There are a few different reasons why one may want to up the number of chickens in their flock. Maybe you want to grow some to sell or maybe you just want to have more available fresh eggs in the morning. Either way, when you want to expand your flock, you will be presented with a couple of different options.
If you’ve started out with only raising a small group of hens, and do not have a rooster in the bunch, you may need to welcome one into your fowl family. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a new batch of chickens and hope that they don’t come with any illnesses that may infect your whole flock.
It could be a tough choice as there are many pros and cons regarding keeping roosters. First, you will have to check your local laws to find out if it’s even allowed. Some municipalities have strict rules that prohibit owning roosters, and this is usually the case for more urban or residential areas.
Let’s say you’ve found that you are permitted to own a rooster in your city. Now, you will want to talk to your neighbors. While it may be legal you should still consider those that live around you. Living in a hostile community (with you, or more specifically your rooster, being the cause of the hostility) is no way to live. While you don’t have to get their permission, speaking with them previously might lessen the friction later, when you all realize just how loud a rooster is.
Adding a rooster to the family is a big decision to make, so here are a few pros and cons to consider before making that leap. Let’s first discuss the adverse effects and disadvantages that come along with owning a rooster. With every item we list in this section, we will also suggest a solution that’ll help to mitigate it.
The Cons of Keeping a Rooster
1. Roosters Crow Loud
Roosters crow loud, like really, really loud. And don’t believe that they only crow once a day at the crack of dawn, that’s a myth. While they might crow at the first sign of the sun coming up, they also crow at any other hour of the day just because they feel like it. That could be at 3 AM, or 11 PM, or whenever (just think of the most inconvenient time you can imagine).
The raucous he will cause may generate an instant rejection to the idea of owning a rooster, especially if you’re a new parent. It could end up being a huge inconvenience for you and your family at right this moment. Just imagine finally getting a fussy, sick, or teething (or all three) baby to sleep only to have a rooster crow and wake them up.
They tend to crow to assert their dominance, but sometimes just do it whenever, for no reason at all. This is also how they communicate with the hens in the flock. You can only do so much to stop them from doing this, as it is in their nature to crow. If you have a lot of land you may be able to keep them a bit further from your home, but if not you may just need to learn to live with it.
2. They Can Be Very Aggressive
Roosters are pretty much born ready to battle. Being aggressive is one of those characteristics that can make owning a rooster good and bad at the same time. Being hostile can be good when they need to protect their flock against would-be predators.
Now, what happens when that aggression is turned onto their owner, or worse a smaller member of the family, like a child? It can have dire consequences, for sure, as roosters are not known to quit fighting until the threat has been eliminated.
One way to correct this is to always handle them nicely. You can give him treats, stroke his head, and talk to him, too. Never challenge an alpha rooster’s dominance in any way or provoke them to attack. If you have children you may want to have them help you around the run. Doing this will allow them to be around the rooster and the rooster can become familiar with them, but only do this with strict supervision.
If you’re concerned about this, you may even want to consider looking for breeds that are calmer and less hostile. There are lots of choices out there when it comes to calmer roosters like an Australorp or an Orpington. Regarding a rooster’s aggressiveness, familiarity is the key to curbing that behavior towards you and other members of the family.
3. He Will Probably Have A Favorite Hen
You may be surprised to find that roosters do play favorites. If he becomes smitten with one of your hens he will offer her special treats over the other ones. He will also continually single her out to mate with, which may end up damaging her. Too much mating can lead to excess stress on the hen and a loss of feathers.
If you are concerned about this, you don’t have to worry too much. There are products available that are designed to help those hens out. You can easily invest in a chicken saddle, also called a hen apron or hen saver, for your hen.
This contraption will make it so your rooster won’t be able to have access to the tender spots or open wounds she may have sustained during previous mating sessions. If he becomes too aggressive you can either remove the favorite hen from the area, or remove the rooster, for the time being.
The Pros of Keeping a Rooster
Now that we’ve discussed a few of the bad aspects of owning a rooster, let’s talk about the benefits you will inevitably encounter when owning one. After all, you are not considering introducing them to the flock for their ill effects. You are after the good things they can bring to the table. They are not solely liabilities since they can be a great help with the overall quality of life for the entire flock.
1. They Are The Protector Of The Flock
It was mentioned previously that roosters can be violent and combative. Fortunately there is an upside to that. Roosters that are protective of their flock will face any invading predator head-on, with their razor sharp beak and claws and might alone, to scare them off. If any other animal wants to test their might, they can get it, too. A good rooster is a force to be reckoned with.
Any wild animals that creep into your yard will think twice about entering your run, especially if you have a rooster patrolling inside. If they have already been attacked by your macho rooster, they probably won’t be back. Not only does the rooster protect hens and chicks from outside predators, but he also maintains order in the group.
2. They Help Expand Your Flock Naturally
This is probably what brought you here in the first place. Introducing a rooster into your feathered family is a great way to increase the egg production and the overall size of your flock. Since the hens will be protected from predators, this means you will have more hens to produce more eggs. If you’re interested in raising chicks from eggs, we’re written a guide for you here.
Also, relaxed hens tend to lay more eggs than those that are stressed out. It helps that roosters are good providers when it comes to their ladies and chicks. He will even alert the flock whenever he happens to come across some extra food or a treat (by crowing).
3. They Can Add Color And Beauty To Your Farm
Oftentimes roosters have brighter and more colorful feathers than the hens. Their colors stand out from the other members of the flock and are one of the main features that attract more mates. More mating means more eggs and baby chicks for your flock in the future. Their colors also serve to distract predators and it is actually one of their best defenses.
4. They Help the Development of a Flock
Hens that are not accompanied by a rooster may look scattered all over the place. As soon as you introduce a rooster to the flock, they will have a dominant mating partner that they can cling to. This dependence will help to somewhat restore and maintain harmony in the group.
The machismo of a rooster plays an important role in maintaining the overall order on the farm. The rooster will be aggressive when he sees the need and will risk his life to protect the flock. He will always be ready to guard the hens and chicks, and basically take care of what is his.
While they may be loud at times, they are a low-investment asset to your backyard flock and will give you large returns. Yes, it is risky knowing that there may be some negatives that’ll come along with owning one, but you can’t discount the fact that it will bring much more stability to your flock and will surely help better the production and quality of your eggs. He will also ensure that you have healthy chicks running around in no time.
If your main goal is to expand your flock, you might as well go with adding a rooster to the family. It’s a much better decision, since doing so will also add extra security to your feathered family and you’ll get a free alarm clock (that you can’t snooze) to boot!