Topic of the Week - Roosters, Yes or No?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. javaferret

    javaferret Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2015
    I have always kept roosters with my hens, and always in multiples. The most roosters I had at one time was 8 (one large EE rest various bantam breeds) with 25 hens, no problems with serious fights, though I did have to put them all in a bachelor pad the first spring cause they were wearing out the poor hens, but after 6 months or so they all were back together again, no fighting, and less hen obsessed. They were also free ranged and space wasn't an issue. They did save my hens from foxes by them being taken first, poor guys, after a few years ended up wth just three roosters. Wyoming was hard keeping predators away, fox, hawks, coyotes, owls and being new to chickens It was a learning curve on how to build safe space. Having roosters kept chicks hatching to replace losses as well as being look outs.

    Many years later I have moved to Oregon an I now have three roosters and one is the best ever rooster, very calm and feeds the hens, one is little more rough with the hens, but he stays away if the calm rooster is insight, the third rooster stays away from both roosters and does not even crow and only sometimes tries to get with a hen. Its funny all the hens like the main rooster (calm one) but some of the larger hens (siapans) chase the rough rooster if he is too close. None of the roosters fuss with humans, and the loner rooster will come and stay with me while I do chores.

    Cons of roosters, yes the noise and possible over mating of the hens, Pros of roosters, they keep the peace and are great decoys for predators to save the hens. I think I will always have a rooster, they are beautiful and are generally good for the hen's social lives (break up fights, keep from them picking on the bottom hen, help them find treats, give them some exercise from running away from advances....).
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Many posts have summed up the beauty of a rooster, so I won't reiterate what's already been said.

    I will just add:

    1. I strongly agree that you should take your time to choose your rooster, and first time flock owners generally should wait. Establish your flock purpose first, then decide if a rooster is needed. Small flocks in backyards for egg laying or pet purposes generally do not need a rooster especially if your children like to pet their chickens.

    2. Roosters allow you to make your own genetic plans for your flock rather than relying on the hatcheries or what breeders are in your area. (Shipped eggs can be a disaster for the money). This works even if you are not raising a particular breed but just want a sustainable flock that produces the eggs, egg color, and meat you desire.

    3. Raising your own chicks also avoids the disease you can bring in with purchased birds and prevents the loss from stress and integration problems with feed store chicks. My home bred, broody raised, chicks grow fast and hardy on my property with little work on my part.

    4. You can tell a rooster's nature as a chick. Never accept a snotty chick. He will grow into a worse rooster. Always wait until teenage before you commit to a rooster to see if he will remain good nature. And I do handle my chosen bird so that he knows who is in control and so he doesn't fear me. I do not however treat him like a pet.

    5. No one has mentioned feed control. When you have a rooster it is best to keep the flock on All Flock so your boy doesn't get the level of calcium in the layer feed which will take its toll over time. So there is that hassle. Having to keep your layers on All Flock. I find my layers do best and have the best quality eggs on layer. While I place oyster shell and calcite grit freely, the egg quality is still better on layer. If you don't sell eggs, that won't matter, but if you do sell eggs, often the grit or shell leaves some traces in the egg appearance.

    Good roosters are golden. It is a combination of really good genes, good husbandry, and in my experience, older hens (broodies) schooling the younger boys.

    A good daddy rooster is awesome to watch. He protects mommas and babies from predators and from nosy flockmates. He integrates babes into the flock. He keeps squabbles down in a gentle way. Leads his hens to safety at the first sign of trouble.

    Bad roosters are tyrants that harass and use their flock. There is a big difference. Know it and keep only those that are worthy of your flock.


    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. percoco13

    percoco13 Out Of The Brooder

    May 5, 2015
    We love our roo. He's a beautiful mix of a wellsummer and Whiting true blue and is appropriately protective of his girls yet friendly and tame with us. He shares a life with a male turkey and two male drakes- no problems whatsoever. He makes sure new hens know who he is, he seems firm but fair. We lost 8 hens and 2 other roosters to a raccoon attack one night and Vader was the lone survivor, he was wounded but I'm confident he sustained those wounds trying his best to defend his flock.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Wow! Looks like this is a hot topic!!!!
    - Is a rooster beneficial to the flock? Depends entirely on the flock. If more than 10 hens, and if the coop and run are bigger than 4 s.f in coop/10s.f in run per bird a roo can be beneficial, IF he's a good roo. If he's not a gentleman with his ladies, if he has any human aggressive tendencies, he's better off in the crock pot. Any flock owner needs to consider her reason for keeping a roo. If you don't intend to produce replacement birds, you don't need a roo.

