This post may contain affiliate links, my full disclosure can be read here. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Have you been wondering if you should keep a rooster as part of your chicken flock?
If you’re having trouble deciding if it’s best to keep a rooster in your flock there are many pros and cons to consider. Roosters are useful for protecting chicken flocks from predators and also for defending territory.
Many people think that they are noisy and annoying but this is not entirely true. Our rooster has a beautiful crow every morning that we wake up to. Of course, if you aren’t a morning person it could be frustrating.
He also protects his family and our yard from predators. Many times I’ve seen a hawk fly overhead and he’s alerted the hens, it’s amazing to see how fast they run under the protection of trees or into the hen house.
But, there can be disadvantages to keeping a rooster. One of the main disadvantages is that roosters tend to be aggressive towards other roosters as they try to gain dominance.
This can be solved by only keeping 1 rooster in your flock at a time.
What is a Rooster?
A rooster is a male chicken. They are usually bigger and more aggressive than hens and they crow to signal morning, noon, and evening. Roosters also fertilize eggs which results in more chickens (chicks) if you incubate your eggs or let your hens go broody.
Why Have a Rooster?
Having a rooster as part of your chicken flock will allow you to have fertilized eggs. You can then incubate eggs to increase your flock size or sell fertilized eggs to people who want to incubate their own eggs.
Hatching out chicks to sell can also be a good income for your homestead.
How Long Do Roosters Live?
Roosters just like hens live for 5 to 8 years on average. But with the right care and living conditions can live up to 10 to 15 years.
How Many Hens Do You Need Per Rooster?
Keeping 8 to 10 hens for each rooster is a good guideline. If you have less than the rooster may over breed the hens and they could lose feathers on their backs and necks. Hens may also end up with cuts from the roosters spurs and beak on their head, neck, and back.
If you have more then you may have a lower hatch rate with your eggs as the rooster might not keep up with breeding all of the hens often enough to keep the eggs fertile.
Do You Really Need A Rooster?
If you only want to keep chickens for having fresh eggs then you really don’t need a rooster. Roosters are only needed if you want to have fertilized eggs for hatching.
If you or your neighbors won’t enjoy the sound of a rooster crowing on and off during the day then you don’t want to get a rooster.
If your HOA or town bylaws don’t allow roosters then don’t get one.
If you only have 5 or fewer hens it’s not a good idea to have a rooster they will over breed and cause health problems for the hens.
If you are restricted as to how many chickens you can have in your area remember a rooster counts. If are in an urban area and they allow you to keep 8 chickens then having a rooster means it’s one less hen you can have for eggs.
Pros and Cons of Keeping a Rooster
Reasons Not To Keep A Rooster
While having a rooster will allow you to have fertilized eggs and increase your flock size, there are some disadvantages to having one as well.
Roosters can be aggressive with hens and people. Some roosters are aggressive breeders and you may notice your hens starting to lose feathers on their backs.
Sometimes it’s because your ratio of hens to the rooster is too low so adding more hens to your flock may help. But if it doesn’t it may be best to replace the rooster with a less aggressive one.
Roosters may also not be friendly towards children or new people entering the area. Sometimes a rooster who has been calm and gentle for years may suddenly start getting aggressive with you.
As with all male animals, it’s best to never let your hard down. Since roosters have large, sharp spurs they can do a lot of harm when they get aggressive.
Roosters often crow loudly which can be annoying. If you live in an urban area you might not want to keep a rooster as the loud crowing could bother your neighbors.
They start crowing very early in the morning just before the sun comes up and can continue for a few hours. They will often start crowing around mid-day and in the evening as well.
Roosters will also crow if surprised, disturbed, or excited.
Reasons To Keep A Rooster
Roosters can be good protectors of your hens when predators such as foxes or dogs are around. They also keep an eye on the sky for hawks and will sound the alarm when they see one. This helps the hens to have enough time to hide.
Roosters can also defend their territory so they can be useful for alerting you if something is wrong in your chicken coop.
Calms The Flock
I’ve seen many times that hens are calmer and fight less when a rooster is part of the flock. They often help to keep bossy hens in line by breaking up fights between hens.
Cares For His Hens
Roosters spend quite a bit of time looking for treats on the ground. When they find it they will pick it up and drop it down again then call the hens with a cute clucking sound.
Most of the time he’ll let the hens enjoy the treat on their own but I’ve seen few times that he’s decided to eat it anyway.
Of course, if you want to have fertilized eggs for selling or incubating you will need a rooster. Selling fertilized eggs for hatching or hatching and selling day-old chicks can be a good source of income on your homestead especially if you are raising pure breed chickens.
Morning Alarm Clock
Since roosters normally start crowing early in the morning just as the sun is coming up they make a great natural alarm clock.
A good rooster can be a great addition to your backyard chicken flock.
Good roosters are:
- Calm and gentle with both hens and people.
- Good at spotting predators and alerting and protecting his flock.
- Kind to his hens looking for food and sharing with them.
Kim Mills is a homeschooling mom of 6 and lives on an urban homestead in Ontario, Canada. Blogging at Homestead Acres she enjoys sharing tips to help you save money, grow and preserve your own food.