Roosters With A Bad Rap (And Why You Might Want One)

Roosters get a bad reputation, but one bad egg in the bunch shouldn’t condemn an entire lot of roosters to the soup pot. 

Roos are often misunderstood because they can be aggressive. Certain individual birds (and some breeds) may be more prone to chasing humans, attacking other critters, and of course, crowing…a lot. 

But the truth is, they’re not all bad. In fact, much of their “aggressive” behavior is actually beneficial for the flock. Moreover, you’ll find that most roosters aren’t actually mean at all.

So, to set the record straight, let’s take a look at commonly frowned-upon rooster behavior and how it’s actually good for the flock. 

Mean Rooster Behavior and What it Means

It’s easy to just write off the following as bad behavior from a bad rooster. But let’s think it through a bit first.

Because, in most cases, there’s a reason for the behavior.

Crowing (Not Just in The Morning)

Roosters crow.

All the time. 

But there’s a reason for crowing, and usually, it’s to either communicate with the flock, warn off predators, or ask something of you. 

Roosters can assert themselves to both predators and other roosters and the point is to show whoever he’s talking to that he’s the boss around here…and these are his hens. 

Crowing can be a good thing if you don’t mind the sound of it because it may keep predators at bay, warn you of impending doom, and help the flock find food or safety (because that’s what roosters often talk about most). 

Roos are keen on finding the best treats for their ladies, and when they find a tasty morsel, he will be the last to eat. Instead, he clucks, crows, or calls to his ladies to let them know there are some good eats nearby!

Lastly, roosters crow if they need something. If your flock is confined and they are out of food or water, you better believe your rooster will let you know about it!

Roosters Chasing Humans

Roosters who chase humans or other animals usually do so to protect their hens.

Unfortunately, they may chase us even though we aren’t a threat. For some reason, some roosters are on higher alert than others and misdirect their aggression toward the wrong person. 

In the wild, roosters who chase off possible threats are a blessing to the flock. Just think about it, if we’re intimidated by a puffed-up rooster booking it toward us then their scare tactics might work on other, less well-meaning, beings as well. 

This behavior becomes a problem, however, when roosters act on their aggression by using their beak and spurs to injure humans or other domestic animals.

Fighting with Other Roosters

Speaking of harming other animals. Keeping more than one rooster in a flock is not always a good idea. 

It can be done, with the right roosters (who were also raised together). And if there are enough hens to go around for both of the boys in the flock, it might be feasible.

But even then, one day, you may find your two favorite gentlemen in a bloody battle for the flock. 

And that’s how things work in the natural world. One rooster is typically dominant over all the hens in the flock, and if the other boys nearby disagree it will most likely end in death. 

Considering natural selection, when referring to this aggressive bird-on-bird behavior, you could think of the winning rooster as the strongest to lead your flock. In that case, choose which roo you’d like to keep on for the job and which you will relocate or process.

Favorite Hens Looking Shabby?

Sometimes a certain hen becomes the apple of your rooster’s eye, and she gets, ahem, most of his attention (wink, wink…elbow jab, if you know what I mean).

And you might think it’s a good thing, but that poor hen needs a break and if your rooster doesn’t lay off of the hen in question, you may need to relocate her. 

Another reason your hens may look a little rough around the feathers is that there aren’t enough hens for your overly zealous rooster in your flock.

Adding a few more (like you need a reason to add more chickens, right?) will help distribute your rooster’s, um, affections amongst the flock more evenly and help his favorites heal.

As a side note: if your hens’ feathers have been ripped out from a well-meaning rooster, they will grow back after their next molt.

Should you need to protect your hen’s backs, consider a hen saddle.

Should You Keep a Rooster?

So, while there are some clear drawbacks to keeping a rooster in your flock, as you can see, some of these behaviors serve a purpose. And in some cases, it’s for the good of the flock. Like protection from predators, foraging skills, and of course reproduction. 

The truth is, most roosters, if they have what they need to be happy and healthy, aren’t all that bad. 

In fact, your years of rooster owning, you may only come across one or two bad eggs. 

And to be honest, the crowing may become an enjoyable part of my homestead. 

Rooster Relocation

All this to say, sometimes we can’t accommodate our rooster’s needs or they really are just a bad egg. 

If that’s the case, it may be time to either process your rooster or pass him on to a farm that is willing to take on his behavior. And who knows, a change of scenery might be all he needs to turn his life around.

Books of Interest

Backyard Chickens Beyond the Basics: Lessons for Expanding Your Flock, Understanding Chicken Behavior, Keeping a Rooster, Adjusting for the Seasons, Staying Healthy, and More!

Pokey Jr: Even Roosters Get Second Chances

How to Speak Chicken: Why Your Chickens Do What They Do & Say What They Say

6 Things To Know Before Getting Chickens

Getting your first flock of chickens is an exciting adventure. Visions of bountiful egg harvests, peeping baby chicks, and coops full of clucking hens occupy your dreams.

