So.... maybe you're thinking about adding a rooster to your flock?
I know that it can be quite the debate, but the reason why that I've created this article is to help make your decision a little easier.
Let's begin by going over all of the pros and cons of keeping a rooster:
A rooster is always watching over his flock. He’ll scan the sky and landscape for potential predators, warning the hens when he senses danger. He will alert the flock of any ground or aerial predators.
He will check over food he finds before calling his girls to come and eat, in fact he'll stand back and let his girls begin eating before he does.
A rooster will mate regularly with most or all of his hens, ensuring an ongoing supply of fertile eggs. This can be great if you want to hatch or sell fertile eggs.
Protection is a positive trait but some roosters may take it too far. Not all, but some roosters may become aggressive towards people. Now if you are having a hard time differentiating the behavior of an aggressive rooster or a rooster showing normal pecking order behavior, here is what you should look for. There is a notable difference between aggressive behavior in a rooster and a mere squabble like a peck on the head at the food dish, or a signal to tell someone they’re out of line. A true aggressive rooster is relentless and will attack persistently. The body language is unmistakable. Usually the feathers on the neck flare, the head goes down in “charge” mode and then the body is flipped forward and the legs pound the victim like a drum while supported with flapping wings.
This can be very dangerous, especially if you have children. Most roosters have spurs, the spur is a pointed, rigid growth on the inner leg of a rooster, some hens may have spurs too. Roosters have spurs to protect themselves and their hens against predators or other competing roosters. These spurs can seriously injure a person.
B is the spur.
Spurs can also be cut/trimmed/removed using a few different methods. But I'm not going to get into all of the different methods in this article.
As you probably already know, roosters crow. This can be plus if you like the sound, but it can also be a major con if you or your neighbors do not appreciate the sound. You could also invest in a no-crow collar, but keep in mind that it's not stopping the sound, but only muffling it.
Many neighborhoods or HOAs prohibit roosters, so it would not be a good idea to break this rule.
If you do not have enough hens for a rooster, they may get over bred. Resulting in feathers getting pulled out and the rooster's spurs digging into their skin. So a good way to prevent this is by having at least 8 hens per rooster.
Now, for my favorite part: My Personal Experience
**Please remember that this is MY personal experience so everyone may have different experiences or opinions than me**
Before I even got my first chickens, I had some people warn me to not get a rooster, that they're all mean.
Well we went to our local TSCO and got 8 chicks, 6 were golden comet pullets, and 2 were Plymouth barred rocks straight run. So we ended up with one of the barred rocks being a boy, we named him Marbles. He was the tiniest chick but quickly grew to be a huge rooster. He was such a sweetheart, he loved to be with people and be held. Marbles proved everyone wrong by being so sweet.
Here is a picture of Marbles
Next we went to an auction and purchased a pair of white Silkies. One hen and one rooster, we named them Mr. and Mrs. Silkie. Mr. Silkie could care less about Marbles or all of the other hens, the only thing that he cared about was Mrs. Silkie. He never left her side once, even when she went broody, he was right there next to her and would bring food back to her. Mrs. Silkie hatched out one chick, they were the happiest little family! Mr. Silkie loved his new baby so much, he would even let it keep warm beneath him while Mrs. Silkie took a dust bath.
This is a picture of the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Silkie, with their chick to the right. They were definitely not the prettiest, but they made up for it with their personalities. And yes there is a Guinea chick sleeping with them!
So all of my first roosters were amazing boys with there own individual personalities.
Next was a beautiful Barnevelder named Roo. Roo started off as being pretty nice but that quickly changed. He began to attack everyone and everything. He scratched our legs up so badly that there are still scars from him. But one day when he knocked down a little girl, we knew that he had to go. The next day someone came to pick him up. They were aware of his aggression but wanted him anyways. The funny thing is, that we happened to run into the person that took him just the other day. We were surprised to hear that he still had Roo. He said that he's a good rooster to the hens so that was all that mattered to him.
Here is the beautiful but evil Roo!
Fast forward to today, we have had a ton of different roosters! Luckily, the majority of them have been good boys. So in conclusion, there will always be some aggressive roosters and then there will be some really sweet ones. They each have their own individual personalities.
If you still think that you want a rooster, I recommend that you give them a try. I personally like to always have a few roosters around, especially now that I breed a few different breeds.
I hope that you enjoyed this article and found it very helpful. Thank you for reading!