6 Ways Roosters Rock June 28, 2013

Roosters rock! How do I love roosters? Let me count the ways.

Um … Six.

Yes, there are six ways. Possibly more, but at least six reasons that roosters rock.

I get that roosters aren’t for everyone. Roosters aren’t usually permitted in towns, and it makes a certain amount of sense. You don’t need roosters for your hens to lay eggs, after all, and a crowing rooster can be as loud as a barking dog. (I’m not sure why barking dogs are allowed in towns when roosters aren’t, though, but that’s another blog post… ) As for me, I have no nearby neighbors, so I have the joy of keeping them.

lavender orpington roosters rock

Just look at this handsome lavender orpington rooster! Roosters rock.

6 ways roosters rock:

  1. Roosters protect their hens. Of course, your rooster is not likely going to be able to successfully  fight off a bobcat, a bear, a pack of dogs and the like. However, he will buy time for the hens to get to safety… and in many cases, confrontations can be avoided because the rooster keeps a watchful eye out and warns of imminent danger. One dinosaur-like cry from my roosters, and my hens scurry for cover.
  2. Roosters are beautiful. In many varieties—including Salmon Faverolles, Welsummers and Black Copper Marans—they’re significantly more showy than hens. A Salmon Faverolles hen is beautiful, don’t get me wrong… but the roosters are spectacular. Wellie hens are a lovely, heathery brown. But the roosters are iconic; a Wellie rooster is what is represented on boxes of Kellog’s Corn Flakes. Black Copper Marans hens are pretty with their ebony, iridescent feathers… but the roosters with their flame colored hackles and saddles are brilliant. Even in breeds where the roosters and hens have similar appearances, the long showy saddle feathers and general strut of the rooster adds something special to your flock, visually.
  3. Roosters are generous. Part of their social role is to make sure the flock gets plenty of good food; consequently, when they spy a tasty bug , a patch of fallen seeds or some other sort of treat, they’ll call the hens over to enjoy. Hens need lots of nutrition to produce their eggs, but roosters don’t need to eat as much since they’re not expending resources on eggs.
  4. Roosters will help a young hen determine where to deposit her egg. Young hens may not immediately have a good idea about where it’s safe to lay. They may not be sure what their instincts are telling them to do. In my flock, a rooster will call a confused hen over, stand in or near a nest, and purr until the hen gets the idea and settles down to lay. Is the sound soothing? Perhaps. It reminds me of the way hens sometimes purr to eggs they’re trying to hatch.
  5. Roosters fill an important social role in the pecking order. In fact, their role is so important that in some flocks—especially those where there is no rooster—the most dominant hen will take on the rooster’s role. She may start to crow, and may even cease laying.
  6. Roosters dance. My opinion is that the BEST roosters dance. By “best,” I’m not referring to show qualities; I refer only to social context. Roosters dance to impress hens; it’s courtly.
roosters rock

Here is one of my roosters, a Favauacana name D’Artagnan

Now, to be fair, not every rooster will have all these qualities. Some roosters are not very good protectors; they may be scaredy. They’ll cry out a warning, but then high-tail it out of harm’s way, every chicken for himself!

Some roosters are not any more attractive than their female counterparts. They’re usually a little larger, perhaps, but in most cases share very similar plumage.

Not all roosters are good about calling hens to treats, either. In fact one of my roosters–an otherwise very noble fellow– likes to eat what he views as his share of treats before sharing any with the ladies. Sometimes he finishes everything off himself.  He feels so entitled that he’s been known to chase the hens off!

Not all (and not many) roosters assist young hens in finding a place to lay, either.  They may just ignore a young, confused hen and leave her to figure it out on her own. Even my roosters who have done this regularly tend to only perform that service for hens they are partial to (or perhaps a partiality is created as they bond over nest-finding). I haven’t seen this behavior written about elsewhere, although I’ve observed it repeatedly at my house.

Some roosters seldom dance for the hens. When courting , they may go straight to the head peck or neck grab instead of first wooing them with the sweep of a gracious wing, and the magnetism of a chesty strut.

And finally, some roosters can be aggressive. Even with all that, I still love roosters!

Tell me, do you wish you could keep roosters? If you do, what have I missed from my list? These are just my favorite six reasons… there are many more!

