Roosters, also called cocks, are male chickens and, therefore, can’t lay eggs. Only female chickens, also called hens, can lay eggs. However, a rooster needs to mate with laying hens if you want the eggs to hatch into chicks. Below are why a rooster can’t lay eggs and the other important functions they perform in the flock.
Can Roosters Lay Eggs?
Biologically, roosters can’t eggs, just like the males of humans and animals. Their reproductive organs aren’t designed to produce eggs. As such, only hens lay eggs. However, some owners claim that their roosters lay eggs. This isn’t true. A rooster being the only chicken near an egg doesn’t mean he laid it.
In addition, some people say roosters lay eggs due to the unusual size or color of the eggs they find in the coop. This excuse isn’t tenable too. For many reasons, egg-laying hens can take a break from laying the usual type, size, or number of eggs.
Factors such as maturity, health complications, poor nutrition, chicken breed, etc., typically affect egg production. Besides, some hens might look like roosters in appearance.
The rooster’s job is to fertilize the eggs. Unfertilized eggs are only good for eating and can’t become chicks. Naturally, hens are designed to lay eggs without mating with a rooster. In their season, they do so daily until they have a clutch they can brood on.
The rooster fertilizes eggs by mating with the hens in a process called the cloacal kiss. Here, he puts his bump inside the hen’s vent and releases sperm, which goes into the hen’s oviduct and fertilizes the eggs there. In some cases, some hens have sperm pockets that collect the remaining sperm to fertilize other eggs in the next few days.
Once this process is complete, you can be assured of healthy chicks you can raise for both meat and eggs. Fertilized eggs usually have a white ring around the yolk, but the only way to know is to open one of the eggs in the clutch. They hatch into chicks within 21 days.
Roosters are ripe enough to fertilize eggs from 16 to 20 weeks, but their sperm production reduces as they age. They produce millions of sperm per day and can mate with 10 different hens within a 24-hour window.
On the other hand, hens start laying eggs at 18 weeks and above, but this is dependent on factors such as nutrition, health, breed, etc. However, the more a hen matures, the lower its egg production.
4 Things Roosters Do In The Flock
Roosters don’t lay eggs, but they play a vital role in fertilizing the eggs. However, that isn’t all they do in a flock. They perform other functions, which are of great advantage to your female chickens.
Roosters are well-known for their willingness to look for food and bring it to the hens. You’ll find a rooster foraging his enclosure in search of edible things, and when he sees it, he first ensures it’s safe to eat.
After, he goes to call the hens and their chicken to come and eat. Sometimes, he goes the extra mile in convincing the hens that the food he’s found is good for eating. He only takes a bite if the food remains after everyone has eaten. These selfless acts endear a rooster to hens the more.
Just like humans, animals love entertainment. There’ll rarely be boring moments if you have a rooster in your flock. You’ll see a rooster doing different things to win the hearts of hens with different personalities.
For instance, virile roosters will do the shuffle dance for their favorites in a bid to get attention. Even if the hens don’t appreciate it, the rooster doesn’t stop. The entertainment gets deeper when there are more roosters in a flock. You’ll find them competing with one another for their favorites. These rooster shows are exciting episodes you don’t want to miss.
In flocks where there are no roosters, there is little or no order. In most cases, the hens do things individually with clashes of interests. Dominant or older hens try to be the flock’s leader, but this doesn’t go uncontested by other hens.
However, when a rooster is in the flock, he naturally maintains order, and all the hens respect him. He also protects the weaker hens from being picked on by dominant ones.
Roosters are selfless protectors and always on the alert for predators. They guide other chickens from foraging into unprotected territories and watch them when they’re foraging. They have warning calls to indicate whether a predator is coming from the sky or on the ground around them. If it gets worse, they are ready to lose their lives to protect others.
How To Care For Your Roosters
Caring for roosters isn’t difficult, but you need to do it attentively and routinely. The quality of care you give to your roosters determines how well they fertilize eggs and perform their other responsibilities in the flock. An unhealthy rooster can’t mate with hens or fight a predator; that’d be a death sentence. You can follow the guidelines below for keeping a healthy rooster.
Treat them as and when due
Since roosters are selfless, it isn’t unusual for them to be injured. In the process of fighting predators or separating other chickens in a fight, a rooster gets wounded. Don’t leave the rooster alone when this happens.
Chickens are cannibalistic, and the sight of blood makes them go crazy. They’ll peck the poor rooster to death. Stop the bleeding if there is any and apply an antiseptic on the wound to prevent infections. Keep the rooster in a different place until the wound finally heals.
You need to groom your roosters regularly both for their health and appearance. For instance, their spurs must be filed and trimmed as they get out of hand as the rooster matures. Also, trim their nails; this will prevent them from hurting your chickens in the mating process. Inspect for living, mites, etc., in different parts of their body. Always ensure your roosters are in good shape.
Provide the essentials
The essentials for a rooster are food, water, a clean environment, and some breathing space. Roosters are very good at complaining; they’ll turn up their noses at any discomfort which may disturb your neighbors.
If you don’t want to become the bad neighbor in your locality, give your roosters what they need. Also, don’t overwhelm them with many hens; the ratio of roosters to hens should not be more than 1:10.
Make them feel at home
It’s crucial that a rooster feels at home in the flock if you want him to discharge his duties well. He shouldn’t always be on his toes except when he’s looking out for predators. Identify his personality and build a relationship with him around it. Besides, the more you socialize with your rooster, the less aggressive, happier, and healthier he becomes.
4 Things You Need To Know About Egg Production
If you’re raising a flock for eggs, you need to understand the different things that affect the eggs you collect. Both hens and roosters have a part to play in this. Also, this will help you order your flock for more productivity.
Nutrition is one of the most important things that affect egg production. The quality of eggs is commensurate with the quality of intake. For instance, if your chickens suffer from deficiencies of vital nutrients like calcium, their eggs might not last long.
Calcium helps to strengthen eggshells, but its lack causes soft eggshells. Don’t try to minimize resources by leaving your chickens alone to feed themselves. This is why you should be financially ready before raising a flock.
Another important thing about egg production is that chickens won’t lay or fertilize eggs in an unsafe environment. They’ll always be stressed and live in perpetual fear because they don’t know what’s coming next.
Hens won’t lay eggs if they are stressed, and roosters won’t fertilize eggs if their blood pressure spikes every time. Besides, some predators even steal entire clutches of eggs when they come around. You must find a way to eliminate all forms of danger. Stop predators from attacking from beneath the ground or coming from the sky.
Before you adopt any breed, find out the health condition of such breed. Some chicken breeds are predisposed to some poultry diseases than others. If you raise those types of chickens, you’ll deal with many health complications that will get in the way of their egg production.
As such, you should always prevent and control health complications. Maintain proper hygiene, disinfect the coop regularly, vaccinate them against the necessary diseases, etc. Don’t forget to subject your chickens to a routine checkup as well. Once you detect an abnormality, take action immediately.
The breed of both the hens and roosters matters. Do adequate research before you adopt any breed. Some chicken breeds lay over 250 eggs per year, while some barely manage to reach 150. Sometimes, the sizes and color of the eggs are determined by the breed also. For instance, only white-skinned hens will lay white eggs.
Roosters can’t lay eggs but fertilize them instead. They are partly responsible for the sustenance of their breed. However, their presence in a flock comes with other essential benefits beyond egg fertilization. To ensure they perform their duties well, provide your roosters the best care and don’t overwhelm them with many hens as mates.