Is it time to add a few roosters with your hens? This is an intriguing question people will have to consider as they think about building a full-fledged flock. In some cases, it works out well, while others don’t believe it works in their favor. Roosters are interesting animals, they are protective and can be menacing, or they can be super sweet and cuddly.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons to keeping a rooster with your hens.
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Benefits of Keeping a Rooster with your Hens
1) Fertilization of Eggs
You will be able to fertilize the eggs and this is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy flock. Of course, there are variables that come into play with this type of benefit, but it is something you will be able to keep in mind before bringing the roosters in.
Remember, you will have to keep the roosters in good shape for them to be able to breed.
Your own breeding program can also ensure that you have a sustainable flock and that you can push the flock to greater numbers if and when you need to.
2) Ideal for Warding Off Predators
If the flock is going to be dealing with predators it needs to feel safe, and that is what a rooster is for.
In general, the rooster is able to show signs of strength and has the ability to make enough noise to ward off predators if they do arrive.
They are especially good at warning your hens to run for cover from aerial predators like hawks, as well as ground predators like cats, coyotes and foxes.
If you watch your hens and rooster out free ranging, the girls spend all their time eating and the roo will spend a lot of his time watching and scanning for predators.
While most situations will not demand a high level of protection, it is good to keep the flock in a good, calm state of mind with the help of a rooster.
3) Help With In-House Trouble
Imagine there is a bit of trouble in the flock and you want to keep things in order. A rooster can help with this as they are going to be biologically prepared for these situations and can have the dominance to stop problems before they begin to fester.
Otherwise, the in-house pecking and fights can get to the point where things fall apart and human intervention is required to remove the picked on hen.
This is one of the main reasons people prefer to invest in a couple of roosters to keep things tranquil in the flock!
4) They are Beautiful
There is nothing more farm-ish than seeing a beautiful rooster or two wandering around with the hens. Like many bird species, the girls are much more plain looking and the boys look amazing.
With their plumed tails and fancy colours, a rooster really can add something to the aesthetics of your farm or homestead.
Cons of Keeping a Rooster in your Flock
It’s not always good with the inclusion of roosters and it starts with the noise pollution. Yes, roosters bring a lot of positives to the mix, but they also do a lot of damage as well!
You want to make sure noise isn’t a problem but they are definitely louder than hens.
This is something you need to be prepared for because they will be waking you up in the morning with their noise.
If you live in the city, there are probably rules around keeping roosters. Most areas don’t allow roosters when they start crowing. One solution to this is using a crow collar, which won’t totally stop the sound, but it does minimize it.
2) Can Become Aggressive
Depending on their personality, roosters are known to be aggressive, especially in their teenage time, and this can be seen with how they manage in a flock.
In fact, they can also end up being aggressive towards humans if they don’t take kindly to your meddling. This is often an issue when they are new to the flock and it is best to stay prepared with a big stick just in case.
They will find you less intimidating if you stand sideways to them and don’t stare them down.
3) Expensive to Maintain and Keep Healthy
Roosters eat a lot more than the average hen, and they don’t lay eggs to offset their cost.
Also if you have more than one rooster, if they continue to fight after the initial meet and greet and pecking order argument, then you may have to fork out for medical bills or a separate run to split your flock in to.
As long as you have about 15 hens per rooster, and plenty of space, you can usually run multiple roosters in a flock without too much issue.
Should you run a rooster on your homestead?
In a situation such as this, you want to look at all angles before making a decision.
In most cases, adding a few roosters into the mix will bode well for the flock and is going to keep things heading in the right direction.
However, it is always smart to consider all possibilities and make sure the solution is ideal for your needs over the long-term!