Most backyard chicken keepers start their flocks with female hens to keep for eggs or just because they can make great pets.
Although it can be tempting to add a rooster into the mix, they do tend to have a bad reputation when it comes to noise and behaviour.
As a rooster owner myself, I wanted to put together this ultimate guide to provide you with informed information to help you decide if a rooster is right for you, your flock and your living situation.
To decide whether a rooster is right for you and your existing flock there are some key considerations to consider, including noise pollution, whether you’re allowed to keep one in your area, potential injury to small children and space for your flock.
Read on to find out much more about roosters and the pros and cons of keeping one with your hens along with some facts and tips to make rooster keeping as easy as possible.
Pro’s and Con’s of Getting a Rooster
Keeping a rooster can be more challenging than keeping just hens, but if you have the right set up it can also be a lot of fun too.
The important thing is not to take on a rooster until you know the full facts on the potential challenges you can face as an owner because once you have one they can be difficult to re-home.
So, coming up are all of the pro’s and con’s involved in keeping roosters with some tips thrown in too.
1 – Roosters are Good at Protecting Hens
One of the reasons why people keep a rooster with their hen flock is because they’re usually pretty good at protecting their flock of hens.
Roosters are pre-wired to do certain jobs which they take very seriously, these include:
- Protecting their hens
- Mating with their hens
- Making sure no other roosters muscle in on his hens
How well they do this job really depends on the individual rooster, but most are always alert and looking out for any kind of danger while the hens happily graze for food.
In signs of danger or intruders the rooster will call out to alert the rest of the flock and to threaten the danger in question.
As you can see from the image below, our rooster does this all day, whereas the hens are oblivious to what’s going on outside of foraging, he won’t eat anything other than the feed we give him.
2 – A rooster can keep the pecking order under control
When you introduce a rooster to a flock of hens it’s likely that they’ll quickly fit in at the top of the pecking order and keep any unruly hens in check when it comes to bickering among the flock.
Roosters are also good at keeping the flock together if they’re free-range and prone to wandering off.
Hens often become attached to the rooster and will stay close by to where he is and it’s not unusual for a rooster to have one or two favourites that never leave his side.
3 – Not all roosters are bad
Although some roosters can be very aggressive towards people and in some cases other chickens, not all of them are bad.
When a rooster mates with a hen, it can look scary and like the hen is being hurt, however, this is their natural behaviour and the hen will happily go back to grazing a second later like nothing ever happened.
Some roosters have very placid personalities and are no trouble at all, others can be troublesome towards people but can behave like the perfect gentleman towards his hens.
A rooster is generally very attentive towards its hens and will even offer up morsels of food in return for loyalty and regular mating.
Our rooster is definitely a gentleman and is always last out of the coop and the run behind his ladies, but unfortunately, he’s not so gentlemanly around humans.
Keeping a rooster is interesting and it really is fun to watch how they behave around their hens, they’re very quirky creatures who often get treated unfairly by us humans.
4- Roosters need our help
If you ever take a look at chicken re-homing groups or listings, it’s likely that you’ll see a lot of roosters which for whatever reason people can no longer keep.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot because they’re either aggressive, making too much noise or they’ve been hatched from an egg by someone who only wanted laying hens.
Hatching chickens from eggs is fun and a great way for breeders to continue lines etc, however, if the person hatching the eggs only wants to keep hens, this is not so good for the roosters.
There’s as much chance of hatching a rooster as there is a hen so this can lead to many unwanted birds.
In the commercial farming world roosters are seen as a by-product and in many cases, they’re culled at an early age.
The lucky birds that do find a good home where they can live out their days in happiness with its hens are in the minority.
This is why it’s important to know what you’re taking on board when you give a home to a rooster because it is a commitment for years to come.
1 – Roosters are noisy
There’s no denying that fact that pretty much every rooster is noisy, it’s in their nature to crow and they do this on a regular basis and usually from first thing in the morning and throughout the day.
How loud and how often the rooster crows really depends on the individual bird, but in most cases, it will be loud and often.
Noisy roosters have caused many an argument between neighbours, but not everyone hates the noise, after all its a natural countryside noise – what’s not to like!
If you’re thinking of getting a rooster, it’s definitely worth considering how people around you will react and also how close you are to your neighbours and maybe even speak to them first.
Did you also know that roosters can also crow at night? You can find more information on crowing in the article below:
2 – Roosters can be aggressive
Not all roosters are aggressive but many are and it’s something to be aware of especially if you’ve got young children, other pets or people visiting.
When a rooster attacks (as well as pecking) they will wrap themselves around your ankle and dig their spurs into your skin, they can also jump up and do this too, which can be dangerous with small children around.
They do this because they feel you’re a threat to the flock or to his status and it can be difficult to stop, but there are ways you can get around this by showing you’re in charge.
For more information on this topic, take a look at the following post:
3 – You Usually Need to Keep Roosters Separate From Each Other
Although there are some roosters who will tolerate another rooster living within their territory, many don’t and will fight viciously to decide who is top chicken.
Hence the reason some roosters are kept and bred for fighting.
Most roosters are very highly strung and will mindlessly attack any male who threatens their status, so it’s not recommended that chicken keepers keep more than one rooster, especially if they weren’t raised together.
4 – Local Restrictions on Keeping Roosters
Some areas have local restrictions on keeping a rooster on your property, including further restrictions if your property is council owned.
This article was first published on January 19, 2021 by Pentagon-Pets.
It’s worth checking with your local council first if you’re thinking of getting a rooster because there’s a chance you could be forced to re-home it further down the line.
5 – You Need Plenty of Space for a Rooster
Depending on the breed, roosters are usually much bigger than a hen and it’s not just their size that can be a problem in a smaller coop or run, if they feel confined they can become a nuisance towards the hens.
If you have a rooster in the flock it’s good to make sure they have plenty of space and ideally allow them to free-range so the hens can move away if they’re feeling overpowered or dominated.
Roosters will regularly mate with all or most of the hens in the flock and this can sometimes become a bit much for the hens if they’re confined in a smaller space.
Our recommended coop
Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.
Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on January 19, 2021.
Are Chickens Happier with a Rooster?
So, that’s the pro’s and cons out of the way, before I finish I just wanted to touch on how the chickens feel about having a rooster introduced to their flock.
When you have a flock (of any size) of just hens, they don’t need or want a rooster to live a happy life.
They will also lay eggs just the same as they would with a rooster around, the only difference being the eggs have the potential to become chicks – but only if they’re properly incubated for many days.
When you introduce a rooster to the flock the chickens will quickly adapt to having him around and some will become very attached and affectionate around him.
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I hope this post has helped you to find out more about whether or not a rooster is right for you. If you’re new to chicken keeping, you might also find the following posts helpful:
This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on January 19, 2021.