Is a Rooster necessary to protect a backyard flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by elisavet68, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. elisavet68

    elisavet68 Out Of The Brooder

    27
    0
    32
    May 7, 2012
    I have a small backyard coop and only 4 hens and 1 over active rooster, who seems to protect the flock. However, he is over-mating them and I don't have room for more hens. It wasn't my intention to have a rooster...he's a good one thought and he does do his job well.
    But I'd rather have another hen for the eggs.

    Just wondered how hens faire without a rooster protecting them from predators. Is it necessary and advised to keep him for that reason, or do you think hens are fine surviving without a roo around?

    I don't need to fertilize eggs since we don't have the space.
     
  2. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    17
    103
    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I certainly wouldn't keep a rooster for this reason alone. There are other ways of protecting the hens, depending on what are the threats in your area, and how large an area might need protection.

    Roosters can easily get taken themselves, anyway. So it wouldn't be wise to rely on him alone. Mine are in a run covered on all 6 sides. When they free range each day, I am always close by and our suburban back yard has high fences on all sides. Sure, something could get over the fence (like a fox) and a hawkcould fly in, but that's unlikely where I am.

    If the hens are getting too much attention from him, they'll do better without him!
     
  3. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,904
    64
    173
    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    A rooster may be able to protect them from some predators but, they would probably be happier without him. Do some research on the site about how to introduce a new hen to a existing flock so your girls will accept one. If you decide to keep the rooster? you could get or make saddles to protect the hens backs. The saddles work pretty well and they don't seem to mind waring them at all.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    A rooster can be a good early-warning indicator for your flock, but let's just say that I've lost a lot of hens to hawks but never even one rooster over the years.

    Protection for the flock is not a sufficient reason to keep a rooster, especially since he's over-mating and stressing your hens. I'd get rid of him.
     
  5. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    1,395
    144
    198
    Mar 20, 2012
    A rooster can cause more stress to the hens than protect them. Although they may give a slightly earlier warning to the presence of a hawk or other predator, but, in my experience, the hens keep a look out for these also and run or hide.
     
  6. elisavet68

    elisavet68 Out Of The Brooder

    27
    0
    32
    May 7, 2012
    Thanks,
    I did go ahead and order some saddles for the hens while I ponder about what to do with the rooster....I don't know if I could butcher him or even eat him. I've never had a relationship or raised an animal that I was going to eat before. It feels strange to think about, I'm so new to this and wasn't raising chickens for the meat, but for the eggs.
     
  7. elisavet68

    elisavet68 Out Of The Brooder

    27
    0
    32
    May 7, 2012
    Thanks for the input. My backyard is enclosed, and I do have high fences all around my backyard and tree and shrub cover on the edges of the yard, but we do live in Texas so even though we're in the suburbs, we see fox, raccoons, opossums, rat snakes, hawks, and I hear coyotes at night, I have cats, and my neighbors dog is raring to dig under the fence. So the predators are out there. I only let them out when I'm at home, and their run is completely enclosed. What other suggestion do you have to secure my backyard against predators?
     
  8. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    1,395
    144
    198
    Mar 20, 2012
    Hanging CDs may help deter hawks, but I am not sure how well this works.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    4,210
    454
    328
    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    A fence with an electric wire strung a few inches above the ground will deter anything that wants to dig under. Have a tight chicken coop, with no spaces larger than 3/4" (weasels can get through anything 1" or bigger, snakes can get through smaller cracks)--just put hardware cloth (NOT chicken wire) over any holes. Make sure you always, always, always close the chickens' pop door at night.

    As far as hawks--we've had very good luck with a couple of goats as deterrents. I know that won't work for everyone, though!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by