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Chickens Top 6 Reasons for Keeping a Rooster in Your Flock

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4.5/5,
  1. Many people only ever hear of the disadvantages and problems a rooster can cause especially in an urban environment where loud noises like crowing can be a worry; but, there are several reasons why keeping a rooster is a good idea if local council laws in your area permit.

    1. Protection - Roosters are very protective of their flock (remember those old cartoons with the big rooster beating up the naughty cat or dog trying to get the hens) well, it's not so dramatic as that, however a rooster can be quite aggressive when riled up.

    Recently, our rooster lost a good chunk of his tail feathers whilst attacking a large goanna trying to steal some eggs. If you live in an area with birds of prey and you free-range your flock roosters are extremely handy at spotting attack from the air and will warn the flock and even find a place hide everyone (like back in the coop) until the threat is over.

    If you're worried about your rooster being aggressive towards you or other family members, it does help greatly if you raise your rooster yourself from chick. That way, your rooster will more likely be human friendly and won't pose a problem or scare the kids. Our current rooster is very family friendly - he's a good boy who does a top job protecting the flock without terrifying the family during egg collection.

    Having said that, roosters generally aren't "dangerous" and the spurs on their feet or wing spikes may cause a small scratch at worse on a person if it really got to that stage and a rooster had a free shot. Realistically, roosters are no match for a human and won't attack front on and if they do it's usually from behind and merely a kick with a swoosh from the wings to give a nice fright but that's about it...

    2. Food gathering - Roosters inherently look to find food for the flock and this is particularly evident in a free-ranging environment where the area is left to grow a little wild with a good variety of plants.

    On our property, we have a species of native clumping grass which produces a seed head full of long thorns and at the base of these thorns small berries are formed. The hens love the berries but can't reach the fruit; however, the rooster has a larger beak and is able to pick the berries out from between the thorns and then throw them on the ground for the hens to get.

    It seems to me that besides protection the other main job of a rooster is finding food and he rarely eats first, in fact, he will often go without and happily call the hens over with his high pitched excited clucking whenever he finds a worm or something good to eat letting the girls have their fill before he gets a turn.

    3. Discipline - Pecking order within a flock of hens is important and a hen can remember her place in a flock of a hundred other birds. Even so, fights do happen and a rooster is the perfect mediator to quell the tempers when the girls get angry. If there's a fight he will jump between the offending parties and growl keeping them separated and ensuring both know not to continue.

    If a hen steps out of place or goes somewhere not approved the rooster will dance in a circle around her shuffling his feet and growling his disapproval. If she still doesn't pay attention then he will peck or bully her until she submits but it doesn't often come to that.

    4. Teaching - Roosters are good fathers and they do pay attention to new hatchlings often showing them where to safely go and what to eat. I've seen our rooster oversee the hen and her clutch and be quite gentle with the chicks.

    If there's a new gadget or feeder introduced to the pen the rooster is often the first one to inspect it and figure out how it works then excitedly show the hens.

    5. Breeding - Naturally, you can't make chicks without a rooster to fertilise those eggs so if you intend to refresh your layers and turn some of those eggs into new stock then you'll need a good healthy boy around to service the hens.

    6. Beauty - Roosters are beautiful to look at and it's totally acceptable to keep them just for aesthetics alone as their whisky tail feathers and shiny, flashy colours are amazing.

    I love looking at all the pretty boy roosters at the show poultry pavilion standing proudly in the their cages as the people walk past - what a magnificent bird!

    Yep, a rooster is true gentleman of the chicken world and that's my 6 reasons why you should keep a rooster in your flock.

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    About Author

    Mark
    Own a small hobby farm acreage in a subtropical climate. Love food gardening, keeping poultry, and all things about DIY/self-sufficiency! Editor of blog www.selfsufficientme.com :)

Recent User Reviews

  1. Shannon Robinson
    5/5,
    "Great job relating the benefit of roosters"
    PROS - Lots of great reasons to keep birds. Well thought out
    CONS - Can’t think of one
    Excellent inside into flock management. Love roosters myself. I thin’ that a rooster can earn his keep.
  2. Tamitha Ratliff
    5/5,
    "Didn't know roosters were cool like that!"
    PROS - Excellent learning info!
    CONS - I can't think of any!
    Who would have thought that roosters were that cool! I admit that I've still have so much to learn about, well, everything... but this (well written) article has broadened my views of roosters! Thanks so much!
  3. Rosalba
    4/5,
    "Some are better than others"
    PROS - Good points about roosters
    CONS - Not any rooster will do
    Having hatched and raised a few roosters, all the good points that you have in the article are true, but a rooster needs to be chosen carefully. Any that attack the hand-that-feeds, or chase the girls down, or attack certain girls needs to be eliminated no matter how pretty. We had a lovely boy in our breeding flock who the girls loved. He would do his dance display and if the hen walked off he would find another and not force them. However even he culled male chicks if he got the chance. Most times the mother hen would attack him if he got too close. My experience is the mother hen may hatch the chicks in the hen house but will take the chicks away from the flock and raise them until the chicks are six weeks old, then return to the flock. If keeping a rooster is not a problem then consider a peacock as well. Excellent defender from hawks and snakes. Check with the neighbours though, they can be very loud on the roof at 3am and have a 500m flying territory.
      BenE likes this.

