Why Roosters?

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I am curious as to why so many people keep a rooster and sometimes several roosters with their hens that they are using for egg production? I have seen this mentioned in post here on this fourm and also in many letters and articles in Countryside. It has been my expirence that having a rooster around your egg laying hens can actualy lower egg production. If ones intention is to produce some fertile eggs for replacing ageing hens wouldn't it be better to place 3 or 4 of your finer hens with a young rooster (12 - 16 months old) in a seperate pen during the peak breeding times to produce your fertile eggs? Once the hot weather arrives you can put the rooster in your stewing pot and put the hens back in reguler egg production. Maybe I have missed something along the way and their may be a reason for that folks do this. I would love to hear people's ideas about my thoughts. I am always willing to learn and try new ideas. THANKS!

-- Mark D. Williams (deadgoatman@webtv.net), March 22, 2000


I don't know the answer you seek, but I am reminded of a story.

A couple of spinster school teachers retired and decided that there would be an economic advantage of rooming together. Soon they decided that they would get a few hens to watch scratch in the dirt, etc. At the farm store they were told 25 would be a nice number of hens, and that one rooster would be adequate. A couple of days later the teachers were back in the farm store asking to buy 24 more roosters. The manager told them that they were not needed, to which they replied; "they may not be needed, but we got to thinking about all of those school dances where there was a shortage of men for us to dance with, and we decided that every hen should have her own rooster."

-- greenbeanman (greenbeanman@ourtownusa.net), March 22, 2000.

I have an incubator that I could hatch out some eggs if I chose to. Last fall we had 3 roosters for 16 hens and I got tired of all the cock fights and chasing of the hens around. So - we now only have 1 rooster. The barn yard is ALOT quieter and the hens are much more satisfied. As far as hatching out eggs, I think I'll let the hens do that job. The rooster does keep watch while the hens range free. Sure I don't have enough for that job but that's ok for now. If one of the hens starts making a fuss on the other side of the yard, he goes a runn'n to check it out. I couldn't stand the abuse the hens were taking from having too many roosters, so we CUT back.

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), March 22, 2000.

Some of the people we sell eggs to prefer to have fertilized eggs, they believe that it is healthier. I don't know! I just think that roosters are fun to have around and some are very beautiful! We don't keep them all, but each of us have our favorites. We get plenty of eggs and some chicks, well, I guess we just aren't too scientific about it all. We enjoy them!

-- Jean (schiszik@tbcnet.com), March 22, 2000.

I have to agree with the above .My roosters are so protective of there hens and us too!I some how got a couple of game birds ,the roosters are nasty!!!! My aracuana roosters beat the crap out of the game birds if they even think of coming near us.My roosters are also beatiful to watch .And they watch the hens, all one has to do is make the least little noise and he's there .

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 23, 2000.

I agree with the above answers. Our roosters are the last in every night and they chases in any late hens. They do offer a good deal of protection, we can incubate eggs and usually let one or two of our hens set. Finally, we love watching the rooster antics, enjoy their crowing and find them beautiful. If I was trying to raise chickens in a city I'd certinly opt not to have one (we did have 5 hens when we lived in Miami with good egg production and no complaints from neighbors). Out here on our homestead, they just seem to fit in! Kim

-- kim (fleece@eritter.net), March 23, 2000.

We keep a rooster to protect the hens, as many indicated above. However, I must add that I really like the sound of the crowing! Especially on an early sunny summer morning. Our rooster is a mean nasty thing and he and I don't get along, but even if I get rid of him, I will replace him with one a little more mellow, and a little smaller!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 23, 2000.

Our flock is our first batch of chickens and when this guy figured out he was the last of the roosters (we'd butchered the others), his whole demeanor changed. He had never been nasty and it wouldn't serve him well if he were as it's a short trip to the chopping block. He knew he was to be the "cock of the walk" and by golly, he does "rule the roost" but with a gentle manner. He leads the hens out and brings them in and they know he's on alert. I was dumbfounded when I finally realized that when I took wet mash to them, he stood back while the hens ate. He seldom had so much as a taste of any delicacies I gave them in deference to the hens. One thing for sure: I learned that "randy as a billy goat" doesn't hold a candle to the prowess of a healthy rooster! Forgive the use of quotations as I'm fascinated with the origins of such expressions. We just bought a 50 year old manure spreader and I figured out the correlation between the spreader's operation and trouble "hitting the fan" really quickly. Have a good one.

-- Marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), March 23, 2000.

