Should you have a rooster?
Introducing Admiral! Our 11 week old cockerel. (Cockerel is a name for a rooster that is younger than a year). If you're thinking of introducing a rooster to your backyard flock, you'll find a lot of people - in life and online - telling you not to. Now I totally understand that there are reasons not to. It may be against the law where you live, or maybe your neighbors might just hate you for it and you want keep that relationship civil. I get that.
We made the decision to get our awesome Admiral based on a few things....
1. If you don’t have a rooster, your eggs will not be fertile and will not turn into chicks. They will lay eggs though. So it isn’t necessary To have a roo for eggs. But..... we are trying to be self sustaining on our farm and want to be completely reliant on our own means. So if we do have a rooster, we have have more chickens for meat or egg purposes. And yes... you can eat fertile eggs. You won’t even know the difference. 2. we don’t have too many or two few hens. A rooster needs 10-12 hens to themselves. it is safer for the hens (they can all take turns being the subject of his hormones) and there are not so many that some break away from the flock.
3. Predators. We have had two black bears and a bobcat so far. And we have only been here two months. We have predator proofed our coop but the truth is that we have a ton of predators. Mountain lions, wolves, fox, and the list goes on. So ... It's their job to defend their flock, and instinctively they'll do it even against the most fearsome of predators.
I've heard of them trying to defend the hens from what he perceived as a huge threat. A fearsome green snake...
Actually, it was a hose but that's beside the point! He was still prepared to protect till death. And that’s just it. The hens will relax and enjoy life and not be so on edge.
4. You'll have heard of the pecking order. It's what happens between hens in the same flock. There's a hierarchy of dominance, and those hens who are at the top of the pecking order can become quite brutal with others lower down.
It can go so far as a hen, particularly if she's ill or injured, being attacked mercilessly - sometimes even to death. You wouldn't think it of hens - such peaceable, quiet creatures as they are.But it doesn't always work that way.
Having a male in the flock can help balance that pecking order since, in the male-dominated world of nature, roos are always at the top.
5. They are pretty. I love pretty! The beauty of nature is always astonishing and the colors of a rooster are amazing! Can you see some of his beautiful green tail feathers?
6. They crow. Many people would see this as a problem. Personally, I love it.
Ever noticed that roosters will crow at more or less everything? Morning, evening, when it's sunny, when it rains... And to more or less any stimulus? The sound of a car engine, for example? It's not just a random happening. They crow for reasons. Mostly, it's to make sure other roosters know it's their territory. It's one of the ways they use to protect their hens. Similarly with car engines - they assume it's the sound of either a rival or a predator. Either way, it's time to crow.
So next time you hear an ear-splitting crow, remember: he's letting you know this is his land. As far as he's concerned, no-one else is allowed in - and that may include you.
It may be noisy. It may be a sound that your local officials don't want to hear. It may be a sound your neighbours object to. But for me.... I love that noise!