Should You Have a Rooster In Your Backyard Flock? Pros And Cons

Should you have a rooster in your flock?

Once you decide on the type and the amount of chickens you’ll have, you’ll probably wonder if you should also get a rooster. Maybe you got a male chick by mistake and are wondering how good or bad would he be for your flock. The short answer? It depends. Having a rooster has its pros and cons, however more people are deciding that a rooster would be a great addition to their flock. Want to know why?

A guide and protector

A good rooster will automatically become the shepherd of your flock. He’ll break up fights between chickens, keeping them safe. He will supervise the area, alerting chickens when there’s food and guiding them around. One of the main benefits of roosters besides egg fertilization is how tirelessly they’ll protect their flock, which is specially valuable if you have free range chickens. They’ll warn their flock when sensing danger and defend them relentlessly against predators from the ground and from the air.

More free chickens

The main reason why people decide to get a rooster is for their reproductive capabilities. He’ll mate with most or all of your chickens. But what about the fertilized eggs? Can you still eat those? Well yes you can! You can eat them just as you eat the unfertilized ones. Having a rooster doesn’t mean losing your access to fresh eggs!

Growing your flock is particularly easy with great mothers like Silkies or Wyandottes, which are also great for eggs.

Beautiful sight and sounds

Watching your flock being guided by a rooster can be quite entertaining. Like hens, they all have their own personalities and quirks. It’s fun to see them guide the chickens around and find food for them. Plus, their bright and beautiful feathers will quickly make them one of your most beautiful chickens in your flock. And if you enjoy the cackle of your hens, you’ll probably enjoy the rooster’s crow, a classic sound of a beautiful rural place.

Cons: When you shouldn’t have a rooster

Keep in mind that, unlike hens, roosters can’t usually be pets. And while once in a blue moon you’ll find a friendly rooster, they generally are more interested in their flock than in being your friend. Some can become overprotective and attack people and even other chickens. If you have kids, they’ll have to learn to be careful of an unfriendly rooster and not approach him the same way they approach the hens.

Even if you don’t mind the constant crowing, your neighbors might. If you live very close to your neighbors or if they’ve complained about the constant cackling from your flock, a rooster may not be for you. You should also check your neighborhood’s rules and the municipal regulations. Some directly prohibit roosters due to the noise they can make.

Also remember that they will try to mate constantly and if you don’t have enough chickens, they’ll wear your flock down, causing them stress, affecting their egg production and probably even harming them due to the rooster’s insistence of mating. Don’t get a rooster if your flock has less than ten chickens.

At the end of the day remember that your hens will produce eggs with or without a rooster. Some farmers actually prefer to keep an all female flock and buy new hens while some like their chickens to hatch their own eggs. At the end of the day, the decision is yours!

19 thoughts on “Should You Have a Rooster In Your Backyard Flock? Pros And Cons

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  2. Sarah says:

    Individual experience is just that. I don’t see how getting angry because one’s experience has been different that the author’s helps further our discussion.
    In my over 50 years raising chickens I’ve personally owned nice roosters and aggressive roosters so I know (from my personal experience) either is possible. With no difference in how they’ve been raised. I think it’s more breed related.
    I appreciate the article.

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  7. Pam Arrieta says:

    We have recently hatched chicks from our hens and rooster (Peeps) . While all three of our roosters are friendly with humans the two baby roosters are adolescents now and starting to take on daddy Peeps. One is solid white and one is red/brown with a white tail. Both are sweet roosters but I am going to need to re-home them b/c they are starting to battle with each other. If anyone is looking for a rooster for their flock and is in South Florida (WPB) I am happy to have you meet the boys!

  8. Judith says:

    I wonder why some of you are writing angry comments about this articles. Lucky for you to have good experiences with roosters but some people did not or do not. You have to learn to respect other people’s opinion. Read other people’s comments or posts so you’ll know their experiences with rooster instead of generalizing that all roosters are good & author is bad. Do you think they will just say something about aggressive roosters if they have not heard about or experienced having aggressive ones?
    I am new to raising chicken as an adult and happen to choose a barred rock rooster. It does not attack humans but I thought it’s a bully; it is pecking on some of my hens (not all) to the point that they’re afraid to come near him whether feeding time or not. It is never protective of the hens but rather dominating them.
    When I was a child we used to have lots of chicken but can not remember having mean roosters.
    By the way, I do not know the author as to defend her. I am just thinking that he or she is writing from his or her experience and is willing to share those with the readers. I am here to read in order to know more about chickens. I want to learn from what others have experienced about chickens or other animals so that I do not have to learn from my own mistake as a result of ignorance.

