Considerations for Keeping a Rooster

Monica S

BYC Content and Advertising Specialist
7 Years
Nov 30, 2012
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By Mikelle Roeder, Ph.D., flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition




Have you ever thought of adding a rooster to your flock?

A rooster can wake you with spirit each day and help your flock grow through fertilized eggs. But, before you add a male bird to your backyard flock, weigh the pros and cons and be prepared to manage him differently than your hens.

Consider the following questions to find out if a rooster is a fit in your flock.

Is keeping roosters legal?
First things first: Check your local town ordinances to determine if it is legal to have a rooster before adding him to the flock.

Roosters tend to crow during overnight and early morning hours, and some towns have noise ordinances that prohibit the keeping of roosters. Interestingly, a rooster’s crow is typically no louder than a dog’s bark, but that may be of little consolation to the neighbors being awakened at 5 AM. Roosters crow in response to noise, and to announce their presence. In the rooster’s mind, the loudest bird wins. De-crowing a rooster is not an option, as the surgery is very dangerous and would generally be considered inhumane.

Are roosters aggressive?
Roosters have earned a reputation for being aggressive towards humans, other roosters, and even sometimes to hens. A rooster’s instinct is to protect the flock, and help ensure that the hens are well taken care of.

Many take this job very seriously! There are numerous stories of roosters placing themselves in harm’s way to save the hens from predators, as well as sounding an alarm that danger was near. Unfortunately, a rooster’s methodologies are not always friendly. He may view you, your children or your other pets as a threat to the flock and act hostilely to protect the hens. Behavioral training can help, but sometimes you just need to find a mellow rooster.

At night, it may help to keep roosters in a separate coop away from the hens. Crowing and aggression can sometimes be reduced this way.

Are there rooster breed differences?
In general, some breeds have a reputation for producing more docile roosters than others. These include the Langshan, Silkies, Brahma, Orpington and Cochin.

Leghorns, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and Minorcas are typically more active. Roosters that are raised from the time they hatch are sometimes more docile. Aggressive behaviors are also lessened when hens are not present; however, there are no guarantees on how a bird will behave with maturity.

So why keep a rooster?
There are many benefits to adding a rooster to the flock.

Roosters are good protectors and can earn their keep when you have a large area in which your hens free-range. Roosters will also seek out and alert hens of the best food finds and tasty treats. If you wish to breed your hens and hatch baby chicks from your flock, a rooster is required to fertilize the eggs. Aesthetically, roosters are quite stunning, with their long, colorful feathers and stately presence.

On the down side, if you end up with an aggressive rooster, he may view you as a threat to his hens. If a rooster is overbreeding hens, the hens will start to lose feathers and can even end up injured.

Multiple roosters in a flock will result in fighting, which can go to the death. Roosters that have been raised together since hatching are less likely to fight, and the risk is further reduced if they are completely separated from the hens.

To prevent fighting, consider owning just one rooster. Keeping multiple roosters is usually not recommended, unless you have a large flock of hens or no hens at all. One rooster per 10 hens is a rule of thumb. This will help to prevent overbreeding and fear of the rooster by the hens. If you have a rooster and fewer than 10 hens, consider housing the rooster separately.

Always have a game plan for how to dispose of a rooster that does not fit in with your flock or family. Re-homing an aggressive rooster can be challenging, so have a plan in place before you get the rooster.

Overall, there are benefits and challenges to owning a rooster. Some breeds are more aggressive than others, so seek out breeds that tend to be on the docile side. Many anecdotal reports note that a rooster that is home-raised is the most likely to be agreeable, but there is no guarantee. Remember that a rooster need not be present for hens to lay eggs, but you will need a rooster if breeding for live chicks is a goal.

To learn more backyard flock nutrition and management tips, visit www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed or like Purina Poultry on Facebook.
 

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yep, still winter
Staff member
Premium member
6 Years
Dec 12, 2013
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Wyoming
This was helpful in seeing which breeds of roosters were most agreeable. Thanks for a well-written article!
 

MadamPoofyBrow

Songster
Jun 15, 2015
1,158
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Nice article, I'm sure it'll be very helpful for newbies to rooster :-D I was glad to see Cochins on the list of less aggressive roos, I usually hear of Silkies, and have both Silkies and Cochins but don't usually see Cochins on less-aggressive lists. I have fourteen Cochin boys, and they're every one of them just like cats, I highly recommend them
Of course, the Silkie are great too, but the Cochins are my favourite boys :)
 

moms little boy

In the Brooder
Aug 19, 2015
13
2
24
I have a rooster and I named him fingers he's been very sick and I've been taking care of him. he has a fighting spirit he is starting to get well now but he is always by my side even before he was sick. sometimes wrist reschedule bad reputation yeah they cockadoodle all hours but you know what its good cuz they get you up early they let you know if there's a Predator around and mindless me know if people are entering my yard. yes somr can be aggressive but mine is not not towards me and a few other people I know have roosters are the same way laid back very calm but one thing I have to say he is very protective of his hens only I can go next to him and his females not anyone else. my rooster thinks he's a chihuahua though he likes to jump in lay down on my lap. : )
 

Miss Ashly

In the Brooder
Jan 30, 2015
50
8
33
DFW
My experience thus far has been completely different.

My bantam cochin and silkie roosters are bruts.

My EE, RIR, Appenzeller and La Fleche roosters are absolute gentlemen.

All raised as hatchlings, all things being equal.
 

SarahTsu

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 3, 2015
110
4
58
My experience thus far has been completely different.

My bantam cochin and silkie roosters are bruts.

My EE, RIR, Appenzeller and La Fleche roosters are absolute gentlemen.

All raised as hatchlings, all things being equal.
How do you house the roos? Any hens in the picture?
 

AnHourToGarden

In the Brooder
May 16, 2015
9
3
23
Southern California
I've had 5 roos through the years and the silky was the only one that attacked us. I now have a bantam cochin that is really sweet and takes good care of his girls. (He is housed with the girls) Another benefit to having a roo is that he keeps the hen pecking to a minimum. As soon as the girls start to argue with each other, he's right there to stop it.
 

jak2002003

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 24, 2009
3,096
1,167
376
Thailand
Japanese bantam roosters are also mostly really placid.. they are show birds to are bred to be amiable to handling.

I keep this breed just for the pleasure of keeping the lovely coloured roosters! The hens are second. I can have upwards of 10 roosters at any one time.

They all get on with each other and can live together. They establish a pecking order just like the hens.

In over 10 years keeping and breeding this breed I only hand one rooster that caused fights with the others and would never back down.. even though he always came off the worst.

I have never had any that showed the least big or aggression to humans.

As they are small they are also a bit quitter than the larger standard breeds. But they will crow throughout the day and occasionally a few times at night.

After a while you get used to the sound and now I never even notice it. Its when guests come to stay they that say they were woken up in the night by the crowing!!
 
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