To Rooster or not to rooster? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I would appreciate advice on whether or not I should get a rooster for my chicken coop?

I am new to all of this. My primary interest is eggs. I am unsure how significant it is to have them be fertilized or not? Could someone clarify this?

It seems that the addition of a rooster to the coop adds early a.m. noise and possible daily warfare when we want to retrieve eggs. Is this the case?

-- Sara Nealy (, October 17, 1999


This is the case. At least the noise part. We live in a small rural town where the noise of a cock crowing in the wee hours puts most of our older neighbors into a nostalgic reverie -- nevertheless we bring the rooster inside a night and lock him in a a small kennel cage overnight, so there's no chance of offending the neighbors. You can cover the kennel cage or other cage with a towel to keep things dark enough, that the cock won;t crow too early. We let the rooster roost everynight with the hens, then go out after dark and carry him inside. I've also heard that you can simply put the rooster under a bucket or pail overnight, ion the coop, and that this works great. IN this case, the cock-crow in the bucket would probably echo enough deafen the rooster: maybe silence him for good. Otherwise, plan on being awakened at 5:30 to 6:00 on a lucky day. AS TO THE WARFARE, you can handle that part. We can, but our children under 6 cannot. We make sure we have at least one rooster, since we'll need more chicks next year -- layers have a short half-life -- and since it keeps the hens happy. Better eggs, we think.

-- Roch Steinbach (, October 17, 1999.

Wow, Roch, you really are a considerate neighbor, never heard of such a thing. Makes me wonder what I could con my neighbor into doing about his braying jackasses every morning! Cheers!

-- Roger (, October 17, 1999.

I believe that I read at one time that fertilized eggs are more nutritous. Our coop is insulated, we can hear the crowing faintly. I have heard him at 2 a.m. sometimes!

-- palavia (, October 17, 1999.

Is there any variation by breed refr: the noise factor?

We are considering Rhode Island Reds, as they are good layers as well as heat tolerant.

I have heard the roosters are particularly vicious, though. A friend uses a Leghorn rooster with the R.I. red hens.

-- Sara Nealy (, October 17, 1999.

we have several roosters. I happen to love the sound of their crowing and I don't believe neigbors are close enough to hear.

We don't keep mean roosters- some are, some aren't. We have had a few that didn't play well with others and they got "recycled". Life is too short to mess with nasty roosters IMO. this has not been breed specific.

we have two full sized ones, and a mid-sized banty and a regular banty as well. also- the latest banty offspring- just started crowing this week- soprano!! so cute!!

Definitely need roosters to produce more chicks of course...they also help protect the hens as well.

-- farmer (, October 17, 1999.


I friend I consider to be knowledgable informed me that fertile eggs are lower in cholesterol, they also will keep better, as long as they are not warm enough to be incubated.

As to the rooster, I believe that the aggressiveness is an individual trait. I have had some who were very social, and others who picked a fight with everyone and everything, including inanimate objects. If you get one like that, eat him before he gets too tough.

The rooster makes a good addition to the flock, and in general helps sort of keep things in order. Some of them will get up and crow when there's a half moon at night. Others have the decency to at least wait until the sky starts to brighten in the east.

I have never had a rooster try to defend a nest. Sometimes a clucking hen will get testy. If you get a rooster as a chick and handle him regularly so he understands his place in the pecking order, he should be ok.

Chickens are pretty good at foraging for themselves, and can find a lot of their own food just scratching around the yard. They like grasshoppers and crickets, and those big white grubs that you find in the ground. If you can pick up some dropped ears of corn in a harvested field, just throw a couple of the ears in to the hens and they will pick it off the cob. Be sure they have plenty of grit and calcium.

I think once you get things figured out, you will enjoy having the old biddies around.

We don't have chickens anymore, and I kinda miss 'em.



-- gene (, October 17, 1999.

If you want chicks can you just borrow the neighbor's rooster for a week to do the deed? I was wondering if he will hurt the hens if they aren't his usual flock.

I tried to find a barred rock rooster for mine and was unsuccessful. Even the 4-Hers at the fair were unwilling to part with one.

-- marsh (, October 18, 1999.

I have 25 Barred Rock chicks and one "other" chick that I got last week. They are all doing well, as of this AM. I got them from McMurray. I tried to get Orpingtons because they are good setters but McMurray was sold out of them. The Barred Rocks were my second choice.

Does anyone know if Barred Rocks will set? If they won't I plan to incubate the eggs myself, but it would be better if I had a hen that would set.

-- monique (, October 18, 1999.