But we’re here to tell you, there’s a few things we wish we had known before we brought chickens into our lives. 

And the good news is, we’re sharing all the dirty details with you so you can be prepared for these otherwise unexpected issues when you start your first flock.

Let’s dig in and get you ready for your chickens!

1. Predator Prevention is Non-negotiable

There’s nothing worse than coming across deceased chickens during morning chores. 

That’s why it’s important to take a preemptive approach to predators in your region.

And when we say predators, we don’t just mean the big ones (like bears of foxes).

Some of the smallest predators are the most deadly.

Snakes, raccoons, and weasels can find their way into even the most predator-proof coops.

So when you’re designing your first chicken coop, always take extra precautions to ensure you’re not leaving your chickens exposed to predators, like making sure every opening in the coop and run is covered in hardware cloth (not chicken wire – it’s not strong enough). Be sure that predators cannot dig under fencing to access your chickens, or fly into your run from above (they will definitely try).

2. You Need a Plan for Roosters

Even if you’ve planned to order all hens, there may come a time that a stray roo gets into the shipping container from the hatchery. No hatchery can guarantee pullets (hens under one year old) with more than 90% accuracy, so it’s best to assume 10% will turn out to be roosters.

On the other hand, if you’ve decided to incubate, prepare for the possibility of more than one rooster in your new little clutch of chicks.

If you’ve got the room and enough hens to go around, you might be able to keep some of those roosters.

With that being said, you’ll need a plan ahead of time for the roosters you won’t be keeping. 

Because more than one rooster means you’ll need more hens for each one, and it also means there’ll be more crowing, more fighting, and maybe even more aggression.

So, what will you do with unneeded roosters?

Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Sell them as chicks as soon as you know they’re roosters to someone who wants to raise them
  2. Raise them and butcher them for yourself
  3. Raise them and process them for sale (check local regulations)
  4. Give them away to a family in need

3. Chickens Don’t Lay Eggs Until They’re Mature

Unfortunately, chickens don’t start to lay eggs until they are a few months old. And depending on the breed you’ve selected, it may even take months to see your first farm fresh egg. 

So it’s a bit of a waiting game, but we’ll tell ya right now when that first egg appears, you’ll be celebrating all the way to the breakfast table!

While you wait for your first eggs, you can spend your free time ensuring your chickens have everything they need to lay quality eggs as soon as they’re ready. 

That includes:

  • Endless amounts of fresh water
  • Oodles of layer feed (formulated for layers)
  • Grit (to help chickens digest their food)
  • Treats (protein treats pack a punch for chickens when they’re growing!)
  • Calcium (this helps chickens lay eggs with strong shells, and it promotes strong and healthy bones)

And if your chickens are happy and healthy, they’ll start laying eggs as soon as they’re old enough, without delay.

4. Chickens Need Plenty of Elbow Room

It’s true! And if your run isn’t large enough to allow all your chickens to hunt, peck, and scratch the earth freely, you’ll soon learn that your beautiful run will turn into a large mud pit. 

So if you’re not free-ranging your chooks, make sure your enclosure is plenty big; it’s just the polite thing to do. 

In general, you’ll need to allow for about 5 to 10 square feet per bird outdoors. 

5. Chickens are Also Predators

Ok, not like the-top-of-the-food-chain predators, but predators to things like mice, frogs, and bugs. 

Never forget that chickens are omnivores and enjoy eating meat. So the next time you see your fluffy butts running across the lawn with a frog in the lead hen’s beak, just know that it’s completely normal and good for them. 

On another note, chickens are predators to your landscaping efforts. 

Nope, your chickens have no idea that your flower garden is not an a la carte buffet created just for them. 

If you want to protect your landscaping from free-ranging beaks, then create barriers to keep your flock from ruining your flower beds…and veggie gardens, for that matter. 

6. The Companionship and Connection

Some will tell you that chickens aren’t pets. And that might be true for the vast majority of them. But from time-to-time, you’ll come across a hen, or rooster, that plucks at your heartstrings. 

Chickens can be friendly; they may even cuddle with you on the porch as you drink your morning coffee in the sun. 

And before you know it, you’ve got a friend or two in the flock. 

The truth is, you’ll see personalities emerge, and you may catch yourself naming your chickens (if we’re being honest, all of the fluffy butts in the Henny+Roo flock have names). 

We’re not ashamed, and that’s one of the reasons we knew we needed to create the Henny + Roo subscription box for chickens (and chicken lovers)!

Dogs and cats aren’t the only companions who deserve a treat for all their hard work (Ummm, egg-making, friendship, and let’s be honest a little bit of pest control too).


So, just know, that your chickens may turn into an extension of your family, and as far as we’re concerned, that’s perfectly fine for everyone involved.