    - How big should the flock be if you consider keeping one? (I.e. how many hens minimum) At least 10 hens. My roo happily serves up to 24 hens, and has good fertility.

    - What should a flock keeper look for when adding, or keeping a rooster? (For example, when choosing which rooster to keep from a hatch, if not for breeding purposes, but as a pet) A roo must be: people friendly, never show aggression towards people. He must be a family man: take care of his broodies, and be chick friendly, tid bit the chicks, and help protect them. He must not be feed aggressive (not share the goodies with his hens) He must tid bit his hens. He must have an active interest in nesting, and show his girls his favorite nesting spots. He must break up hen fights. He must sound the predator alarm. He should be a dancer. I would be very cautious about bringing in an adult roo, due to my biosecurity reasons. That being said, when adding a roo to an already existing flock, he should be a youngster who can be raised up in the flock, or he should be an older well seasoned roo who has proven himself as a flock master, breeder, and a gentleman with a good temperament. Any cockrel hatched into my flock immediately enters obedience training.

    - Beside noise, what are the possible cons of keeping a rooster and what should be kept in mind. (For new chicken owners) Never keep a roo if it's not legal in your neighborhood. Never keep a roo if you don't intend to hatch out chicks. (IMO, if not kept for procreation, the noise produced by a roo is simply too much noise pollution.) IMO, if you add a roo to your flock, you need much more space than you do for a flock without a roo.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  6. Braxton Brigade

    Braxton Brigade Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2015
    Braxton, Ms
    Well said, @Lady of McCamley
  7. mark33868

    mark33868 New Egg

    Jan 26, 2015
    Polk City, Florida
    I have one hen and one rooster. They get along great. He protects her and guards her from cats/dogs & other predictors. If you let your hens free range, keep a few roosters. There good for the hens and fun to watch. After a few run in's he's learned to get along with everyon. I can tell by his crow if something is amiss or just wants attention. Teach all to come when you call them, just in case of a hawk or other predators. You get use to the crowing and so will your neighbors.
  8. AmieD

    AmieD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2016
    I am a new chicken owner and never planned to have rooster. I bought 3 RIRs that were supposed to be female. 2/3 are male. I was worried because I had read so many posts about roosters being aggressive, especially RIR roosters. We decided to keep them and give it a try. Rusty and Roo had been hand-fed right along with the girls and we loved them. The worst patch we had was when they started mating. We just didn't have enough sexually mature females. They over-mated our 2 White Leghorns and tore their combs; one was almost scalped. We brought her inside and she has healed. We've been adding chickens and now have we have a better balance, but we ended up with a male Olive Egger and a male Salmon Faverolle. Left Eye (OE) has to sneak around to mate or he gets chased off. Han Solo (SF) hasn't tried to mate yet, but has done some shaking of his tail feathers for the ladies. We haven't had any fights and the roosters have never been aggressive to people; my kids play in the yard all the time. I really hope that the peace continues. At this point, we have 11 females who are being mated and we're not seeing any damage to the girls' combs, but one has treading damage. We have 10 girls who should be laying within the month and 13 baby-girls. I think we should have enough females to keep everyone happy.

    Our roosters do try to protect the girls. Han ran out and drew the attention of a dog so all the girls could get to safety. He lost some feathers, but was otherwise fine. He also has been protective of the young girls. When they've been separated and peep for each other, he leads them back to their family groups. Left Eye always has his eye on the sky and crows whenever hawks fly by. As for Rusty and Roo, they don't do much other than call the girls back after the danger has passed.

    I live in a neighborhood that is in the country, so I can have chickens, but I don't want to bother neighbors. My boys wear no-crow collars.

    For fun, I built an incubator and we are incubating eggs. The boys are definitely good for that.

    Would I recommend getting roosters? Probably not, at least not yet. I've had a great experience so far, but I'm new and I'm not sure if I should expect my boys to change. My oldest are 7 months old and the youngest are 5-6 months old. I still have that anxiety that they may "turn mean." I just hope that they stay sweet because nobody is going to be dinner and I really don't want to have to build bachelor coops. :)
    1 person likes this.
  9. marismimi

    marismimi Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2016
    I have approx. 15 roos and I have yet to have a cock fight. I have 20 - 25 hens. I think the key is the large amount of space and freedom they have. I converted our garage into chicken pens (along with ducks and geese). I also let them free range. We have 26 acres but they stay within 5. I just think they are all very happy
  10. cagilberts

    cagilberts New Egg

    Jul 31, 2013
    We have two Roos and I love them dearly!! They look after and protect my girls as well as providing me with a few new chicks every spring. We have 2 Roos and 29 chickens. Hopefully two aren't too many!!

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