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Six Reasons to Keep a Rooster in Your Yard

Updated on August 24, 2016

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 local feed store people may tell you that the chickens are a "straight run." This means that there is likely to be 50% male and 50% female. 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.

Comet the Black Austrolorp Rooster Could really produce decibels.
Comet the Black Austrolorp Rooster Could really produce decibels. | Source

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.

There are about five good reasons to have a roosters in your flock, as well as a few reasons not to.

Reason One - Fertile Eggs

Aurucana hen, the blue egg layer and one of Comet's flock.
Aurucana hen, the blue egg layer and one of Comet's flock. | Source
Another of Comet's four wives.
Another of Comet's four wives. | Source

Maybe you want to raise more chickens. If you have a small backyard flock your hens will produce eggs whether you have a rooster or not.


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. If you want your hens to nest and set on eggs to hatch, or if you want to use an incubator, you will need rooster to fertilize the eggs.


Some people also 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, know that refrigeration halts any potential growth inside the shell. Almost all store-bought eggs are produced by hens that have not mated..

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.

Reason Two - 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. | Source

Reason Three - Aesthetics

Roosters are proud, elegant, and attractive birds. They are more colorful and more charismatic than the 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.

According to 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. | Source

Reason Four - Pest 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. | Source

Reason Five - 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.

Kids and Chickens Are Better at This Than Adults

Reason Six - to Annoy 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.

Do you really want a rooster?

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Finally, a reason to NOT 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. | Source

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      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.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 7 months ago from Southern Georgia

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      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 profile image

      Randy Godwin 7 months ago from Southern Georgia

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

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      I'll send my rooster over :) !

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 7 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 7 months ago from Southern Georgia

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

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

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 7 months ago from Southern Georgia

      You're a good sport, Rochelle! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      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.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 months ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • profile image

      norlawrence 7 months ago

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

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 7 months ago from California Gold Country

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

    • profile image

      Rebecca 6 months ago

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 months ago from Brazil

      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 profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 4 months ago from California Gold Country

      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.

    • profile image

      Nell Rose 4 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Rochelle Frank 4 months ago

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

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 4 months ago from California Gold Country

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

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