  9. Clyde says:

    Rooster weighs maybe 6lbs, human weighs 120-180lbs. Human lets 6lb rooster intimidate him?
    Wow. Obviously these folks didn’t grow up on a farm. I enjoy the roosters crowing and they do help protect the hens to a degree. We also run a few guinea fowl with the free range chickens to help protect them from predators.

  10. Deane Betts says:

    I have a Rhode Island Red Roo. He is awesome and very inquisitive. He’s not a cuddler, but I have picked him up at night when he has gotten out and roosted outside the coop and he has never been aggressive toward me. My granddaughter has 2 Roos and both have flown into her and scratched her. She is very patient with them and they are getting better. I think it is all how we go about handling it. I could never destroy one , ever.

  11. Anonymous says:

    We have had mean roosters and some that are people friendly. You can not change the mean ones. The only cure is give them away or put them in the crock pot. They cook up tender and give you a very rich broth.

  12. Carolyn says:

    We had one rooster who was very sweet and hung out with 2 hens we had. Extremely friendly and my kids and I picked him all the time and pet him. We were new to the world of chickens and didn’t realize he was a rooster. He had a different smell than the hens and acted more like their gay friend, never saw him mounting the chickens. One day he crowed, and we had to let him go. Neighbors lived too close.
    We then got another rooster by accident and that one was extremely aggressive. Every time we went near any of the chickens, he would rush us, and when you would turn your back on him he would chase you clear to the back door. My husband stopped him many times with the soul of his boot. So we had 2 totally different rooster experiences.

  13. Dan says:

    Good points! Getting a rooster is an individual decision. I have had good roosters and bad roosters. I love to hear them crow and I love to watch them with their beautiful markings. But the wrong rooster will attack a human. I had a bad rooster also that every time I would turn my back he would charge me and scratch my legs with his sharp claws. Roosters are great to have for the right reasons. But be careful with them. There are good roosters and bad roosters.

  14. Alice Chen says:

    Whaaat? I have personally met 150+ roosters and helped them into adoptive homes and not a single one has been reported to be human-aggressive. In my experience, roosters are more charming, friendly, fun and full of personality in contrast to hens. I’ve had multiple families with small children who adored their roosters over the hens because of their social nature. seriously – let me upload a few photos and show you pictures of cute toddlers cuddling with fluffy roosters! There was this one rooster confiscated as part of a cockfighting ring from Riverside – when we went to rescue the group, a staff member who has no experience with chickens warned us “this one is aggressive”. So we quarantined & monitored him for months. He was slowly integrated with people & other birds. There was absolutely no sign of aggression. We adopted him as a ‘special needs’ rooster with a repeat adopter who has 3 young children. The “little rooster” became the kids’ favorite. He would join them on play dates inside the house daily, sleep in their laps, ride in the car to school, etc. I am sure “mean” roosters exist just like mean dogs and mean humans, but I have yet to meet a rooster mean to humans.

  15. Glo says:

    I didn’t intend to get a rooster, but one of the feed store chicks turned out to be male. As he grew he turned into a human aggressive rooster that was also a terror to the hens. He was over-mating the 7 hens and stressing them out. He chased people around the backyard, and he attacked me twice and my boyfriend twice. He was getting too dangerous to have around, and I never regretted the decision to get rid of him. The older they get, the more testosterone they have, so if they start acting aggressive at a young age they’re not going to improve with age. I have heard of friendly, cuddly roosters, but it’s largely a matter of chicken genetics. I hatched some of the fertile eggs and nearly every one of the pullets were aggressive, and the cockerels were even nastier than their father at a younger age. Before ever allowing a rooster into my flock again I would consider breed (some are more docile than others) and immediate parentage.

  16. Kelly Rutkowski says:

    This article is so full of BS I don’t know where to start. First of all, a rooster actually IS in fact a CHICKEN. Second of all, you are completely wrong because roosters actually make fabulous pets. My roosters are friendlier and have more personality and companionship with me then any one of my hens. There are way more things in this article that are wrong. Shame on you for writing this. Roosters need more good homes, not less. I am very disappointed in whoever runs this website.

  17. ariana huemer says:

    I have met over 40 roosters in my life, and every single one of them is far more human-friendly than any hen. I don’t understand why/how this misperception about rooster behavior exists? I’ve never had a rooster act even remotely aggressive toward humans. In fact the opposite is true. The friendliest chick in the bunch ALWAYS turns out to be a rooster. I don’t know what you all are doing to make human-aggressive roosters but everyone I know with a pet rooster agrees with me that they are far friendlier and outgoing than their hen friends.

  18. Lawren says:

    Good points, although I take exception to the statement that roosters can’t be your friends! My rooster is very protective of his hens and will run toward one in distress, wings out and ready to attack… but as soon as he sees it’s me causing the squawking for one reason or another, he stops. He’s awesome, sweet, and very protective!

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