Do Hens Need A Rooster To Lay Eggs?

The Animalista hen with her eggs
Unless you're a poultry farmer, you may have wondered if hens need a rooster to lay eggs. The answer is no, but they might be needed for other reasons.

In the last few years, one vital question that most non-poultry farmers often ask is, do hens need a rooster to lay eggs? This is because many non-farmers could be concerned that hens may not lay eggs without a rooster due to a sickness in rooster population, or the lack of enough roosters to hens, etc…. However, this is untrue. 

Whether fertilised or not, hens naturally lay eggs every 24 to 27 hours. These eggs are formed in the chicken when the ovary releases a yolk into the oviduct; the egg then moves to the reproductive system of the hen and develops into an egg white and eggshell. 

When layed, these eggs remain unfertilised. Therefore, the major reason why you need a rooster is to fertilise the egg and increase your flocks. In addition, a rooster serves as a protector to your chicken; he doesn’t just scout for food; he also protects your flocks from predators and alerts them on impending dangers. 

Five reasons why you might need a rooster

The Animalista rooster striking a pose

For those who still ask the question; do you need a rooster for hens to lay eggs? Although you do not need roosters for your hen to lay eggs, there are other reasons why you might want one. Some of them include:

  • Security reasons:  Roosters are very protective of hens. They are also capable of keeping them safe from predators. In fact, they also raise alerts when there is impending danger and allow chickens to move to a safe location.
  • Allow hens to live a normal life: In addition, owning a roster allows your hen to live a normal life; this implies that chicken can live with both male and female. They also ensure that hens are well behaved by breaking off fights between them.
  • Encourage egg-laying: Cocks also encourage egg-laying, and they monitor the next boxes to ensure they are safe at all times.
  • They have great personality: Roosters are entertaining and interesting creatures to have around your home. In addition, they are very classic farmyard icons. They are beautiful and can be a great addition to the farmyard. 
  • Necessary for expansion: If you like to expand your flocks, then you might need a rooster to fertilize the eggs that have been laid by your hen. 

Demerits of having a rooster

On the downside, roosters also have some demerits, and that is why some poultry farmers who know the answer to the question do chickens need roosters to lay eggs? do not want them near their flocks. Some of these disadvantages include:

  • They are noisy: Remember that roosters are noisy, they crow in the morning and at other times. They are also considered to be nuisances because they are loud and sometimes disturb the environment. Due to this, some urban cities do not allow them in different neighbourhoods; therefore if you live in a quiet environment, then you should avoid having one in order not to run into trouble.
  • Aggressive in nature: Roosters have spurs on their ankles that break their skin, and due to this, they are sometimes aggressive. Therefore, it isn’t advisable to have a rooster in an environment when children run around. 
  • Hens do not need them to lay eggs: Remember that healthy female chickens do not need roosters to lay eggs. However, the eggs will remain unfertilized without a rooster. 
  • Make hens wear out quickly: One of the biggest problems with roosters is that they make hens wear out. Remember that chicken sex isn’t consensual. Therefore a farmer that opts for so many roosters and a couple of hens will have those hen show signs of wearing out quickly. Due to this, it is recommended that you keep a rooster to hen ratio, which could be one rooster to 10 hens. 

Things To Consider When Breeding A Rooster And Hen Together

The Animalista rooster impressing a nearby hen

 Although the paragraphs above have answered the pertinent question, do chickens need a rooster to lay eggs? If you are still interested in having a rooster and hen together, then it is vital to take note of the following:

  • Some local council do not allow roosters: There are cities and local councils that do not allow roosters in urban areas due to the essence noise they make. Therefore it is vital to check the council rules before opting to buy one.
  • Place them in small night boxes to avoid early morning crowing: Some poultry farmers place their cock in small night boxes that do now allow the penetration of light and also restrict movement. Although there is no evidence to show that restricting roosters to the box prevents crowing, it is still a better way to keep them away knowing when it’s daytime. 
  • Employ the use of rooster collars: To help reduce noise, you can also employ the use of rooster collars. These collars fit on your rooster neck and prevent their airbag from expanding thereby reducing the volume of the crow. However, it is vital to note that these collars prevent normal behaviours and may cause difficulty in breathing. Therefore, you must be careful while using them and ensure that your rooster does not have them on all day long. We here at The Animalista do not condone the treatment of animals that may be harmful, so we are not big fans of these collars.
  • Do not house roosters in a confined space: Housing roosters in confined space prevent them from expressing their behaviors and makes them more aggressive. If you must keep roosters, then ensure that you provide a convenient environment that protects them from heat, cold and rain.

Finally, if you are still in doubt and asking the question do hens need a rooster to lay eggs? The answer remains no. As stated above, hens can lay eggs without a rooster. However, you might need a rooster for other reasons. Roosters can play a vital role in increasing your flocks by fertilising the eggs, protecting your chickens by alerting them when there is danger and also helping them live normal lives. They are beautiful creatures with great personalities. However, before bringing one to your neighbourhood, you must ensure that the laws of your local council permit the rearing of roosters in order not to fall into trouble.

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By: Brenda

Contributing Animalista

The Animalista contributors are animal people from around the world who use their writing talents to produce content that educates, entertains, and raises awareness for animal related topics.  

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