Roosters are noisy and sometimes aggressive. They are in many cases banned from residential areas by municipal law and homeowner association rules. Roosters are not an absolute necessity for raising chickens, but they do serve a purpose.
Protecting the Flock Vs. Aggression
The primary role of a rooster is flock security. The rooster watches for flying and ground-dwelling predators. He will gather the hens close and physically protect them from predation. Many roosters are naturally aggressive, some may attack humans. In such cases, training -- specifically coddling, dominance and acclimation -- can help. Catch and hold the aggressive rooster. Push his beak down and hold it for a few seconds. Slowly release the beak and allow the rooster to lift his head. This creates a dominance dynamic and reduces aggression toward humans.
The rooster maintains a pecking order among hens. Without the presence of a rooster, mature hens will posture for dominance. The unchecked hens will peck each other and single out weaker birds in the flock. In some instances, weaker birds may be pecked to death. The presence of a rooster reduces aggressive pecking by hens. The rooster will peck at the hens, but he is not likely to kill any of the females.
Roosters are beneficial for breeding and egg fertilization. A good rooster will regularly breed with the hens. The hens produce fertile eggs that will hatch chicks if they incubate. Some egg lovers prefer fertilized eggs. A fertilized egg contains a partially developed embryo, noticeable by blood-spotting and color changes in the egg. The difference in nutritional value is debatable.
Roosters are handsome birds available in colors and sizes that vary according to breed. The long tail feathers, draping saddle feathers and combs on their heads are attractive qualities. They are also fun to watch as they posture and strut around the yard. Roosters crow at dawn and continue to crow and cackle throughout the day. The noise is not for everyone, but it does provide a sense of a farm setting.
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Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.