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Will a rooster protect the flock?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by misterhandsome, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. misterhandsome

    misterhandsome Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 3, 2011
    Kemptville, Ontario
    Since losing three birds last night I want to do everything I can to protect the remaining three and the new birds we get to replace the others. We've done what we think will secure the coop at night and any predator would need the teeth of a rodent and hours of determination to get in.

    However, if something happens to get in, would a big rooster be any use in terms of protecting the flock?
     
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Quote:At night a rooster needs light to see- otherwise like the hens he'll just sit there- my run faces my automatic light so when something triggers the light he also can see it.

    (it goes of in 5 min).
     
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello! I wouldn't get a rooster for such a small flock, and here's why: A rooster needs at least 10 hens, and with just six hens, they will be over-mated, start looking raggedy, and also they may be stressed out, effecting their egg production.

    And Firetigeris is right. When it's dark at night, unless you have a light, a rooster will be a sitting duck, like every other hen. They tend to be very still during the night.

    I think bumping up your security is just a great idea though.

    Sharon
     
  4. Zaxby's2

    Zaxby's2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    a place
    It depends. As said above a rooster can do nothing at night, but during the day it can definitely help. [​IMG] Roosters can protect against hawks and small predators and sometimes even fight off foxes or dogs, but some roosters won't do anything. Breeds like games, RIRs, or other protective rooster breeds would be the way to go if you want protection, however a rooster is not guarunteed to fight off predators.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:I disagree with this post. You can read this thread to see why. The 10 to one ratio is for fertility only. That is what commercial operations use for maximum fertility in a flock that lays hatching eggs. In my opinion, it has practically nothing to do with overmated, raggedy, stressed out hens.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=250327

    However, I do agree that a rooster at night will not protect your flock if he cannot see. And not all are good flock protectors anyway. A good one will give his life for his flock, but not all are good. The one I have now leads his hens to safety instead of staying between them and the danger. However, his replacement is now 8 weeks old. I figure another ten weeks.
     
  6. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    A good rooster will be the first one to the fight and will die to protect the hens. He will scan the sky constantly and put out warnings when anything unusual is heard or seen. I've watch my roo go head to head with a raven his size that had killed a 1/2 grown goose and win, seen him growl and the hens run for cover

    As to overworked hens, my very active my Leghorn roo has 5 RIR hens and no bird appears to be over-mated. Yes they can be a little noisy but well worth the feed investment.
     
  7. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I got tired of the rooster constantly at the hens so my solution was to get a bantam rooster for the girls. He's smaller so if they don't want him bothering them they can ward him off. He does protect them and takes his job very seriously. At first some of the girls didn't want anything to do with him, now they squat for him.
     
  8. Rowtag

    Rowtag Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I agree that not all roosters will protect and they can't protect against what they can't see, though I have had one try (young roo got between a coon and the girls but there was probably enough light from nearby houses for him to see). I also think you need the right breed. I have pretty well decided that for flock protection I am going to stick with my RIR. He watches for hawks, chases off dogs/cats, and will fight to the death with foxes/coons. My rooster does not do well with more than about 6-8 hens by himself, not a fertility issue, but he stresses out and loses weight. When I had a larger flock (before the foxes last year) I had to keep a second rooster just to keep my protector feeling confident enough to put his head down to eat. Now that I am down to the 7 hens I have now he is much happier in his protection duties. I like having a rooster and I have had them chase off foxes on a few occasions before I managed to fix the fox problem permanently. If you are only wanting protection at night I suggest just beefing up your coop/run. Even with a great protector I still lose birds occasionally, he can't be everywhere at once, smart hens follow the roo.
     
  9. misterhandsome

    misterhandsome Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 3, 2011
    Kemptville, Ontario
    Thanks for the tips. We blocked off all possible access under the coop and picked up a solar powered motion light to install where the weasel got in last night. Sounds like a rooster would be a good idea too. The poor hens have been pacing in their run all morning. I can only imagine how stressed out they are.
     
  10. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    One thing my rooster would do if something were in the coop at night would be to make the loudest noise of all the hens. Also, I think roosters do tend to crow at night when they hear something going on in the yard.
     

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