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Is A Rooster Required for Your Flock to Have Eggs?

by Southern States
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Have you considered raising backyard chickens for your own supply of fresh eggs or to hatch baby chicks?  Before you establish your flock you need to consider your goals to help you decide whether or not to add a rooster to your flock.

There are certainly pros and cons to having a rooster present on your farm. Just because you have hens doesn’t mean a rooster is necessary. They can be aggressive and a noisy nuisance to neighbors - but they can also play an important and protective role within a flock. If you are considering adding the sound of a rooster’s crow to your farm, start with the following five questions to help you make the right decision.

1. What do you want – the chickens or the eggs?

Hens will produce eggs without a rooster present. So, if you want eggs for eating or selling, but don't want to hatch eggs for baby chicks, then you might not need a rooster in the mix. If you want to add chicks to your flock, having a rooster is needed for fertilization of eggs.

2. Do you have fewer than 10 hens? 

Roosters can be demanding during mating season, and if the rooster to hen ratio isn’t high enough, the ladies may become stressed. Unhappy hens won’t produce eggs - so this is definitely something to consider.

3. Does your neighbor live so close that you can chat from your front porch?

If so, you may need to consider homeowner’s association rules and other local ordinances. Roosters aren’t the best neighbors as they can be noisy and aggressive towards small children.

4. Do you have free-range hens?

Because of their protective nature, roosters watch over their flocks closely. They vigilantly keep an eye out and sound the alarm when there is danger. Additionally, they help to find food and your macho rooster will alert "his" hens to eat before he starts pecking.

5. Are your hens prone to fighting?

Within each flock, there is a pecking order that exists amongst the hens. A rooster will help maintain that order by breaking up fights in the hen house.

Do you have a rooster in your flock? What lessons have you learned from raising flock with and without roosters?

Want to learn more about poultry care? Check out our Poultry Care video series, article library and Poultry Pal Pro mobile app to help you keep track of your flock.

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