Hey, Marilyn, thanks for the good laugh as I thought about your last statement! Now, I'm really going out on a limb here and you'll probably think I'm certifiable but... do any of your roosters "say" anything? One of ours, a brown leghorn, says "coo-koo for cocoa puffs" (remember the cereal commercial?) My husband thought I was nuts - until he heard it for himself! The kids hear some of the others say other things too. What do you all think???

-- Jean (schiszik@tbcnet.com), March 23, 2000.

Mark, I guess economy in production isn't on the top of my priority list. It probably should be but we are here to enjoy the country life that we finally achieved. The roosters are just BEAUTIFUL and as long as they behave themselves they are spared the pot. I too have noticed that they will find some special tidbit and cluck until the hens come running, then step back as their hens eat. Roosters also have special "friends". We had two roosters that always hung out together and when a coyote got one, the other was a little lost for a while. OTOH a nasty rooster is soup, fast! (My favorite is a big buff brahma- gold and black, who always runs to see what goodies I might have.)

-- Peg (jnjohnsn@pressenter.com), March 23, 2000.

We had 8 hens and one little bantem rooster. I agree with everything said about roosters protecting the hens and being gentlemanly towards them. But he was MEAN to anything on 2 legs. The kids and I were afraid to go outside for fear of being attacked. Enough of that! We got rid of him, we don't have to carry a stick every time we go outside, and the hens don't seem to miss him one bit. I do miss his crow though. Are some breeds nicer?

-- Melissa (bizemom@netzero.net), March 23, 2000.

I've got way too many roosters for the size of my flock. But, they pay their way. I agree with many of the above posts. The hens are more contented I think. I did have some problems with too many game banny roosters, they were riding my big hens ragged. So, we had a rooster party.

Gentlest roosters? Brahmas for large roosters. My Silky and Mille Fleur roosters are extremely laid back. I've never seen them fighting. And they seem to fall below the big tough roosters' radar. I've got some of the 'wicked fighting' breeds, and they've never shown any agression toward me. They were raised with my dogs and they both 'get along'.

-- phil briggs (phillipbriggs@thenett.com), March 23, 2000.


My rooster is a Brahma. He is utterly aggressive and it's just my sheer preoccupation (or laziness) that has kept him alive this long. I think I'll go back to Banty roosters!.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 24, 2000.

We kept all of our roosters from last years flock till two weeks ago. At that time the free Rangers (3) decided to dig up my wife's tulips--at which point she pronounced the death sentence on them. I enjoyed the crowing and here in snake country they were an asset but they are freezer stuffers now. We kept one and he is the chicken tractor with the hens. The moral of this story is--you can eat feed and flog children around here for free but if you mess with the flowers it's off with your head !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 24, 2000.

I think the key to a gentler rooster is to raise a litter in the house with lots of attention,and continue when they go out .I hate little roosters the are nasty! My Aracauna's are very nice , but they were raised with lots of attention .Anything that is mean gets eaten! Its not worth the chance of the kids getting hurt. There have been cases of rooster getting children in the face with there spures , even worse there eyes .I cant recommend it enough KILL anything with the least bit of aggression .

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 24, 2000.

sheepish: I've had Brahmas for years; they're my favorite chickens. In northern WI I need birds that are big, heavily feathered, small combs, and the feathered feet are wonderful. I have never had a mean Brahma. SOUP yours and try another rooster if you think you might still like the breed. There could always be a bad one in any bunch- just like people. The banties I have had though were all flighty and mean; don't have them anymore!

-- Peg (jnjohnsn@pressenter.com), March 24, 2000.


We don't have kids or grandkids, so it's just us and that guy. He'll probably not be around too much longer. My husband just got out of the hospital and isn't quite up to the task for a few days but when he is, he will rectify the situation. We have just been busier with other things that HAD to get done before this surgery.

We may just give the hens a rest for a while until we can find a nice new buddy for them.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 24, 2000.

Sheepish , hope everything is going well with recoop "ha ha" time.

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 24, 2000.

We have a rooster for my husband. I think that is also why the Boer goats took off so well, men like things that are big. Big trucks, big goats, and big roosters, our guy is an unknown breed and he is big and beautiful, and does a good job of keeping the girls in tow. But he is also mean, and I wouldn't have one. I make concessions, and this rooster is a concession to all of the goats I have. The rooster steers pretty clear of me, I think he knows better. My hens are Buff Orpingtons, R.I. Reds, Black Astrolop (I know I know that is spelled wrong) and a lone Dominique. The Buffs are excellent layers, setters and mothers. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), March 24, 2000.

Patty, LOL!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 24, 2000.

