How to Manage Roosters in the Chicken Coop

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Roosters maintain a natural hierarchy in the chicken coop.
Roosters maintain a natural hierarchy in the chicken coop. (Image: rooster image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com)

Roosters are a fundamental component of a brood or flock of hens. The proximity of a rooster will not stimulate hens to lay, but his presence will maintain a natural hierarchy among the female birds. Roosters need to be carefully monitored when they share a coop with hens, to ensure that the regular attention they show toward the hens does not interrupt egg laying and incubation. Roosters can be very aggressive with protecting their hens, so caution is required when you are working in the confines of a small coop.

Things You'll Need

  • 8 hens, at minimum
  • Enclosed coop, including lights (optional)

Confine the rooster to the coop with the hens, so that he can keep the pecking order intact. Be aware that in the absence of a rooster, the most dominant hen will stop laying and assume the role of pseudo rooster. This hen is then lost as a laying bird.

Keep a minimum of eight, but preferably 12 or more hens in any coop with the rooster, to spread the cock’s attention among as many females as possible. Roosters that are overly sexually active will stress hens by continually attempting to mate them.

Add additional hens to your coop if you notice feather loss on the neck and backs of your existing hens. These signs indicate that the rooster has been continually mounting the specific hens and his attention must be diverted by introducing additional female birds.

Remove any particularly docile hen that allows the rooster to continually mount her, or his attentions will disturb her laying activities.

Remove any particularly docile hen that allows the rooster to continually mount her, or his attentions will disturb her laying activities.

Supply your rooster with additional hens to distract him, if your specific cock crows excessively.

Remove other roosters in the area to prevent lengthy crowing sessions. Your rooster crows as a response to other cocks in the vicinity.

Place lights in an enclosed chicken coop to confuse the rooster’s biological clock and have him crow later in the morning and not when neighbors are trying to sleep.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never attempt to house more than one rooster in the coop with hens at the same time. These male birds will fight among themselves and the weaker cock will not be able to escape if they are confined in this small area.

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