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Deciding on keeping a rooster or not, that is a big question!
When it comes to keeping a rooster, there are pros and cons to consider.
There are many people making money by keeping chickens and roosters as well.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a Rooster
Keeping a rooster has several positive roles in a flock of chickens.
A rooster provides fertilization services to the hens in the flock.
He’ll serve as a guard and defender against perceived and actual danger.
Your rooster will seek out food for the flock and alert the other backyard chickens that he’s found something tasty.
The facts of life for a backyard rooster
As far as fertilization goes, keeping a rooster is necessary only if you want to hatch chicks or you want fertile eggs for the kitchen.
Hens will lay nutritious eggs without a rooster.
A virile rooster will mate frequently with most or all the hens in his presence.
If there aren’t enough hens to divide his time, he may wear them out.
This can cause damage to the hens’ combs, necks, and backs from the rooster’s beak and spurs.
Generally, a good minimum ratio is 8-10 hens per rooster.
Guard roosters on premises
Always watching over his backyard chickens, a vigilant rooster may appear to never rest.
He’ll scan the sky and landscape for potential predators, warning the hens when he senses danger.
While protection is a positive trait, some (but not all) roosters take it too far.
If they become aggressive, they can injure adults and children by jumping or pecking at them.
Keeping a rooster … He will check over food he finds before calling his girls to come and dine.
Usually, he’ll stand back and let them get started before he begins to partake.
On the other hand, he may fight for his share.
He may also be aggressive toward a person carrying anything he thinks contains food. Best Chicken Feed Options for Your Flock
Your rooster will love treats as well.
Give him and your chickens some chicken scratch to keep them busy.
He will make noise
Where do you live? Know that your rooster will make noise. While your hens may well go unnoticed; neighbors close to your home will absolutely know you have a rooster.
Good reasons to keeping a backyard rooster
A good rooster will:
Mate regularly with most or all of his hens, ensuring an ongoing supply of fertile eggs.
Protect his hens by alerting them to aerial and ground predators.
Call his hens when he’s found a food source.
Want your chickens to have some fun?
Check this out.
Good things about having a rooster
Roosters crow at the crack of dawn and all through the day.
If you like this sound, it’s a good thing.
A rooster will offer protection.
A rooster just looks cool—and maybe colorful–strutting around the farm.
Good reasons to raise backyard chickens without a rooster
You won’t want to consider getting a rooster if you want eggs for your table but do not want to hatch backyard chickens or eat fertile eggs.
If you and/or your neighbors don’t like the sound of a rooster crowing all day long, do not get a rooster.
If the noise won’t bother you, consider how close you live to your neighbors. Even if you are somewhat close, it may not be an issue. Consider where the chickens and rooster are on your property in relation to your neighbors.
Consider also if the neighbors will only hear your rooster if they are outside. They may not hear him when they are indoors.
If you really can’t decide if you should get a rooster and are okay with not ever getting a rooster, you can ask your closest neighbors if they would mind.
However, before you do this, be very sure you will be listen if they say no. If you ever think you will want to get one, it’s best not to ask for their permission.
Don’t get a rooster if your neighborhood, HOA covenants or municipal regulations prohibit roosters.
If you have fewer than eight backyard chickens, do not consider getting a rooster.
Consider special care the rooster will need. If you don’t want to remove the rooster’s spurs— a fairly simple procedure — from time to time, then don’t get one.
Here is a great book for all of us who have backyard chickens Backyard Chickens for Beginners: Getting the Best Chickens, Choosing Coops, Feeding and Care, and Beating City Chicken Laws
Other advantages to not having a rooster
Backyard chickens will not be injured by a rooster’s spurs or beak during mating.
You won’t have to worry about an overprotective rooster becoming aggressive, jumping or pecking at people.
Among all breeds, there will be gentle roos and aggressive roos.
But some breeds are known for more docile roosters than others.
Our favorite source for checking out personalities, among many other characteristics, is Henderson’s Chicken Breed Chart. Best Chicken Toys: Entertaining Your Backyard Chickens
Generally, the more a cockerel is handled as a chick, the less likely he is to become an aggressive rooster.
But even a docile roo will jump into action if he perceives a threat.
Once cockerels reach maturity, it can be difficult to keep more than one male in the same small flock.
One will claim dominance and will see the others as threats and competition.
Sometimes this hierarchy is respected and no one is injured.
More likely, there will be fights and injuries.
The simple solution is to have only one rooster per backyard flock.
At our farm we’re currently in between roosters.
We’ve had three colored broiler roos, but they were all overprotective and so heavy they damaged the hens’ backs and necks while mating.
Our grandchildren like to go in the chicken yard to cuddle young chicks and their favorite hens. We like walking among the backyard chickens without danger of a rooster jumping at our legs.
We also appreciate knowing that our hens won’t be injured so often.
Eventually, we’ll keep a colored broiler rooster for our broiler breeding program. But for our general chicken population, a gentler roo is in order.
Since we’ve decided to focus on Buff Orpington hens for our layer flock, we’re going to try a couple of Buff Orp roos.
They are known to be fairly docile—a good fit for our family.
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Owning a rooster is something to carefully consider.
Factor in the amount of space you have, how many chickens you will keep, predators in your area, and noise.