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Cock-a-doodle-doo! It may not be dawn, but it is time to debunk some of the biggest myths about adopting a rooster. If you’re thinking of adopting a rooster, it’s important to be prepared to ensure that your birds will be happy and healthy. Maybe you already have roosters at home but are experiencing issues and you’re not sure why! Read on to find some answers.

Is it true that I can only have one rooster in my home?
This is actually not true! The number of roosters you can have depends on the size of your backyard and how many hens you have. If you have a small backyard area, then having a large number of roosters will be unsuitable. It’s important to have adequate space for your roosters to roam around. If your roosters and hens are crowded together, you may see increased squabbling. Having adequate space for your birds to enjoy can reduce the risk of injuries and aggression while making your birds happier.

If you have hens at home, or plan on getting hens in the future, we recommend a ratio of eight (or more) hens to one rooster. If you don’t have enough hens per rooster, your roosters can become competitive over your hens and the hens may be excessively mated. When a hen is mated too often, she can face having broken feathers and other possible injuries. Young roosters (cockerels) are more likely to be rough with hens while mating, so you should also adjust your birds’ living environment based on the age and activity of your roosters. This is why it’s important to ensure you have a reasonable ratio of hens to roosters.

However, if you plan on only keeping roosters at home then you can have more than one rooster. If there are no females to fight for, roosters will not be competitive over mating and are far less aggressive. There are many homes and sanctuaries that successfully home roosters only.

Will having roosters around a hen affect the hens’ egg size?
The presence of a rooster among hens does not influence how big the hens’ eggs will be. The size of a hen’s egg often depends on her unique situation, including factors such as protein intake, breed, and environment. Additionally, hens tend to lay smaller eggs when they are young, and will lay larger eggs as they grow older.

Another similar myth is that roosters increase a hen’s production of eggs. This is also not true. Hens that have optimal living environments, are fed nutritious food, and are healthy are likely to lay regular eggs on their own, regardless of the presence of a rooster. Having a rooster around will only affect whether an egg is fertilised or not.

Are roosters always mean to hens?
A rooster’s aggression towards hens does not always indicate that they’re just being mean. People who have both hens and roosters sometimes express concern over their rooster being aggressive toward hens; however, this can actually be a sign of the rooster courting the hen. Once a rooster hits puberty, usually at four to five months old, he can become more aggressive as testosterone levels rise.

Signs that your rooster is courting your hens could include:

  • Becoming very attentive to the hens.
  • Doing a dance.
  • Pecking a hen’s head or neck.
  • Climbing on top of a hen.

Knowing the difference between your rooster in mating as opposed to him actually being aggressive towards your hens is vital to help you understand when to intervene. If your roosters are being aggressive to the extent that your hens lose feathers, get bald spots or injuries, this is likely a sign that your rooster is being violent towards your hen and not courting them.

Adopting a rooster is a rewarding way to save a life while adding liveliness and fun to your home. We may have roosters looking for a forever home right now – to browse our adoption listings, head over to our Adoption page.