I have Barred Rocks from MacMurray's too. Earlier Barred Rocks did set. They were gentle and the roosters were not very aggressive. I also got, in the same order, a group of White Rocks, some White Cornish and some Dark Cornish (and an odd one - a Polish bantam hen -- really a riot!) The White Cornish (five) had some leg problems, but they were absolutely huge for their age. We have two hens left. (The idea had been to breed them with the White Rocks, to get that cornish cross.) (I thought I could do the same with the Barred Rocks and the Dark Cornish, but the Dark Cornish are nothing like the White Cornish.) The Dark Cornish kind of gargle about dawn, and that is about it. The other two breeds seem to crow a bit more, but also at dawn. One time, though, the odd chick was an Egyptian Faumi. And he started crowing at six weeks of age, and at 3 AM. I think, in general that the American breeds are quieter than the European or Asian breeds. We've had Hamps and Rhode Islands, too, and I seem to remember that they were more active. One thing about roosters: keep more than one. We had one mixed group (from MacMurray's) and I only kept one rooster....and he turned out to be a dud! Six hens went broody, and nothing! ve

-- Mary (, October 19, 1999.

So much knowledge!!!

We have a bunch of roosters. When we went to the farm store this past spring to buy chicks, I (bright spark that I am) picked out the biggest chicks they had. Naturally, we got 75% roosters. Duh!!!

Of all the 'boys', only the Leghorn has ever been aggressive, attacking with his feet. Luckily, he's so small, it doesn't hurt. He's not terribly brave, either, preferring to attack the back of my legs (or my bottom, when squatting to fiddle with the water thing!).

We did have to separate some of the roosters from our hens, though. When they went through puberty, they all became amorous, and the big Plymouth whites were really hurting the girls; two of them died. So we moved the big 'bruisers into the garden, where they've been taking care of the last of the vegetation for us. Our little Leghorn is the main man in the coop, and the big dark red rooster & one of the silver cross guys hopped the fence to be with the ladies. They are gentle enough, though, because the girls' backs are healing nicely, and egg production is up, up, up! The red rooster (very dark auburn, with glossy, glossy plumage... Rhode Island?) seems to be ready to defend the girls, or at least they crowd around him when the dogs come into the chicken yard, but he's never pecked or attacked anyone or anything.

BTW, our roosters crow all the time, day and night. Have figured out that they crow whenever they hear a strange noise, or a car in the driveway. Works pretty well.

We WILL butcher the Plymouth Rocks. Really. This weekend for sure. (Been saying that since August. Next time, NO NAMING THE LIVESTOCK!!!)

-- Arewyn (, October 20, 1999.

I never had a vicious Rhode Island Red rooster, and I've had several - stately, elegant, colorful and well mannered. I've had mean "skinny breed" roosters though, and my leghorn roosters were a lot noisier - higher pitched crow than the heavier breeds, shattering the silence at any hour of day or night. They would fall off the roost poles during the night, start crowing to cover their humiliation & set up such a ruckus!

Always had more than one rooster. As someone mentioned, you can get a dud. Any that got mean went into a quart jar at a young age. Mostly they only attack and posture at each other. But the best little roosters I ever had were banties. I've had more than one who "stood guard" all night in chicken houses that were too insecure, and laid down his little life to protect the hens from varmints.

The hens need a rooster, IMHO. He is their flock-leader, their protector, and their early-warning system against danger (hawk flying overhead! take cover!) They just don't need 10 or 12 of them, as I kept reminding myself over the years. I really miss my chickens, too.


Yes, barred rock hens will set. Sometimes much more than you wish. Whichever hen(s) gets the broodiest in the spring and refuses to let you change her mind, that's the one to put your eggs under. Not that you'll need to; if your nests are big enough for more than one hen (a good idea), she will adopt a nestful of everybody's eggs and hatch them out. The barred rocks are just as placid as Orpingtons, in my experience, but not being as large, require less feed.

Mary, if your white Cornish got so big so fast and had leg problems, they were hybrids - meat birds - and wouldn't have bred well anyway. That _was_ the "Cornish cross". They can dress out at 4 lbs by 8 weeks old.

But they didn't have any personality.

-- Scat (, October 20, 1999.

Well, we decided to go for a "classic" coop, replete with two cockerals and about 23 pullets... all Rhode Island Reds.

After researching poultry housing, we'll be building a coop, not buying the "Chicken Condo" or the "Hen Spa" though they look better than a lot of two-family homes!!

Thanks for all of the good advice and commentsa, friends.

-- Sara Nealy (, October 21, 1999.

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