To Roo or Not to Roo?


7 Years
Aug 3, 2012
It is a toss up. I have always had a rooster with my flock, but even so I have hens who will go off by themselves, hatch their eggs and raise the chicks away from the main flock. They do fine on their own.

I have a rooster that I absolutely love and who stood up to a coyote to protect his flock. He has a life time home on our farm. I also had a very beautiful rooster who attacked anyone who came near and sometimes went out of his way to attack people just because he could. I gave him a few chances because I wanted to pass his genetics to my flock, but he is in the crockpot as we speak.

I love having a well mannered rooster with my flock because he does alert them to danger, calls them to eat when he finds food and rounds them up for the night and breaks up hen fights. He won't go in until the last girl is there. I also like having fertile eggs so I don't have to buy hatching eggs or chicks each year. I also love hearing them crow. It is just a sound that should be heard around a The thing I don't like is the bare backs and heads of the hens from him mating them so often and of course having one become aggressive toward people.

Because I hatch my own eggs, I get a large number of roosters each year. I keep a few, rehome a few and send the mean ones to freezer camp. Roosters are not for everyone, but they are beautiful and serve a purpose within the flock.


6 Years
May 22, 2013
The Volunteer State
My Coop
My Coop
I would give him a chance :) As the others have said, the hens may teach him some manners (but throwing in a few more girls couldn't hurt).
A well-mannered, gentle rooster is worth his weight in gold. I know some chicken keepers may try and "tame" their aggressive roosters, but I don't think that while in the process of training him you should risk a child's safety or the hens themselves.
I would rather rehome (or cull) an aggressive rooster that puts anyone in danger than to try and take the time to "teach" him right from wrong, and I would replace him with a good rooster.

It's your choice, I wouldn't keep the aggressive cockerels, though- you're doing right to get rid of them. But I would give this polite cockerel a good chance.

I would say that roosters do play a significant part in keeping hens from danger while free ranging. My roosters will attack any dog, cat, opossum, or skunk that comes close to the coop. They are always on alert and give out warning screeches any time a bird of prey is close. I have 3 mature roosters and a few cockerels, and even though some of the cockerels are just worried about their own skins, most of my boys do a great job on keeping watch over the girls.
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Lady of McCamley

8 Years
Mar 19, 2011
NW Oregon
You've got a lot of comments already. I have a question.

Where are you free ranging?

Also, how many hens altogether? Just the 2?

As you've read, roosters can be a good thing or a bad thing in a flock. My personal opinion is that it isn't good or bad rooster, it is right rooster for right flock.

Most backyard owners, especially with children, are not prepared to deal with an aggressive rooster. Most farm situations can tolerate a certain amount of guff from a rooster, however, human aggression is not necessary for a rooster to protect the flock. Human aggression is never something to breed forward. It may be fine in the jungle, but it is not in a domesticated bird.

However, an all hen flock can free range safely....but I would definitely have more than 2 chickens if you have any kind of property other than a little back yard plot.

Also what kind of predators are you worried about? Neighbor dogs? Coyotes? Raccoons? Hawks?

It has been my experience that roosters, even the best, are pretty worthless for anything large. They are excellent for hawks and such.

Neighbor dogs kill indiscriminately with or without roosters.

So where are you free ranging?



May 24, 2018
I think a rooster is a good idea when you free range hens. Their job is to prote t their females so they are always in the watch for predators and when they see one they alert the oblivious hens so they can run for cover! Def a good addition for flock safety and they are a so called speed bump because they will take on whatever is after his hens no matter the size and even possibly be killed in the process all while his hens run to safety. What a guy!!! As for which one to keep I wouldnt want the super aggressive one so try the take one and see. I love to hear my guy crow! My oegb is first with my son but not with me ever. I dont allow him to get away with it so if the roo starts wing dragging your daughter or being showy in any way she needs to pick him up and hold him for a few min and rub his waddles. Roosters came be tamed down without showing them who is boss so to speak. Picking then up shows dominance is a kinder way. I read all this on an article I found here on byc just dont remember the name but the info is worth its weight in gold! If stew pot is last resort then the bright side is that his life wasn't wasted he just became part of the food chain. That's life. Some roosters are born mean as hell and it takes a lot of blood sweat and tears to frame them and daily work that some people just dont have time to do. I had a rir roo that you couldn't get near without a stick and he was that way his whole life no matter how nice I was to him or how much he was held. So that's my experience. Free roaming the hens will pick up swiftly just make sure they know where to roost at night so cage them atkeast 3 weeks. That's what I do. If I catch mine qhere theh shouldnt be I tell them to get home and walk them out of the woods. They have figured out what my commands mean and we do well! Good luck


Jun 23, 2017
I would keep the best mannered roo. He could help keep the girls safe, and roosters are a pretty sight though of course that is not the only reason to keep one.


5 Years
Aug 17, 2014
If you keep a cockerel with only the two hens they will most likely end up bare backed from being over bred. Another thing to consider, I find hens are friendlier and easier to handle when there isn't a rooster present. Also if all those cockerels share the same genetics, your quiet boy probably won't be so meek once the other cockerels are gone.

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
I too think where you are is a big part of this. I live on the wild prairies of SD. A long ways from town or neighbors. Rooster are a big protection for my hens. My day time predation drops dramatically with a good rooster.

However, not all of them are good roosters. To be a good rooster, there is rather a list of characteristics that you need.
  • not mean to people
  • not mean to hens
  • he should be there first one to see you when you come to the coop
  • he should tidbit his girls
  • he should settle squabbles
  • he should keep them rounded up, get them to roost
  • he should escort them to lay
  • he should be tolerant of chicks, even when they drive him nuts
  • he should not crow all the time
I have only had two that had most of the these characteristics. However, if they are paying attention most of the time they will help with predation if you live in the wilds of SD.

If you live in town, your biggest predators are much more apt to be the neighbors or your own dog, not going to do much against them.

If this is your first time with chickens, I would recommend just hens.

Mrs k

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
southern Michigan
And no cockerel will be up to that standard until he's more mature and experienced.
But, no cockerel who starts life attacking humans and injuring pullets or hens will ever be worth keeping, even if he seems to watch out for his flock. He's not, when he's stalking or attacking the giants who bring food! Then, he's an idiot who needs to be gone.
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