Comments

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  1. Rick G
    I want to build a house and run for some chickens this summer .Never considered a rooster. I do have hawks and eagles, so probable good idea for one. Luckily no dangerous snakes lol.
  2. Gaz
    I have 4 ISA browns hens but no Rooster. Any suggestions for a good rooster breed?
  3. Owlonthewing
    We have a huge big rooster named Buzz. We raised him from an egg and he was friendly for ages. We could pick him up and he was almost cuddly. All at once he started attacking us. He runs up behind and belts us on the back of the thigh. We have been left with huge bruises more from the force of his weight than his spurs.
    We have young children around and so we have to come to a decision as to what to do with him.
    I really don't want to kill him but even when we realise he is coming for us and turn to face him he still attacks. The children are all scared of him.
  4. Wayland.
    I like to have a rooster about the place but, I once had a fine large cockerel who only have the merest hint of spurs. The amount of lacerations inflicted on the poor hens ment he had to go. I have just got rid of another problem rooster. This little bugger would attack as soon as I entered the run. Not a problem of course but he would herd his girls up in a corner and would then proceed to charge up and down screaming his head off. He would caused pandemonium around the run. His antics would cause the hens to panic at the sight of me. They were calm before he came on the scene. I only write this as a caution. I have had many good old mates in the past but roosters are very much individuals. Like us.
  5. Lisa
    Mark, there's no way I can have chickens (I live in the suburbs and have a bunch of cats), but this article makes me want them desperately. The way you describe their antics makes it easy to imagine what they must look like.

    I'll have to settle for cat-watching. I love all the little "cat things" they do throughout the day, things that only cats do that you have to be paying attention to notice, and it gives me tremendous enjoyment. The way they communicate - with us and with each other - is really quite sophisticated.

    What a treat it must be to see a rooster scratch, shuffle, and growl around a hen trying to discipline her.
  6. Rhonda
    i love our Rooster Arthur Spooner he and I have a love hate relationship, he is a good husband and protector to my girls
      Mark likes this.
    1. Mark
      Arthur Spooner... LOL funny
      Mark, Nov 24, 2015
  7. Joseph Isaac
    Hi Mark, I've seen your blog and its great! Very informative and interesting to read. I would like to suggest though, have you ever thought of doing capon or simply, chicken/ rooster castration?
    1. Mark
      No I've never considered rooster castration but we only keep one rooster anyway and eat the others...
      Mark, Jul 5, 2015
  8. Director
    Thanks Mark. Will keep it in mind for the future. :)
      Mark likes this.
    1. Mark
      Thanks Director! :)
      Mark, Jun 9, 2015
  9. bearded1
    Good article Mark,
    I agree with everything except the bit about the spurs only scratching. We tipped the spurs of our rooster (about 3 mm) with a dog nail clipper because he bailed my mate up one day (he hates my mate for some reason) and kicked his foot which was outstretched. The spur went through the leather on his Blundstone boots and a little way into his foot. Everything else in the article is spot on though and really well written.
    Thanks
    1. Mark
      Thanks B1 :) That's very interesting about your rooster's spurs and I have heard of people trimming their birds so I suppose it must be necessary for some! Maybe this point will generate more discussion with others telling their stories. Cheers for commenting!
      Mark, Jun 8, 2015
    2. Codger
      All good reasons to keep a rooster Mark.
      As well as the obvious necessity for breeding I particularly like the way they keep peace in the flock which is very handy when introducing new pullets to the flock.
      To trim the spurs on mine I catch them at night. One of those head mounted torches is handy here. I then lop off about the last third of the spur with a fine bladed hacksaw. It's all quick and easy to do.
      Codger, Dec 27, 2015
    3. Mark
      Great tip on trimming spurs Codger. I've never trimmed mine but there will probably come a day when I'll have a rooster that needs doing! Cheers :)
      Mark, Dec 27, 2015