Often people ask me: If I get chickens, do I need a rooster? The short answer is: No, you do not. The longer answer is: Maybe if…
Why you don’t need a rooster.
Chickens lay eggs anyway, you don’t need a rooster for that. The eggs will not be fertilized, but if you are not planning on breeding with your flock then that is no problem. There are also a few cases in which you shouldn’t get a rooster. Roosters crow (really?!?!), and I have heard that not everybody appreciates that. So if you live in suburbia, or have neighbors close by, you may not want to get a rooster to avoid complaints from neighbors. Roosters are males and in most
Roosters are males, and in most situations, males protect their females. This shouldn’t affect us, but sometimes it does. Some roosters take it a little too far and also protect their chickens and habitat from people, even the ones that feed them. Some roosters are just plain mean, and do not go well with people, especially children. Roosters have spurs and can actually cause serious injuries. In some breeds the roosters are notorious for being mean, so do your research. This shouldn’t scare you off, out of all the roosters we have had there was only one or two that were just mean buggers. This mean streak is often passed on to offspring, so unless you like mean roosters (?), breeding them is not advised. I have heard of some people taming a mean rooster by picking him up every time they go into the coop and just holding them, I have no experience with that though. Whatever you do, don’t ever hit a mean rooster, this will show him that you are actually a threat and make him even meaner.
Why you would need a rooster.
If you are wanting fertilized eggs for hatching from your own chickens, you need a rooster. Fertilized eggs are still edible as long as they are collected daily, they taste the same as unfertilized eggs. For fertilized eggs to turn into chicks they need a certain temperature and humidity which are obtained by letting a hen brood or incubation.
Roosters protect the flock and warn the hens for dangers. They make sure the hens stay together, call the hens when there is feed, and get them rounded up when it is bedtime.
There are also a few other reasons why I would suggest adding a rooster to the flock. Personally, I love the sound of a rooster crowing, it just one of the sounds that belong on the farm. I also think that most roosters are much prettier than hens. Just look at this handsome fellow:
Basically, a rooster is not necessary for egg production, but they are great for protecting the flock. Whether you need (want) a rooster or not depends on your goals and where you live.