Do you really need a rooster?

Do you really need a rooster?

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DILEMMA: Deciding if you get a rooster or not can come down to your local council regulations.

DILEMMA: Deciding if you get a rooster or not can come down to your local council regulations.

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Bruce Pattinson looks at the pros and cons of keeping a rooster in an urban setting.

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While this question may seem to have an obvious answer to many poultry fanciers I have been getting asked this question more and more.

One of the reasons for this is space and the size of male birds but increasingly the pressure from neighbours around the crowing question is to blame.

Many councils are certainly what can be described as anti-chook because poultry do generate complaints at times, especially with neighbours who lack any understanding of stock. So do you need a rooster?

The short answer is no but, and the but is significant, I think birds do better with a rooster as this is the natural way to have a flock.

Roosters tend to organise, some would say bully, hens and pullets and this is maintains the flock as nature intended it.

So, if the neighbours shriek louder than the rooster, what can we do?

You can maintain a sound flock without a rooster, but you cannot breed and thus will have to buy in new birds every few years.

Roosters can be boxed at night and placed in a shed.

You can have a shortish box so the rooster can't stretch to crow and this has been used extensively in the Sydney suburbs to keep birds. Another method is to cover a box with a blanket to keep out all the light.

Both these options can be labour intensive and means you need to be around, something not always possible.

I have one mate who gets a rooster in for breeding for a couple of weeks.

By the time the neighbours complain and council arrive the rooster is gone.

The more times they complain and don't find a rooster, the slower they are in coming out.

Another friend just passes eggs around and hasn't had much trouble so there are ways around it.

I think a rooster makes a good addition to the yard and they are probably worth the trouble, especially if you want some chicks. If in doubt start with the hens and see how you go.

Some chooks are better than none at all and the eggs are always worth it.

It is also worth checking your local council regulations as some councils have banned roosters and are very noise adverse.

Keep the letters and questions coming and I hope to hear from more of you over the coming months.

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