I had to answer a part two to your question. Husband was working out at his shop and his rooster proceeded to spur him, rooster is now headless. So my buffs, will be good layers, and setters but not mothers!! Life on the farm. Vicki (roosterless)

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), March 25, 2000.

I guess I must jump in! We have some roosters for 2 reasons. 1. We sell "Free Range Fertile Eggs from the Happy Hens of Cackleberry Farm". 2. We do raise some of our own chicks, so use some of the fertile eggs for propogation. It is true that a rooster is excess baggage for egg production, but they do generally tend to protect their "ladies". The fox got the Black Austrolorps rooster a couple of weeks ago, and he died protecting the girls. I also think they are quite handsome, and we are enough in the country that we can enjoy the crowing without some yuppie neighbor complaining (as if that would do any good!). Aggressiveness. We had a rooster (Black Austrolorp) that we called "Darth Vader". That sucker attacked people without reservation. He attacked a neighbor on his tractor, a friend INSIDE her car (the window was open) and finally me! He was tasty if not tender. We now have 5 roosters (I know that's too many) for about 30 hens. They all get along very well. Just like people, they all have individual temperaments. I keep more than are necessary because I just like to watch them and enjoy them. Hey, if it ain't fun, we should do something else, like run for office! Come to think of it, maybe I'll get a few more roosters! Good luck!


-- Brad (homefixer@mix-net.net), March 26, 2000.

Mark, Well, I have to contribute my two cents worth. Way back when,one of those mags TMEN,Organic Gardening, Countryside, can't remember, said the fertile eggs were healthier, lower cholestrol,etc. The hens really like a rooster, but too many cause havoc in the henhouse. Okay the secret of mean roosters is making them pets. IN a roosters little brain, it makes you an enemy. Don't ask me how they come to that conclusion. It has to do with chicken psychology. But as you have read the only treatment for such behavior is the axe! My favorite banty rooster is the Cochin, they stay sweet even if they are pets. The BIG rooster is the Australorp, mine died saving his beloved hens from a possum, but you can not make them pets, you have to be the head rooster[even if you are really a hen]. I love this forum. So inconclusion, a rooster isn't economically feasible but healthwise for you and your hens, they are important. Besides, like everone else I like having them around. Have a great spring. karen

-- Karen Mauk (dairygoamama@hotmail.com), March 27, 2000.

We used to keep our roosters with out hens, but since now sell some of our eggs we like to separate them. Some don't like blood spots in the eggs. One of our roosters escaped and now is the only one left. 'Rambler' roams about the barn, living in the big barn in Winter and spending the day on top of the coop talkin' to the girls in the Summer. If you're not into hatching eggs, I would keep them separate if you have the space!

-- AbigailF. (treeoflife@sws.nb.ca), March 27, 2000.

Abigail, I have roosters with my hen and don't have blood spots. Does anyone know why? Does it have to do with how long or warm they are before they hit the fridge? Thanks

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), March 27, 2000.

I have known people who thought a "blood spot" was the mark of a fertile egg. This is absolutely untrue! All of our eggs are fertile, on purpose, for the niche market that is willing to pay a bunch (I'll tell you later!) for free range fertile eggs. Occasionally we get a blood spot, but it is a rather rare occurrence. I do not know the cause, but it's definately not an indication of a fertile egg. (Maybe "rough sex"? But let's not get TOO intimate here!) Anybody out there know the real answer? Good Luck!


-- Brad (homefixer@mix-net.net), March 27, 2000.

Why roosters? Provides a great opening for the facts of life discussion. Your kids, grandkids, neices, nephews, neighbor kids and all other kids will leave your farm KNOWING some REAL facts of life. 2 little girls at our house a week ago-why is that chicken on top of that other chicken? The mom quickly hushed them and said they were playing tag- see how that one ran off. (gag) P.S. My 6 year old daughter set them straight-no they aren't playing tag.......they are breeding. We've whopped Mr. Cock of the Walk with a bucket along side the head for several spring seasons-this year he seems to remember-he's not even tilted his head at us. Several years ago, we got some freebie chickens-puff top polands (?) Wow, they about killed all of our broody/setting hens.......We'd have gotten no chicks had we not gotten rid of those roosters. Our big rooster is White laced Wynadott, the in training rooster is a R.I Red. Kathy G.

-- Kathy Giddings (ckgidd@netins.net), March 27, 2000.

I don't know why your's wouldn't. We just found that our customers prefered eggs without the blood spots and when we separated our rooster and hens it stopped.<:) Abigail

-- AbigailF. (treeoflife@sws.nb.ca), March 29, 2000.

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