Cockerels are essential when breeding chickens but there are also disadvantages to keeping a cockerel, the most obvious being the crowing. There are many chicken keepers who get themselves a cockerel and he is settled have a knock on the door from unhappy neighbours who aren’t happy about being woken up in the early hours as he announces daylight with his crow!
A cockerel will provide you with hours of fun with his funny antics. Cockerels also provide you with fertilised eggs from your hens and often keep the hens in order being attentive to their needs but unless you intend to breed from them, there are a number of disadvantages that need considering.
Cockerels crow at the crack of dawn so in the summer months this can be very early in the morning and the sound can be surprisingly loud when it’s quiet and you are in bed.
Are the neighbours going to be happy with this? They eat far more than the hens and do not produce eggs. Some breeds can be very aggressive and could not be trusted near children. A cock will also need sufficient hens, otherwise his constant treading of a small number of hens will remove the feathers on their backs and make the skin red and sore.
If you are going to breed from your hens and decide to get a cockerel, don’t forget you will get on average 50% cocks from your hatch which will need to be dispatched, it is very hard to find homes for them as everyone has spare cockerels and nobody needs as many as they get.
Still convinced you want one? Then it is your duty to choose a good specimen – read our article on breeding chickens first, and make sure you know what your cockerel should look like according to the poultry standard so that any offspring can inherit his good points and keep standards up within that breed.
Keeping More than one Cockerel
Remember most cockerels will fight. There are only a few breeds (e.g. Polands which don’t see too well with their crests) which can be kept together.
Breeders who are showing their male birds often keep a pen of males without any females in site to stop them from competing and fighting.
If you do decide to get a cockerel then why not visit our Forum where there can be surplus cockerels advertised for free!
You do not need a cockerel for a hen to lay eggs.