Do You Need a Rooster?
If you are thinking of raising chickens, do you need a rooster? Well, the simple answer is no, but there is more to it than that.
Will My Hens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
Yes, hens lay eggs without a rooster. Hens start laying eggs when they reach about 20-22 weeks of age. Typically, a hen lays an egg every 24 hours or so, depending on the breed. Some breeds produce eggs less frequently than others.
When a rooster isn’t present, the eggs are infertile. Having infertile eggs means you won’t have to worry about adding to your flock. None of the eggs will contain baby chicks.
If a rooster is present, gathering the eggs becomes a daily chore. Fertile eggs left under a hen begin to form chicks. Cells start to divide when eggs reach 99º-100ºF. There is no way to know if an egg is fertile or not.
What are the Benefits of Having a Rooster?
A rooster is a mighty protector of his flock. If he suspects danger, he alerts his hens to seek safety, and then he stands guard. Free-ranging chickens have a better chance of survival against predators if a rooster is watching over them.
Roosters provide a means of fertilization for the eggs. If you want to grow your flock, a rooster helps you accomplish this without spending money on buying more birds.
What are the Negatives of Having a Rooster?
Roosters are not allowed in some municipalities. Always check your city ordinances to be sure. They are loud. Roosters don’t just crow when the sun comes up. They crow all day. And there is no such thing as a rooster that doesn’t crow.
Some roosters are mean. Not only are they aggressive to people, but they are also aggressive to the hens. Roosters usually don’t become aggressive until reaching puberty, around 4-6 months of age. At this time, they become territorial and have an urge to mate.
Roosters have spurs on the backs of their legs, right above their feet, that are used to inflict harm. A rooster in attack mode is not an animal in which to mess.
Our Experiences with Roosters
When we first got our chickens, we bought a handful from a man who told us all of them were hens. Two turned out to be roosters. We decided to keep them anyway. After they reached puberty, their temperament changed. They became very aggressive and killed two of our hens. We got rid of those roosters.
During the next three years, we suffered from several predatory attacks on our birds. We lost most of our flock. A friend of mine needed to rehome her rooster. She promised he was a sweet rooster and guarded his ladies well. We decided to give him a try.
Crow is a Silkie, and he has been marvelous! He is such a sweet boy. Crow protects the girls and has never been aggressive to people or the hens. He does like to breed with the ladies. We have to be diligent about getting the eggs daily, so they don’t develop. This last year we decided to add to our flock. Crow is now the proud father of 9 chicks. We haven’t lost a single hen to a predator since he has been around.
After reading about roosters, are you adding a rooster to your flock?
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Do You Need a Rooster?
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I’ve always loved gardening and recently started gardening full-time. I also enjoy tending to our chickens, dogs, and other family pets (a bird, a snake, and rabbits).