What are the benefits of having a rooster with laying hens?

Written by wanda thibodeaux
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What are the benefits of having a rooster with laying hens?
Roosters sometimes are more brightly coloured than hens. (rooster image by miloka from Fotolia.com)

Chickens are some of the most economical farm animals raised. Although some people keep chickens just for the atmosphere they provide to the home, most people want laying hens so that they can have the benefit of fresh eggs. People do not technically need to have a rooster with their laying hens, but because putting a rooster in with the laying flock has benefits, it is a common practice.

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As pointed out by urbanchickens.org, a rooster provides a free way for you to increase the size of your flock naturally, since the rooster will be able to fertilise the eggs that the hens lay. Once you have the fertilised eggs, all you need is a safe place for the hens to nest and you can have chicks. You can eat fertilised eggs the same way you eat unfertilised eggs, too, which means that having a rooster opens you up to having more chickens without decreasing the benefits of your fresh eggs.


The rooster is very much like the shepherd of the chicken flock, providing guidance for the hens on social hierarchy and telling the hens where and when to move around. Urbanchickens.com claims that, when you do not have a rooster with your hens, a laying hen may take on more "male" behaviours in an effort to fill the rooster's natural role. Having a rooster thus establishes order for the flock and lets the hens exhibit the behaviour that is most characteristic to them.


One of the biggest benefits of having a rooster with a flock of laying hens is the protection the rooster provides against predators, according to Gatewaytovermont.com. Roosters will herd the flock to safety if they perceive that danger is present and will aggressively try to fight off animals such as raccoons that threaten the flock or the eggs. Because roosters help to establish the flock hierarchy, they also can defend members of the flock from other hens.


Roosters often have brilliantly coloured feathers when compared to the laying hens. This is because the bright feathers help attract the hens to the rooster for mating purposes, and because the feathers naturally distract predators away from the hens toward the more aggressive, larger rooster who can fight back. These colours make the rooster one of the most beautiful birds in the entire flock.

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