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Should I Have A Rooster? Do I Need One?


The next question after asking "Should I raise chickens?" is usually "Do I need a rooster?" There is no right or wrong answer, just pros and cons that should be considered. Technically you don't need a rooster to get eggs, but you may want one. The poultry experts at Southern States can offer some insight into the benefits and potential challenges to having a rooster live amongst your flock.

Within the flock, a rooster assumes several different roles and responsibilities. He, of course, provides fertilization services to the hens. As a defender, he guards and protects against possible danger. As a provider, he hunts for food and alerts the other chickens when he has discovered something. Are you considering a rooster? Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not want to invest in your own rooster.

You don't need a rooster to get eggs; hens produce eggs no matter if there is a rooster or not. If you want eggs for eating or selling, but don't want to hatch eggs, there isn't any reason to have a rooster. Some farmers actually prefer an all-female flock. Take into consideration the size of your flock. If you have fewer than ten hens, you should not have a rooster. The rooster may become too aggressive with the hens when mating. When hens become stressed or agitated, it can have an impact on egg production. The ideal ratio in the chicken house is one rooster per twelve hens.

In many cases, people choose a rooster-less flock in order to avoid the noisy crowing sounds and aggressive behavior. While the role of protector is a noble trait, some roosters let it go to their heads. Hostile roosters have been known to injure adults and children by jumping or pecking at them. Because of this, you may discover that roosters are not allowed in certain areas because of homeowners' association covenants or municipal regulations. Be sure to check the local ordinances in your area regarding restrictions on flock size and the keeping of roosters.

With all that said, there are some good reasons to have a rooster. Within each flock, there is a social order, or pecking order, that exists amongst the hens. A rooster will help maintain order by breaking up fights in the hen house. A good rooster will regularly mate with the hens ensuring a constant supply of fertile eggs. Initially, many people buy chicks just for eggs, but at a later date decide they want to hatch their own. You definitely need a rooster to accomplish this.

Always protecting his hens, a rooster will watch his surroundings looking for potential predators and then sound a warning when he senses danger. If you keep your hens contained you may not think you need a rooster, but if you have free range hens, a rooster can offer protection for your flock in addition to finding food. Many farmers and families like to watch the interaction between the rooster and the hens. Each has his own personality and can be quite entertaining.

The experts at your local Southern States can answer questions about roosters and offer additional farm and garden information. From knowing what to expect as a first-time chicken owner to discovering the best poultry products, we have the information and the tools to help you get the job done.

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