Quick Fire Questions About Roosters

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

While we’re on the subject of roosters, I thought we’d take the time to answer some quick questions you all have sent that require short answers…

“Do you have to have a rooster to get your hen to lay eggs?” ~ Dana 7 years old

Hi Dana, thanks for writing.

A hen will lay eggs with or without a rooster. If you want to hatch chicks though, you need to have a rooster.

“This may sound stupid but can you have a rooster neutered? I want a rooster but I do not want chicks. Rooster’s are beautiful and I love to hear them crow. I also want protection for my three hens.” ~ Carol

Carol, there are no stupid questions.

Trust me, if you’re asking, there are a lot of people out there wondering the same thing.

Neutering a rooster is called caponizing. It is an invasive procedure and is done for the purpose of altering the growth of the rooster. It is typically done between 2 and 4 weeks of age. It causes him to grow faster and his meat to be more tender and juicy when he is butchered at around 16 weeks of age.

You do not need to worry about hatching chicks. A fertilized egg is no different than an unfertilized egg in the way that you use them. Collect your eggs as usual and use them as usual. A chick will only start to develop in a fertilized egg if temperature and humidity conditions are right. This is only accomplished by a hen setting on the eggs to hatch them or by your incubating them.

“I have asked this question before and to my knowledge never received an answer so here goes again. If you have 30 hens how many roosters should one have -these are young boys, my hens are mostly this years batch also.” ~ Caroline

Caroline, please understand that I have almost 500 unanswered questions in my inbox right now (we have over 20,000 individual readers from around the world). As this format is set up to answer 2 questions each week, you see that I cannot possibly answer each question. I try to answer questions that I believe will appeal to the most readers and I’m glad to have the opportunity to answer your question now.

A good ratio is 6 hens for each rooster.

Up to 15 hens is acceptable though.

The age of your rooster will help determine the number of hens he can service. A rooster in his first year can really “get around” and it’s a good thing for him to have a lot of ladies to take care of. An older rooster will not be able to keep up with as many hens and fertility will be lower.

“Can I keep more than one rooster in the same area? Thanks” ~ Frank

You can keep any number of roosters together depending on three things; there is sufficient space, there are enough hens for everyone and they are brothers or at least were raised together from a very young age.

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be fighting amongst the roosters but it will be to a lesser degree because they know no other way.

Once the pecking order is established, their brothers won’t present a threat in the way that a newcomer would. Occasionally one of the lesser brothers will vie for the top position and a battle will ensue, this also happens among the females as the pecking order is shuffled and reestablished occasionally.

Intervene only if you believe the life on one of the chickens is in jeopardy.

Obviously, I’m not referring to fighting cocks but to regular breeds. For the record, I cannot support raising any animal with the intention of watching it fight with another for nothing more than entertainment. For those of you who have sent questions regarding cock fighting, I’m sorry but I won’t be answering your questions.

Whether you're a complete beginner and don't know where to start, or you're a seasoned chicken keeping professional and just want practical "how to" advice on tap our guide to keeping chickens has got you covered...

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