36 Comments
Peggy Vidaurri June 28th, 2013

I love my rooster! Out of 3 eggs, he was the only chick that hatched in my classroom incubator 6 years ago. I truly had the intention of giving him back to the farm where I got the eggs in the first place, but I bonded the moment he pecked through that shell. He has never been around other chickens, but he is BFFs with, my desert tortoise and my two dogs. They play tag …. sometimes feathers fly a bit. And, they share food, especially corn on the cob. When we walk the dogs, he goes right along with us in his “chicken” carrier.
Every year I have my students write a persuasive letter to our school principal to “allow” me to bring him to school for the day. He remembers the classroom …. roams around (he is very curious), hops on the desks, and lets the students hold him and pet him all day. He is one happy rooster …… just a little bit spoiled.

kaba rayl June 28th, 2013

Our welsummer rooster is not so great. He is a little lame as a result of getting into a fight where he used to live and our bard rock hens refuse to let him rise to the top of the pecking order, but he tries to take all the treats and calls out warnings and then hides himself. Sure we’ve got some chicks on his account, but he mates with the lower hens so much that our poor americana first lost all of her back feathers. After we got an apron for her, he still persisted withhis traumatic mating which led to a prolapsed vent (which was picked at before we noticed and got infected so she had to be culled). As far as I am concerned he killed her.

Nancy June 28th, 2013

I have several roosters and one Big Boy Billy he is beautiful White Leg Horn he does not seem mean but he will come after me if he thinks I am going to take or harm his girls. I do walk with a little stick and warn him to back off. He does all the things this artical says he is a wonderful member of the ranch.
He knows he is not so posed to go in the little chicks and mommy pen so he watches me in the windows to see when the coast is clear then he sneaks in, he is so funny with loads of personality.

Earl Handy June 28th, 2013

Roosters seem to bond more with you than hens. I had one rooster that was very perceptive and one day was sounding the alarm while I was in the yard with him. I looked around but saw nothing. About 2 minutes later “pop bang” sparks flew from a 220 vac power line I had disconnected outside from my dryer. When that happened my rooster ran for cover and I ran inside and hit the breaker. I am not sure if it was my roosters’s super hearing on his ability to see in the infrared light spectrum that alerted him but I thought it was amazing!

shauna June 28th, 2013

my rooster ( a rir ) will dance around me leg and tell me to eat . he also lets the girls eat before him . such a gentleman 🙂

Lee June 28th, 2013

Oh yes, I love my rooster too. He’s always watchful of me when I come out the door to see if I have any treats and if I do, he does the little purrry coo to alert any girls that are within ear distance. He rarely takes any for himself, even though I try to reward him for the awesome job he does. I can tell he appreciates all I do for the flock, many times he will wiggle his head from side to side to acknowledge it and will raise his wings to me as if to say hi when I’m in the yard or coming from the house. He is just so awesome, he’s our original from 5 yrs ago, a very nice Golden Lace Wyandotte, who incendently survived a fox attack last yr in the spring. A real gentleman.

William June 28th, 2013

About 6 months ago my wife couldn’t stand it anymore and went and got six Buff Orpington chicks. Turns out that she was sold the wrong chicks by tractor supply and they were Leghorns. The six were straight run and we got 5 hens and one rooster. She played with them and talked to them and showered them with attention while they were young and still does.
The result is we now have a large leghorn rooster that will eat out of your hand, run to you when he sees you but not in an aggressive way, just happy to see you, and at least for my wife, will crow on command. Its really neat and I’ve never seen anything like it. In fact other leghorns Ive had in the past have always been kinda wacky

Deb June 28th, 2013

I love our roos. All of them show these behaviors. Yeah, they can get a bit sideways when they hit sexual maturity, but as long as you show them you are the top roo (Roo psychology is So fascinating, and perhaps another blog topic?) all is well. I’ve become a huge proponent of Roos, most specially if ‘the girls’ are out free-ranging at all.

Sharing….

Lissa June 28th, 2013

Deb, I’ll put that on my list; that’s a good idea! I was thinking today–after seeing the huge heatwave that will be hitting our friends in the West this coming week–that nest week might be about hot weather precautions.

TR Kelley June 28th, 2013

I live out in the woods with no neighbors and plenty of predators I have currently 16 hens, 6 pullets,12 chicks and two wonderful roosters (Easter Eggers). They were hand raised and very tame, yet perform their duties admirably. I have a steady supply of eggs AND chicks to sell. I’ll add one more cool thing about roosters, their poops are small. 🙂 Oh , and their shed sickle and hackle feathers make lovely hat ornaments!

