Rooster Duties

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Roosters are valuable guardians of the flock and will courageously keep predators away. (Photo:©Jazelle)

Roosters are valuable guardians of the flock and will courageously keep predators away.

Chickens enjoy social interaction much like humans. Roosters contribute to an important natural social structure in the flock and perform certain “duties” which they take very seriously. Roosters will keep an instinctual eye out for predators and make a distinctive alarm call when danger is near. Contrary to the stereotype, they are also quite courageous in confronting creatures much larger and stronger than themselves to protect their flock. I have observed roosters escorting hens around the yard, finding food for them and partaking in communal dust baths. I have also noticed that a rooster will “attend” a hen when she goes into the nest to lay an egg. I am not exactly sure what transpires during this quiet interaction between the two, but he will stand attentively alongside the nest until the egg is laid. When the egg arrives he will jubilantly announce the event followed by the entire flock joining in the chorus.

Roosters have a certain call they give to tell the hens that they have found food.

Roosters have a certain call they give to tell hens that they have found food. Often they will stand aside and act as a look-out while the hen eats.

Roosters will keep a hen company while she is on the nest laying her egg. (Photo: "Zak & Zinnia", ©Skyfeather Studio)

Roosters will keep a hen company while she is laying her egg.

-Singing Luna 12/10/2013

Seed for Thought: What valuable rooster behaviors have you observed in your flock?

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6 responses »

    • It has been a learning experience for me to have the privilege of caring for these birds. I have noticed when I slow down and take the time to really be with them they reveal a lot of wisdom that is unique to their species. I appreciate your checking out my blog!

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  1. I love this and am not sure how I’ve missed this topic thus far! I adore chickens and am excited to have recently joined homes with my boyfriend, who has chickens. I’ve been saving all of our compost for those girls for over two and a half years now, it will be so much easier to feed them now that we’ll all be in one place! We’re looking forward to adding a couple more hens as well, though we don’t have a rooster. It was interesting to learn about his role in the coop, thanks for the great post! CS5711

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    • You have discovered another great benefit of keeping chickens- they are great at recycling compost into fertilizer that will add nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium into your garden soil (more than cow or horse manure!). Kitchen scraps will give your chickens variety in their diets with extra nutrients too. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I really like the pictures and all the interesting chicken nuggets.My husband has fond memories of growing up on a farm with hens and roosters in his backyard. He remembers they made a low howling sound when a bird of prey would fly over.Like an alarm warning the flock. Keep up the good work!

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    • Your husband has a good memory! This instinctual vocal alarm is called a “referential” call or the ability of individual species to create and understand vocalizations unique to that species. With chickens the vocalizations will vary depending on the type of predator sighted.Thank you for your encouragement.

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