Nothing says "countryside" quite like the quintessential crow of a rooster in the early morning. These barnyard creatures are beautiful with their shiny and iridescent feathers and their confident strut, and can often be quite chivalrous with your flock of endearing hens. Though you do not need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs, they are necessary if you would like fertile eggs for hatching. And if you're interested in keeping a private guard for your ladies, these guys can also do a bang-up job. But not all males are created equal, so while some are kind and gentle in their protection; others might lean toward aggression and dominance. You'll never be guaranteed a gentle rooster or a protective rooster when selecting your rooster by breed, so here are eight factors to consider when deciding if a roo is right for you.
4 Upsides to Keeping Roosters
When a rooster happens upon a tasty morsel, whether it be the kitchen scraps thrown to the yard or something he has found while foraging, he will alert his flock with a quick, repetitive call. Occasionally he might even pick up the food and offer it to a nearby hen. This behavior, known as tid-bitting, is a manifestation of the rooster's natural protective instinct to put his hen's welfare before his own. Good roosters often eat last, making sure his hens are well-fed.
2. Protection from Predators
Roosters stay alert to the sky and their surroundings for signs of predators while the rest of the flock forages or dust bathes. They alert the flock with a call when they sense a threat, and they are the first to confront it to save the flock. When the end of the day draws near, a rooster will herd the hens back towards the coop before dusk, staying on the perimeter to buffer an attack, and being the last to safely enter the coop. Rooster owner, Matthew of Virginia posted the following testimony to his rooster's usefulness on the forums at BackyardChickens.com:
Without my roo I would be out several hens even with two border collies and two guard geese roaming. When a hawk swoops I hear him give his warning and the hens scatter. The geese and the dogs don't look up! I haven't lost any chickens to a hawk and I think it has a lot to do with the rooster.