5 Reasons to Keep A Rooster In Your Flock.

Enigma (Mottled Cochin Rooster watching over the girls as they dig for delectables in the freshly spread hay.

Roosters are amazing creatures, however, they unfortunately fall prey to a negative stereotype. In reality roosters are not as aggressive as many think. The rooster of yesteryear that haunt the dreams of those who have had negative encounters with them are often played by the game cock or other game birds. Yes, those breeds can be high strung and aggressive. However, due to the variety of breeds available the majority of rooster today are very docile and calm. Gone are the days of your grandparents flock which contained the rooster that starred in your childhood nightmares. Many people today keep chickens for fun and eggs and are hobby enthusiasts. Thus, the breeds available today are suited to these purposes. That being said, below I will detail my argument for why keeping a rooster or two is an asset for a backyard flock.

Enigma (Mottled Cochin Rooster) and The Kuntry Klucker Crew
  1. Protector of the Flock:

Roosters are often unfairly stigmatized as being fearsome, blood thirsty, mean and nasty aggressive birds. While they do have a job to do and take it very seriously, they really are amazing and gentile creatures. When out free ranging, a rooster will keep watch for any dangers that could impact the flock and sound the alarm when needed. If there is more than one rooster in the flock, they will take turns keeping an eye to the sky, each taking up part of the watch as the rest of the flock scour the grass for any available bugs, worms, or greens to dine on. If a threat appears one or several of the roosters will sound the alarm, alerting the hens to the impending danger, and if needed sacrificing himself for the safety of his girls. I have witnessed this first hand with my first rooster, a Buff Orpington named Roy.

One afternoon while out in the backyard he sounded the alarm. I heard his cry from the house, rushed out to the backyard in time to see a large hawk fly away. Standing alone in the center of the yard, he was prepared to sacrifice himself for the safety of the girls. All the girls were safe under a large tree, Roy on the other hand was injured. Had I not heard his cry and come to his rescue, it pains me to think what would have happened to him. Luckily he recovered from the hawk inflicted injuries and lived for several more years as a decorated war hero. It was on this day that I learned the true value of a rooster. You can read his story here.

2. Tend to nutritional needs of the hens:

Silkie Roosters: Devros and Micky Smith, watching over their hens as they eat the bugs that they found for the girls.

In addition to protectors of the flock, a rooster will hunt for his girls. He will actively look for food, things such as a big bug, juicy worm, or vegetation for them to eat. Once he finds something of value, he will call the girls over to eat it. He will stand watch as the girls eat what he found. He will only eat what is left, he is self sacrificing looking out for the nutrition of his hens. It is as if by evolutionary design that he knows the girls need the extra nutrition for the procreation of the flock (laying eggs). If not much turns up on his hunt he will lead the girls to the feeder in the coop when he feels that it is time for them to eat. Again, he will eat after the girls have had their fill, looking out for their interest first.

3. Breaking up any squabbles in the ranks:

White Crested Polish Rooster, Lestat leading his girls to the backyard shed for some scratch before roosting time.

Chickens are very highly socially organized creatures, contrary to what many people think. A flock of chickens are organized into a hierarchy, each member knowing his or her place. The term “pecking order” is derived form this complex social system and for good reason. At the top of the pecking order is typically the alpha rooster, under him will be the subjugated roosters in the flock. The roosters determine who is the alpha by competing for this position.

Following the roosters will be the alpha hen, this is the hen that has earned her right to be at the top of the order directly under the roosters. The alpha hen is usually a little bossy in regards to the other hens in the flock. As for the rest of the members, position is established by literally “pecking” another hen on the the back indicating the the “pecker” is above the “peckie”. This behavior flows from the alpha hen all the way to the bottom of the order. Each chicken pecking someone else on the back indicating their position in the order.

Once the order is established all activities within the flock revolve around the order. Simple activities such as the order in which the flock exits the coop in the morning and the order in which they return. As long as all individuals stick to the order as originally established, all is peaceful in the flock. However, at times one or more members will challenge or act out of turn as dictated by position.

