October 23, 2017:

My granddaughters brought two baby chicks home. Papa and MeMe ended up with them. They turned out to be two roosters. They were good in our yard rarely left the except for one day the neighbor was painting his house and I could hear them crowing. They were standing under his ladder crowing away. I had to apologize and run them home. I loved having them and my dog loved them. They did get mean and attack people who came in the yard. We had to find them a new home. Enjoyed your hub.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 23, 2017:

I understand.

MomsTreasureChest on October 23, 2017:

My neighbors have hens and a rooster. I wish they didn't have the rooster...enough said LOL..

Chook on October 14, 2017:

I have 9 roosters one called major chuckles (he marches and when he crows he chuckles.)

I agree on to annoy the neighbours, serves them right when they play really loud, annoying music 10:00 at night.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on August 27, 2017:

Very good information. I think I will stick with hens next time I have chicken. However, if I have problems with predators, I'll remember to get a rooster. :)

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on August 27, 2017:

I'd love some chickens and a rooster. I think they are such clever little creatures. I'd love to get the fresh eggs from the chickens too.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 03, 2016:

You need to get a few hens, Nell. -- so much fun! Thanks for commenting.

Rochelle Frank on November 03, 2016:

Thanks, Nell. You need to get yourself a couple of hens. They are very entertaining, and you will never want store-bought eggs again. :)

Nell Rose on November 03, 2016:

Well who would have guessed? lol! I knew nothing about chickens, but I love your description of Comet! LOL! a big headed chicken in short. so interesting, and I didn't realise that they could eat frogs and other meat, fascinating!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 01, 2016:

Thanks for the wonderful comments, Blond-- much appreciated.

I have implements on long sticks that I can use to open and close the sleeping and nesting areas . My husband usually goes in to collect the eggs with the pvc pipe. It works.

Yes. the best thing is always having eggs on hand-- so useful in many kinds of recipes. You know they are organic and fresh.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on November 01, 2016:

I enjoyed our chickens when we had them, they are entertaining and the eggs are fabulous. Ours were free range and the yolks were almost orange! Alas, they were scratching everywhere and creating havoc.

I laughed when I read about you carry your piece of PVC, I was always a little cautious after I had a rooster jump on my back and attack me. I love hearing roosters, I think if you don't like the sound, don't move to the country.

Great read.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 06, 2016:

HI,

If the rooster is used to people and has been handled well, he is probably one who will mind his manners. I think you will enjoy them. Check out the "Related" articles on this site for general information. If you have specific questions or need other advice, I would recommend your local feed dealer.

Rhode Island Reds are an attractive variety. The hens are good layers.

Rebecca on September 06, 2016:

Hello there,i have a rooster and hen being rehomed to me,im not sure on all the details on them yet except they are in generally nice, half free range and half confined. They are coming with a 7 foot long coop. Any advice,Rhode island reds.Looking to educate to my best ability before they arrive,current owners cant keep them.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 25, 2016:

They are not welcome everywhere. Someone should breed a quiet rooster. Thanks for visiting.

norlawrence on August 25, 2016:

Great article. Makes me want to get a rooster but they are not allowed where I live. thanks

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 22, 2016:

I understand, Alex. There's no way I would consider keeping a rooster if I had close neighbors. And if I were renting out rooms to people who were looking for a relaxing rest, I would conspire against anyone who had something that made random loud crowing noises. Thanks for the comment.

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on August 22, 2016:

Rochelle,

Great article: I really enjoyed it . But I have to say I'm with the group of Annoyed Neighbors. that feel they also have a few negative traits.

They are loud and annoying. They don’t just crow at sunrise as you may have been led to believe. They crow at any time of day, just because they can. I think my hens are deaf....... "When I owned and ran my bed and breakfast, Naps were impossible and so was sleeping later than daybreak"

They can also be aggressive and dangerous......"I've been chased by them"

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 22, 2016:

Glad you are enjoying them. They are fairly low maintenance once you get their accomodations set up. Hens are great, but I think we need our rooster because of the wild critters here. Our Rudy is very loud.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 22, 2016:

We can't have them in the city, but we do love our hens. I don't understand why more people don't raise chickens, quite frankly.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 21, 2016:

You're a good sport, Rochelle! :)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 21, 2016:

I'll leave it -- might delete an answer. My young hens can run faster than Rudy.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 21, 2016:

You guys do know why a hen runs away from the rooster don't ya? Feel free to delete this comment, Rochelle! LOL!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 21, 2016:

When my spouse buys chickies, he likes to get all different kinds. We have had a few Rhode Island Reds- good layers, nice big hens. We always collect eggs promptly, so never tried for progeny.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on August 21, 2016:

I used to have chickens, and as you say, they did their job of laying eggs without a rooster. I ended up getting a rooster somebody was giving away. He was quite handsome, but he sure got those hens all worked up. They were pretty calm on their own.

We had Rhode Island Reds, and they never did set any eggs, so we never had baby chickens from them.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 21, 2016:

I'll send my rooster over :) !

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 21, 2016:

Feel free to visit with us sometime, Rochelle. We can always use another troublemaker. :P

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 21, 2016:

You are right, Randy, we can always learn something about humanity, by observing other living beings. Roosters are very instructive.

I appreciate that you took time to comment.

I'll have to admit that I, now-and-then, look at your "Last Gasp" comments, admiring your tenacity and insight. Cheers!

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 21, 2016:

Roosters are fascinating creatures as you've well described, Rochelle. We always had a rooster to mind our flock of hens as they ran free most of the time. It's sometimes hell to find the eggs though.

I've always enjoyed a good rooster fight--just those among our flock of course--to see the different personalities of the combatants. Often after a long match the one getting the worst of it will simply look around as if to say "what's going on over there?" and saunter away apparently unconcerned with the loss, while the winner crows his heart out.

Kinda like some humans I know. Loved the hub, Rochelle. :)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 21, 2016:

Thanks, Jodah, for the comment.

Yes, normally there will be a 50/50 mix in the baby chicks, but some places have the "pre-sorted" ones which usually turn out to be about 90% hens. Some people say that a rooster can manage about 10 or 12 hens-- but I wouldn't know what to do with that many eggs.

Our current one came from a neighbor who had put up a sign saying "Free Roosters". We had recently lost hens to predators, so thought we should get one.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on August 21, 2016:

A great hub of the pros and cons of having roosters. We currently have four roosters and eight hen's which is not an ideal number, but each batch of chicks seems to result in approx a 50/50 percentage of male and female. We manage to give the occasional rooster away, but can't bring ourselves to kill and eat them. Our current roosters get on fine and seem to know the pecking order but before we got rid of the last two they were constantly fighting. What impresses me about roosters (apart from their looks) is that they always let the hen's eat first. We have only ever had one rooster that attacked people and got rid of him quickly.