Adding a rooster to your flock doesn’t have to be a controversial choice. Here are some things to consider.
We have always kept a rooster with our flock of chickens simply because we live in a rural area and are susceptible to critters. Opossums, dogs, stray cats, hawks – the list goes on and on. But not all homesteaders like the idea of keeping a rooster with their flock. If you’re on the fence, consider the following tips before adding one to your coop.
There are a variety of ways to predator-proof your coop. Underground wire, raised hen house, cover your run. But a rooster provides “in house” protection. If you’re susceptible to predators and trying to keep a coop on a budget, a rooster only puts you out feed. If you’re able to spend a little more on extra security measures without the potential hassle of a chicken with attitude, pass on a rooster for now.
Growing your own flock
You lay a self-sufficient foundation when you keep a rooster – literally. A chicken’s reproductive system is fascinating. Without going in to too much detail, a chicken’s eggs are almost always fertile when you have a rooster. The means to grow your flock are there. Keep growth in mind when considering what kinds of animals to keep on your homestead.
On a microhomestead, a rooster can violate city noise ordinances
A pro to having a rooster is that they alert you to danger; a con is that their alert is sometimes very, very loud. In some cities, noise restrictions on animals are written in to city code. So prior to getting a rooster, be sure to check your city code.
Temperament of the chicken
One of the sole reasons we hear for people not keeping a rooster is that they are notoriously mean. And rightly so – you want something that will protect the rest of your flock. But mean roosters can also bully your flock.
Temperament of the bird is largely connected to what breed of chicken you decide to raise. In our experience, ISA Browns are curious; Buff Orpingtons are kind and nonconfrontational; Barred Rocks are mean. We will never keep Barred Rock chickens again because I need a kind, nonconfrontational bird around my children.
We lucked out with our rooster, Chip. We hatched chicks, had 6 male birds, and had time to get to know each one. Chip had the kindest demeanor, but would still defend our flock. Our girls come when he calls and he’s a great protector. If you’re ever able, just spend time with your birds. You’ll know quickly which roosters to cull.
Roosters damage property, and sometimes hurt other birds
A chicken’s reproductive process requires a rooster to mount its hen. Claws of a rooster alone can do a number on the backs of your hens, not to mention the weight of your rooster itself. You can protect your flock with something like a chicken saddle from Amazon, but it may not be enough to protect against wounds. (TIP: Consider adding something like a pecking spray to your animal are arsenal.)
Not to mention chickens in general are notorious for destroying grass. We have had chickens known for trying to literally claw their way out of coops. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Consider what property you’d like to keep clean, then keep your chickens away from it.