In cases such as these a battle or competition generally ensues. It is in times such as these that a rooster will step in, inspect and cease any unrest amongst the hens. Not only are fights disruptive to flock dynamics but injuries can be sustained. It is the job of the rooster to see to it that peace is instilled within the ranks. A rooster will also act as a protector of any members that are unfairly picked on. If there is a hen that is smaller than the rest or at the bottom of the pecking order, he will see to it that she is not picked on insensately.

4. Procreation of the flock:

White Crested Polish Bantam Roosters: Caster and Pollux leading their girls to a shade tree in the corner of the yard for a mid afternoon nap.

In addition to protection, finding food, and keeping order in the ranks, a rooster will service the flock through the act of mating. A rooster will mate with the hens in order to pass on his genes to the subsequent generations of chicks.

There is a common misconception that hens will not lay eggs unless a rooster is present in the flock, this is obviously false. A hen will lay eggs regardless if a rooster is present or not. The eggs laid in the absence of a rooster will of course not be fertile, but there will be eggs nonetheless.

If you want to propagate your flock, a rooster in this case is a must. However, if you cannot have a rooster due to city ordinances or other zoning restrictions you will still receive farm fresh eggs from your hens without any issues.

Dracula and Frankenstien (Easter Egger Roosters) keeping an eye on their girls as they search for bugs in the dewy grass.

If there is more than one rooster in the flock, the boys will divide the hens amongst them. When free ranging they will then divide the roaming area into jurisdictions. Each rooster will know the boundary lines and which hens belong on which rooster team. It is possible to keep more than one rooster in a flock large enough to sustain multiple roosters. To learn how I keep more that I rooster in my flock click here.

Roosters will have “favorite” hens, these are hens that he prefers to mate with the most. Different attributes make a particular hen a favorite. Hens that are easily submissive to his approaches, hens that the rooster deems as most fertile, or hens that are larger and lay larger eggs will most likely make the favorites list. These hens run the risk of sustaining the most injuries during mating. For these reasons it is the owners responsibility to provide provisions to make this process easier on the hens. For example, an easy protective measure to incorporate in a flock is that of a hen saddle.

Miss Sweet Pea (Buff Orpington Hen) wearing a hens saddle to protect her wing and back feathers from the trending of the rooster. In addition to providing needed protection hen saddles can serve as easy identification of the hens in a flock. Each has its own pattern or color allowing hens to stand out amongst each other.
The Kuntry Klucker Crew sporting the latest in Hen Fashions.

Hen Saddles provide protection from the trending of the rooster during mating. In addition to keeping your roosters nails trimmed, hen saddles help protect the wing and back feathers of hens that are mated often. They are vey easy to make and require nothing more than thick fabric, a little elastic and basic sewing skills (needle and thread) a sewing machine is not required. Although simple in design they provide much needed protection to your hens. In addition to the practicality they can also serve as an easy form of identification. If you use different colors of fabric, hen saddles allow hens to stand out amongst each other.

Another method to protect against over mating is to separate a rooster from the hens for a period of time. During the molting period and particularly when the ladies are having a dreadfully tough molt, I will separate the roosters from the flock for a period of time. This allows the hens who are missing more feathers than usual to recover from the molt easier. By restricting the mating process till after their new feathers have grown in reduces further injury to the hens. While spending a little time away from the hens I will check the boys into a bachelor pen. To see how I incorporate bachelor pens in my flock click here.

5. Singing the song of his people.

Lestat (White Crested Polish Rooster) greeting the morning.

There is just something about a rooster’s crow in the early morning hours that has an indescrible purity to it. In the busy rat-race-pace of our lives, we are often not still enough to appreciate the purity and stillness of a quiet morning interrupted by the crow of a rooster. Breaking the silence, the crow of a rooster is a sound of a by gone era. A sound from our past when the crow of a rooster was a part of the audio landscape. A time when farming was not just a hobby but a way of life and your animals were how you survived. The crow of a rooster symbolized the arrival of a new day, the start of another work day. A time when working the land and plowing the fields was how our ancestors survived. Its a sound from the past, a past that has been lost to the progression of time.

