Roosters can be a huge benefit for your flock, but they can also be quite a handful. You will have to be prepared for those pesky morning wake-up calls at the crack of dawn. Crowing can become a serious nuisance, but with a little patience and preparation, you can keep everyone, including the rooster happy. Here are some tips on keeping roosters.
Manage The Morning Crow!
Unlike what most believe, roosters don’t crow because of sunrises, they crow due to their biological clock telling them that the sun will be rising soon. For this reason, you might be woken up at 3 am instead of at 5 am when the sun truly rises. You might eventually get used to it, but your poor neighbours might not be so patient.
Fortunately for you and your neighbours, there are steps you can take to reduce the noise or at least reset the rooster alarm to a more reasonable hour. These steps are:
A blackout box is essentially a completely darkened enclosure which the rooster sleeps in by himself. This setup will help to minimise nightly disturbances and unexpected crowing, but it is unlikely to have an effect on morning crowing. If you want to influence a chicken’s biological clock, you will have to use artificial light in combination with the blackout box.
This is an especially quirky solution to crowing. Simply lower the ceiling in your coop. Roosters need to stretch their necks up and out to crow, so if there just isn’t any space they won’t be able to do it.
An anti-crowing collar is essentially a piece of velcro fastened around the rooster’s neck to restrict airflow to the voice box. This will not restrict the chickens breathing since their anatomy is different from ours. The rooster will still try to crow, but instead of a full out cock-a-doodle-doo, you will get a much softer garbled sound instead.
Know The Law!
Different councils have different laws regarding roosters. Some city councils prohibit roosters, but many others make no specific rules with regards to the boys. Roosters will, however, be expected to pertain to the noise restrictions in urban and suburban areas. If there is any noise complaint, you might get fined. It is best to check with your council to see which rules regarding roosters apply to you before you get one.
Keep Them Happy!
Roosters crow for more reasons than just a wake-up call. You can expect calls at any hour of the day if they spot a predator, find food, or have a quibble with another chook. They will also speak up and complain if you aren’t taking good care of them. Here are some things you can do to reduce crowing:
- • Make sure there’s plenty of water and food available, even at night
- • Keep the coop clean
- • Enclose them in the coop overnight
- • Predator proof the yard
- • Only keep one rooster for every 8-10 hens
Remind Him Who’s Boss
Roosters are always very dominant and are usually the top chickens in the coop. If you treat your flock well, your rooster should see you as a friend and carer and he’ll respect you, but you get the odd nasty rooster. If your rooster is a bully and lunges at you, stand your ground, catch him and hold him down firmly until he relaxes. You might get a few scratches, but it will sort out the lunging problem in the long run.
Roosters have spurs, long claws at the back of the leg, which can be quite a nuisance. These spurs can also be dangerous to your hens when a randy roo tries to mount an unwilling hen. To reduce the risk of injury, you can trim the spurs. If you aren’t confident enough or not so great with animals, it is best to take your rooster to the vet to get it done.
How To Trim Spurs
If you want to trim your rooster’s spurs, catch your boy, wrap him in a towel to stop him wiggling and scratching and thein either:
- File then down to a blunt end with a dremel tool (Don’t go so far that it’ll bleed)
- Grab the spur firmly between some pliers without squeezing too hard. Rotate the spur casing back and forth without pulling for about 30-45 seconds. The cashing should fall off on its own. There will be some bleeding so have a styptic powder ready.
No matter your choice, the spurs will grow back eventually so you will need to repeat this process regularly.
Now that you know rooster keeping really isn’t that hard, here are some more rooster facts for your information.
How Long Do Roosters Live?
Roosters, like most chickens, have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years. This is heavily influenced by their lifestyle, environment, diet and breed. With the best care, you might find that your rooster will soon be turning 8!
There are some stresses such as living in overcrowded conditions, fear of loud noises and predators that can reduce the lifespan of a rooster, similar to that of a hen.
Is It A Cockerel Or A Rooster?
The main difference between a cockerel and a rooster is their age. A rooster is a mature or adult male chicken above the age of one year. Cockerels are young roosters under the age of one year.
No matter if you have a mixed rooster and hen flock or a hen flock only, all chicken keepers want to do the best job when it comes to caring for their flocks. There are so many things to consider so make sure to read more to build your knowledge for the future!