Choose the Right Rooster


little roo

There are many benefits to having a rooster in your backyard flock. The rooster will keep the girls in order, alert them to predators, and often give his life to protect the flock. And if you want to hatch your own chicks for a truly self-sustaining flock, you will naturally need at least one roo. 

The problem around here - and in many other backyard flocks - is that we always end up with too many roosters. We hatch chicks every year, and around half are male. This year we had about 60% male chicks. We don't slaughter our birds, but when we give our cockerels (young roosters) away, we are aware that some of them may end up in the stew pot.

Considerations before You Add a Rooster

It's hard to be totally pragmatic and just weed out as many birds as possible when you have raised them from an egg. Plus, cockerels are fun and often so handsome it's hard to part with them. It can be tempting to keep a "backup" rooster or two in case something happens to your alpha roo. Keep in mind the following, though:

1. If you have more than one rooster, they might fight. It doesn't always happen. Often, birds that grow up together establish a relatively peaceful hierarchy — but in other cases, feathers will fly. We currently have two roosters, and one drew the other away from the coop so that the second roo sleeps in a tree.

2. With two roosters, you will have more than twice as much crowing. They will compete: one will crow and the other will answer. Then over and over. This might be a problem depending on whether you (or your neighbors) are light sleepers. We had to get rid of our "backup roo" for that reason before and eliminated not 50%, but more like 75% of the noise.

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