Dracula (Easter Egger Rooster)

In the stillness of the early morning hours, I like to sit on the back porch, my morning coffee in hand, and listen to my boys sing the song of their people. It’s a song of the ancients, a song that traces back to a time when their great ancestors roamed the earth. It’s a song that not only reminds us of their past but our past as well. A song that fills the air declaring a new day has begun. It’s a song that in our day and time rings with a purity that money cannot buy but few will hear. It’s a song that reminds us of a simpler time, bringing to mind that there is much value in simplicity. In our day and time, its a lesson that we all need.

Caster and Pollux (White Crested Polish Bantam Roosters) Watching over their girls as they peck at the freshly thawed ground.

A rooster is selfless, often sacrificing himself to save his friends. A fearless warrior with a big heart. A natural born singer of the ancient songs. A dancer, a true gentleman. The most beautiful and unwanted of all the creatures.

Roy (Buff Orpington Rooster) inspecting the new addition to the backyard. Frosty the Snowman.

Roosters are amazing creatures and worthy of our admiration and respect.

Roy the Rooster

I hope that this post was useful in determining if keeping a rooster is right for you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can. As always, thanks for reading. Till next time, keep on crowing!!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

2 comments

  1. Breshannon Devereaux · December 8

    I had NO IDEA that roosters did ALL THAT! i am SO impressed! Not only because of the protective aspect, but NUTRITION? I couldn’t pick my jaw up off of the ground. WHO knew they had these capabilities? I always knew chickens were special. Once, long ago, I had a baby sitter with a pet chicken (hen), named Bubbles. Through this wonderful fowl, I learned just how intelligent and special they could be. Bubbles was even HOUSE TRAINED! Yes. She would lightly peck your toe when she needed to go outside! The sliding glass door would be opened for her, she’d run out, do her business and return. At night, she’d roost with her owner. Choosing to snuggle in at the top of her head at bedtime, putting her to sleep with a ‘purr’ only chicken owners know intimately. I was blessed with this, snuggle and purr one night, as an overnight guest. Acceptance by a chicken is a gift in and of itself! After this experience, I was hooked on chickens! As I got older, I got into 4H. I loved going to the county and state fairs, checking out the beautiful animals other 4Her’s had raised. Some of the chickens I saw were incredible. There are SO many beauties out there. My personal favorite are the 100% black ones! All the way, through the BONE BLACK. That chicken, in particular just fascinates me! I would love to know how that breed was created and why(?). So sorry for such a long comment. I’ve become hooked on your blog. EXCELLENT content! I’ll be referring my readers to you for information on chickens and homesteading. I am in the process of creating my own blog. It will focus on women’s prepping and self-sufficiency. Consider me a new follower and subscriber!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Noelle K. Moser · December 8

      Hi, thank you so much for your comment! Chickens are amazing creatures, many people do not see them in this way, this is one reason for my blog; to bring awareness to the many things chickens can do in addition to providing us farm fresh eggs.

      Your story of Bubbles is so heart warming. I have a few friends who have a house chicken or two. They originally came inside for treatment or due to an injury that needed special attention and just made themselves at home. It is true that chickens can purr like a cat and make a whole range of vocalizations that many would not relate to chickens.

      As you can tell I have a special passion for roosters. They are often unfairly stigmatized as blood thirsty, mean and aggressive birds. Now, while they do have a job to do and take it seriously many of the breeds today are very docile and friendly. My kids will often pick up one of our boys hold him and pet him like one would a puppy. They are amazing creatures that I admire greatly.

      Your blog content sounds so interesting. I love anything that empowers women and builds them up. Their is so much negativity in the world today and blog like yours will be a positive and inspiring place to feel uplifted. I wish you much luck, I look forward to reading it once you get it started. I love to read other people’s blogs and take in the things they are passionate about.

      Sorry for the long winded response, but you had so many good points in your comment that I wanted to reply to. I am glad that you find my blog interesting, thank you so much for reading.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s