Deciding to keep a rooster in your flock can be a tough decision! But if you’re planning on raising a dual purpose flock they are a must! (Unfortunately there’s no immaculate conception with chickens!)
**Debating on a dual purpose flock? You can learn more about how we raise them here.
But you may not being raising your chickens for meat and eggs like us, so there are a lot of things to consider when deciding to keep a rooster in your flock.
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We have always had at least one rooster in the flock and I think about the pros and cons quite a bit! So let’s take a look at it that way. Pros and cons.
So, do you like good news or bad news first?? Let’s start with the good news!
What are the pros when you keep a rooster in your flock?
Having a rooster does not mean that you’re doomed to look over your shoulder every time you walk out your door. Not all roosters are determined to terrify and attack!
We’ve had a lot of roosters over the years, at the very least 20. (Raising your own chickens from eggs, you unfortunately are not guaranteed all hens.) And I can safely say that we’ve only ever had one that seemed to be out to get us.
Now, I’m sure our luck will run out soon enough, but I’m like the odds of 20:1.
Roosters have jobs, and they’re good at them! And giving them a job takes a job away from you! (Who doesn’t like less work??)
Job number one is to fertilize your eggs! You can’t hatch chicks if your eggs aren’t fertile. And if you don’t have fertile eggs, that means you have the buy them!
(Have a broody hen? Check out what it’s like letting a broody hen brood!)
Job number two is to protect your flock! You can’t imagine how much time this saves you and how great they are at doing their job.
Living in a rural area we have a lot of predators. So, when we first got our chickens we were a bit obsessive about watching over them.
But, after watching how well our rooster did alerting the flock of danger, we realized he was better than we were! He noticed things that we never would have noticed and through different sounds he was able to warn them and everyone ran for cover.
They add a new channel to your chicken TV. Yep, chicken TV.
When you get chickens you’ll realize that you could just spend hours watching them! They have amazing personalities and your rooster will add a new dimension to your entertainment.
So there are a few pros for you, and they are worth it for us. But, will the cons change your mind?
What are the cons when you keep a rooster in your flock?
As I mentioned before, you might not be doomed to a crazy, battle prone rooster. But, you might be…
Our first rooster was nuts. He and I seemed to have an agreement, but every time my husband walked by there ended up being a 5 to 10 minute battle between the two of them.
And Lord forbid one of the dogs turn their back! Poor Layla would run off and hide, and Maggie would grab him by the leg and throw him around with me screaming at the two of them and trying to break them apart!
I can hear the neighbors comments in my head, right now! Needless to say we said goodbye to him when he went after a child. (Check out how to butcher bad roosters here.)
Their crow is LOUD! And it’s not just in the morning. They crow all day long!
And if you make the mistake of letting them out at 7, because you’ve been up since 5 so everyone should be up (shouldn’t they??), and your neighbor has their window open I promise you’ll hear about it.
Watching them mate isn’t so bad when they’ve grown up a bit and have developed their swagger. But young roosters have none and they will make you want to cry for your hens!
Now imagine having four or five of them all come of age at the same time and decide they each have a crush on the same girl!
This is when you know it’s time for freezer camp. And I promise even vegetarians have no problem saying goodbye, just ask my friend Kara!
After frequent mating, your hens may develop bald patches on their backs. I promise they’re not sick!
It will grow back and you can help protect them with a chicken saddle!