Table of Contents
We have discussed a lot of hens but what about the males of the species. The too can play a vital part in any flock especially if you want to breed chickens. Their beautiful plumage is tops for show birds.
What is the difference between a cockerel and a rooster?
A cockerel is a young rooster that is less than a year old. Whilst a rooster is a fully grown adult male chicken over a year old.
From what age can a cockerel fertilize eggs?
A cockerel will start producing sperm around 4 to 5 months old and will continue to be able to fertilize eggs for up to 7 years afterwards. The quality of his sperm decreases with age as it does in most animals.
Once the roosters have mated with a chicken his sperm remains fertile in the hen for a few days afterwards.
Both roosters and hens tend to be most fertile during the spring and summer months. The reproductive systems shrink during the winter/colder months where they tend to take a break from reproduction.
Some reasons to keep a rooster
- Roosters are like guard dogs. They especially protect their flock keeping a vigilant eye out for predators. They will warn their hens of impending danger and may even attack critters such as rats, snakes, small dogs and cats.
- They will forage and find food for their ladies. Most of them will step back and let the ladies feast first before indulging in the fresh food themselves.
- They will ensure fertile eggs.
- They are a good alarm clock if you like to wake up at the crack of dawn and they are quite good timekeepers that crow ever so often throughout the day.
Some reason not to keep a rooster
- The rules of your neighborhood may not permit roosters due to noise
- If you are wanting fresh eggs for your table. Most times the eggs you will get when a rooster is around will be fertilized.
- Sometimes roosters can get quite aggressive, especially around mating season.
- Their fierce protective natures could make them attack you and or your family if they see you/them as a threat to the safety of their flock.
Things to know if you want to keep a rooster
- Depending on the breed you should not keep two roosters in the same flock
- A rooster in his prime needs roughly 1 – 6 hens in his flock.
- It is not, however, to only one hen and one rooster as at his prime he will eventually hurt the hen
- It is not advisable to keep more than one rooster in your flock as not only will some fight to the death.
- They are also very noisy, as with the female chickens’ roosters also have a hierarchy and when the alpha crows the rest of the roosters in the flock will follow suit. So, unless you are on a homestead, farm or in a very large neighborhood where you cannot see your neighbors more than one rooster is not advisable. It is also probably not allowed!
- Roosters prime lasts for up to 3 years of age.
- Although they may seem like it a lot of roosters do not make good table birds, especially gamecocks.
- If you are going to use a rooster as a table bird his meat should be used before is at the most 18 months old. After that, his meat tends to be touch and sometimes grainy.
- Unless you have a breed such as the Onagadori, they do not require any special grooming or other treatments. Their care is much like that of hens.
- If you are going to keep a rooster, make sure you have a great roosting spot for him as they love to sit perched on a branch.
END OF PART 7
This is the end of part 7 join us for the final part of our beginner’s guide where we will take a look at Feeding your Chickens