Do You Need a Rooster for Hens to Lay Eggs? Our Surprising Answer!

feathery backyard chickens

Backyard hens will produce just as many eggs without a rooster as they will with a rooster, but there are more advantages to having one around than just the possibility of getting a baby chick from time to time.  

Of course, not every chicken owner can have a rooster strutting about within their backyard flock. Some states and cities ban roosters on account of how much noise they make. 

As hens will lay eggs regardless of whether there’s a hunky rooster around or not, some chicken owners prefer to do without roosters outright!

Who can blame them? Waking up to a rooster crowing his head off at the break of dawn isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

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Noise is the biggest downside of having a rooster, and it’s not the only one. Roosters will keep on fertilizing eggs as fast as your hens lay them, which is something of a double-edged sword.

On the upside, you’ll get to see baby chicks hatch and grow. On the other, you’ll end up with too many additional roosters and, the more roosters you have, the more aggressive they’re likely to be. 

While a pair of brothers may live peaceably together, an alpha rooster won’t happily welcome a new adult male and will start bullying him and trying to separate him from his flock of hens.

You can solve nearly any territorial problem by turning your extra roosters into chicken soup, but not everyone has the hard hearts required to take this approach. 

Trying to rehome a rooster is virtually impossible so, if you do end up with more roosters than hens, you’ll need multiple enclosures in which to house them all.

You’ll also end up spending a fortune on chicken feed without getting any eggs as compensation. 

Read More – 5-Gallon Bucket Chicken Feeder! Vermin Proof and Easy to Build!

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Benefits of Roosters – Other Than Egg Laying!

woman with colorful chicken eggs and rooster
Contrary to popular belief – your hens will lay plenty of eggs even without a rooster in your flock! However, I think roosters can make your hens feel more relaxed in some cases. Also – roosters are required to fertilize eggs.

I have a soft spot for my rooster and, as a result, can see the benefits of having a dominant rooster in a flock of chickens. Every evening, when I put the hens into their chicken house for the night, the rooster helps me herd the female chickens to safety.

Furthermore, as our chickens are free-range, they need rooster security to protect them from predators. Roosters also play a vital role in the flock’s social hierarchy, breaking up fights between hens and maintaining the pecking order. 

One study assessed the impact of sex composition within the flock on the levels of fear and aggression in laying hens. The results showed “that males had a reducing effect on female aggression.” And also, “fear reactions in females were reduced by the presence of males.”

For backyard chicken keepers, this is excellent news as stress can harm egg-laying chickens, causing a drop in egg production. 

In some ways, an aggressive rooster is less harmful than a lustful one. An overly enamored rooster can increase stress levels and cause damage to their favorite females.

The best way to prevent this is to ensure you have the correct gender ratio in your flock, which is ten hens to every one rooster.

Read More – How to Keep Chickens From Leaving Your Yard Even When Free-Ranging!

Dispelling Common Myths About Hens and Roosters

mighty rooster defender of eggs
In some circles, being called a rooster isn’t an insult! Roosters are tough and serve as the final line of defense for your hens – and they also sound the alarm loud for all to hear when predators get nearby!

After raising hens and roosters for years, these are the most common feathery fables that I’ve encountered. Chicken and rooster myths – debunked!

Does Having a Rooster Make Hens Lay More Eggs?

Roosters don’t have any effect on egg production. All they do – is fertilize the eggs, giving the yolks a slightly different appearance and, according to some, a better flavor.

Also – contrary to popular belief, fertilized eggs don’t taste any better than nonfertilized eggs!

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Are Hens Happier With a Rooster?

Hens experience less stress when there’s a rooster around. Not only do roosters protect the flock from potential predators, but they also maintain the pecking order and keep the peace.

Read More – Do Chickens Eat Ticks? Or – Will Ticks Eat Your Chickens?

How Do You Get a Rooster to Shut Up?

Some chicken owners keep their roosters in small night boxes that light can’t penetrate and where the rooster can’t stretch his neck out to crow.

Others use no-crow or rooster collars that prevent him from fully expanding his air sac, thereby reducing the volume of his crows.

Neither of these approaches is particularly good for the rooster. Organizations like the Royal Society For The Protection Of Animals (RSPCA) oppose these practices as they prevent roosters from performing “naturally motivated behaviors leading to negative animal welfare outcomes.” from RSPCA.

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Can a Chicken Lay Two Eggs Per Day?

Some breeds of chicken can lay multiple eggs per day, but it’s not that common. Eggs take around 24 hours to form, and not every hen starts the process immediately after laying, in which case, you won’t even get one egg a day.

How Often Does a Rooster Need to Fertilize a Hen?

The quick answer is, “Not as often as he’d like!”

Roosters are virile birds, producing millions of sperm in a single morning and capable of mating up to 20 times a day!

This level of activity isn’t necessary, however, as his sperm collects in the hen’s sperm pockets and goes on fertilizing the eggs for up to two weeks, although five days is more usual.

Read More – Can Chickens Eat Banana Peels?

How Do You Discipline a Rooster?

It’s important to stand your ground with an aggressive rooster! Otherwise, you’ll encourage your testy flock-member to think that he is the boss. How you go about this is up to you.

Some chicken lovers recommend making yourself as big as possible and waving your arms around until he submits. Others suggest spraying your rooster with water or catching him in a dip net and leaving him there until he calms down. 

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Do Hens Really Need Roosters?

You don’t need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs, and if the thought of all that crowing leaves you cold, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether.

If you are in a position to have a rooster and aren’t restricted by city limits or ordinances, then you’ll be doing your backyard flock a favor.

Roosters protect the hens and control any in-fighting between them, reducing stress and creating a healthier and happier environment for your hens to enjoy.

Read More – 44+ Free DIY Chicken Coop Plans Perfect for Your Flock!

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