Are Roosters The Answer To Your Hens Survival?
Categories: On The Farm
If you can legally keep the rooster in your neighborhood or town, there are some good reasons to have one around. You may have heard that a rooster is mean, ornery, and dangerous. These reasons can be true but they are not always the case. I find that roosters are a great addition to any flock. They work hard every day, keeping the hens safe. Let me explain a few more reasons why you would be glad to keep a rooster.
Peacekeeper – The rooster in a flock is in charge. He will assume this role and do what he has to do to maintain his position. Other roosters may be able to be part of the flock, too, as long as they don’t challenge him. In addition, the rooster will keep the hens from squabbling among themselves. In the absence of a rooster, a hen will often take the role of flock leader.
Fertilized Eggs - Some people believe that fertilized eggs are more nutritious than unfertilized eggs. Science hasn’t proven this to be true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get more buyers for your eggs just by advertising that they’re fertilized. If you like to sell your eggs, you’ll soon find that having a rooster in the flock to fertilize the hens will be a boon to your business. Of course, if you’re looking to produce your own chicks, having a rooster to mate with your hens so you’ll get fertilized eggs is a must. Some interested buyers may even have their hens hatch the eggs themselves.
Protection – Roosters are on alert most of the day, watching for predators, alerting the hens, and making sure they take cover. While the hens are dust bathing or eating, the rooster will stand guard and stay alert to possible danger.
Providing – The rooster will search out tasty food bits and call the hens over to enjoy the snack. He makes sure that his hens get started eating first in the morning and then he begins to eat too. In addition, roosters provide the necessary actions for having fertile eggs, in case you want to hatch out eggs in an incubator or let a broody hen set on a clutch of eggs.
Crowing– Now I am sure you are wondering how I can put a positive light on this noisy ear splitting wake up call. First, roosters don’t necessarily start crowing before dawn. Ours will often stay quiet until they hear me in the feed shed, dishing up breakfast. Roosters crow to warn other roosters to stay away. They also crow to celebrate, such as when breakfast arrives, after mating, or to show pecking order. In addition, they will crow to let the hens know the location of the flock, when it’s time to head back to the coop at night and various other reasons. But the best reason for flock security would be the crowing to warn of an approaching visitor.
The Shuffle Dance - If you haven’t seen a rooster do the shuffle dance for a hen, you’re missing out. An endearing move performed by a rooster as a courtship ritual, the shuffle dance involves dropping one wing while taking short little steps in front of the hen in an attempt to get her attention. The hens appear to ignore it, but that doesn’t stop most roosters from putting on a show. Some roosters even do it for their human caretakers, too, when they are excited about food or coming out of the coop for the day. In fact, first thing in the morning is when you are most likely to see the shuffle dance.
Staying Close - Free-ranging flocks are less likely to wander too far from the yard if a rooster is part of the scene. Roosters keep the hens from straying away from home base by herding them back toward well-known ground when they’ve gone too far. This is the rooster’s way of keeping the hens safe from predators that could be lurking in unfamiliar territory.
The Natural Order - The wild red jungle fowl, from which domestic chickens descended, lives in small flocks of hens with a dominant rooster. This living arrangement is genetically programmed into today’s chickens. When you watch a rooster with his flock, you can easily see that nature designed this arrangement for a reason. The ease in which the genders live together, the way the rooster cares for his hens and even the visual balance you notice when you gaze at your flock are all a testament for keeping a rooster around.