Lissa June 28th, 2013

Oh, that’s another good one, TR! I especially love barred hackle and sickle feathers. So gorgeous!

K Ballance June 28th, 2013

Our RI Red Rooster loves to bring some of his hens up our front door steps, to the porrch and then to my glass storm door and “people watch” us in the house doing our daily routines. He is more like a pet dog then a rooster. He sits on my back deck and waits for us to come out and visit or bring him treats, then follows us all over the yard when we are outside. I guess we are just part of his flock!!! lol

Lissa June 28th, 2013

I’m loving all these fun rooster stories. It’s tough to get across just how much personality they have; sharing stories like this is the best way, I think. 🙂

Mary June 28th, 2013

My good friend offered me a choice of a couple of 15 week roos to add to my 6, 13 week pullets. I go back and forth on deciding….I think with a Rooster I will have a more “normal” life for my layers, but will they accept him? Will he rip up my pullets’ backs? Am I just asking for trouble? Am I just blinded by their beauty? I don’t NEED one………….

Kristin June 28th, 2013

I love my Brahma rooster. He does all of the above, except show the hens where to lay. He always calls the girls to food and never eats it himself. He also leads the hens to me in the yard. I also have a hen that crows.

Jeremy June 28th, 2013

I have plenty of chickens, but I have one Rooster who is my little boy, he’s around 2 & 1/2 or 3 years old, but is still my favorite little clucker, he always follows me around and he loves to be held he will fall asleep in my arms! However I am the only human he really likes and he attacks anyone else who come into the chicken-run…

brook whitlock June 28th, 2013

We have an awesome rooster! His name is “Cowboy” and he is everything on this list plus a really good “daddy”. We have one single chick who hatched in late spring and three little ones who hatched a few weeks ago. Our single chick, “Milagro”, doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. She spent a week separated from the flock, foraging on her own. I felt so sad for her. However, past couple of days she’s been glued to “Cowboy’s” side. He’s showing her the ropes like a true gentleman. He is also very docile around the three younger chicks. They will run between his legs for early morning feed and he just stands there like a proud papa. He’s the best!!

Aurelia June 28th, 2013

I love my blue lace red wynodotte with all the roos I have had they were accepted right away.

Marti Schmidt June 29th, 2013

I thought my rooster was confused when he was hanging around the nesting box — maybe he was pointing out the way to the girls, after all — and he is a gorgeous Salmon Faverolles, who loves to be held, petted, and loved on. He’s the only male in the flock, fortunately.

Jessica Givens June 29th, 2013

At the end of April I received my first ever flock of chicks and I love it more than I ever thought I would!! From the beginning I said I would never have a rooster. I have two little girls and I didn’t want to worry about him chasing them (up till now the only rooster story I knew was when my mom was little she had to collect eggs and the rooster would attack her legs. … not a nice picture to say the least! ). After reading Lissa’s post a while back about Favaucanas I totally changed my mind. One look at D’Artagnan and I was hooked!! What a gorgeous rooster! ! So a Favaucana roo is on my wish list! ! Already convinced the husband. .. just waiting till they become available! !

jean June 30th, 2013

Interested in facts about roosters, I happened upon this site and glad I did. You can learn more from reading stories such as these. I don’t have chickens or roosters or live where I could, but I find them quite interesting and loved the comments here. I once had a green and yellow parakeet that I talked to and soon let it stay out of its cage. He really had a personality, learned to say many things and roll his tongue with me, ate breakfast with me daily, etc. It was fun to hear about a rooster’s personalities and how they are with their owners. Good luck to all of you.

Beth K July 2nd, 2013

I’ve recently acquired a sebright banty whom I’ve named Roo as I don’t think he’s gonna be very big. He spent his first 12 weeks or so inside. We have moved him out tothe hen house now in his own space. He’s been there a week now. I’m wondering if my hens are going to accept him? I have two rocks, two wyandottes and a rir. I’m also waiting for my order from my pet chicken that will arrive the end of this month. I’ve ordered 4 easter egger hens, 3 black copper maran hens and a copper Moran rooster. I’m anxious to see how they Will all get.along together. I placed my order.in February and can’t wait!!! I would be grateful for any advice on getting them all together!

Lissa July 3rd, 2013

Slow and steady wins the race! You can see our advice on how to introduce new birds to your established flock right here: Introducing new chickens to your flock. Just be sure to take it slowly and gradually.

Beth K July 3rd, 2013

Thank you! I read through all the info you reccommended. Good suggestions. There’s a French saying I’ve learned while living overseas. It goes like this: ” little by little a bird builds its nest”. No pun intended…..but it seams to apply here……. My little Roo man is actually very sweet. If he ends up not fitting in I think he would make someone a perfect house pet. Before I moved him outside he waa in a dog crate on top of my dogs crate. He was able to see.all the goings on and he loved it. He makes so many different noises it’s hilarious!

Lissa July 3rd, 2013

We wish you the best of luck!

marti July 3rd, 2013

I have recently started raising chickens. I was given a rooster a couple of weeks after i got my chicks, he is very much a gentleman with the hens and a good watcher. He always checks the treats out and then calls the hens over without having any himself. he has done the dance you talk about at me, but i was informed that it was an aggressive display, but he shows no other signs of it. when i go in the barn and he hears my voice he comes running and jumps on the perch to watch me. i have picked him up a couple of times and he has been fine, no pecking at me. should i be concerned about the dance?

Lissa July 3rd, 2013

It CAN be an aggressive display… but not always. As an example, check out this short YouTube video to see a rooster who is dancing, but not aggressive. Be forewarned–it’s very cute! Our fingers are crossed that you don’t have an aggressive rooster, either.

Stevee Salazar July 9th, 2013

I’ve had 2 roosters in my flock of 50+ hens. One rooster we had, Ben, took such a dislike to one of my barred rock hens, Sophia. I still to this day can not figure out why. We tried to separate them and it didn’t work. I thought I could force him to get along with her. Sadly things got out of my hands and in seconds he paralyzed Sophia and I sadly had to have her put down. We soon after got rid of Ben. Our other rooster named Angel was one of those sexed chicks that was supposed be a female. He was a beautiful black and white Easter Egger. We also had to give him away due to aggressive tendencies…. sigh, will my ladies ever find a gentlemen ? Very cool fact about roosters helping virgin layers find a place to nest!! I have never seen that – I would love to find a rooster that would do such a kind thing.

Skylar Cummings July 20th, 2013

Roosters do rock! I have 5 roosters- a Blue Salmon Favaucana (Stanley), a Lavender Orpington (Quincy), a Black Copper Marans (Alex), a TRUE Blue Ameraucana (Merlin), and a gorgeous Crevecouer/Polish/Easter Egger/Orpington (Zack)!

Rachel Brown April 6th, 2015

Are you able to take in a Partridge Rock 5 month old rooster? My best friend’s son is freaking out about placing his pet rooster Frightful (neighbor complaining about noise) and wants to make sure that his new home is a place where he is becomes part of a brood (pet not food). Let me know if you can assist. He is a beaut!

Lissa April 9th, 2015

Rachel, we have suggestions for what avenues to investigate to re-home roosters right on our website. Alternatively, you might be interested in a no-crow rooster collar–that might change his name from Frightful to Friendly!

Stranger April 14th, 2017

My rooster dances and it means aggression, he attacks you too!!!

Danielle Ramsey June 13th, 2017

My first wonderful rooster – A Black Copper Marans – would get into the nest boxes (or whatever he thought was a good nesting area, and sing what I call the egg song – the same song a hen will sing when she lays her egg. My current rooster is an Easter Egger (half Ameraucana, and half Red Sussex) and he does the clucking/purring thing you mentioned, but he’s not as good at picking nesting places… I had to scold him because he was trying to get a hen to lay an egg in a black plastic bucket that the wind had blown in the middle of a field in the hot sun.

Lissa June 13th, 2017

Reminds me of an Easter Egger rooster that I had who was always calling hens over for a treat (so he could get romantic with them). Only the treat was almost always just a rock or a flower petal—never a bug. What a goofball he was! (The hens learned and stopped coming when he called…)

Tori December 21st, 2017

I once had a Sicilian buttercup roo that would fly on my arm like a parrot when I held it out for him . But nothing sticks in my mind quite like my nh red rooster buddy . We had a run in the back yard for my dog that was attached to a tree on one end. One day I watched my rooster slowly walk around the tree, getting my dog to follow him. The rooster had plotted to get my dog stuck around the tree . Once my dog was tangled around the tree the rooster bantered on over to my dogs water bowl and drank out of it . I have never seen an animal plot a plan like that and I’m a zoo keeper so I’ve encountered some smart animals . But my roo takes the cake

Lissa December 21st, 2017

Oh, wow—that is a hilarious story! Sounds like you had a VERY smart rooster. 🙂

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