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If it was formerly believed that roosters play an extremely important role in the flock of chickens, then in modern domestic poultry farming, this statement seems already outdated. Now many do not keep cocks, and those who have them prefer one male to the whole flock. I belong to the first, and then I'll tell you why.
I'll start with the advantages of keeping a cock in a pack. They fertilize chickens, protect the flock from predators, follow the order - stop squabbling between with chicken, looking for a treat on the lawn, serving as a good alarm clock and a standard of attraction among chickens.
And now let's look at all these advantages in more detail in order to objectively assess the potential role of the cock in the pack.
You probably know very well - that the hens carry eggs, the cock is not needed. However, the eggs will not hatch if the eggs are not fertilized by the cock. This is a powerful argument for the content of cocks, if you like to watch how the chickens hatch from eggs, and plan to increase the number of flocks.
However, thanks to the Internet, it is now easy to order fertilized chicken eggs at hatchery stations, in case you can not find them on local farms. I was happy when such eggs, ordered on the Internet, hatched chickens. Therefore, I do not think that for one week in a year it is worth starting a cock to get a few fertilized eggs. In addition, you will have the opportunity to buy eggs from different breeds of chickens - different from those that you already have.
The rooster will stand guard, peering intently at the sky or trees, while the hens peck the food or take the dust baths. Noticing something suspicious, the cock issues an alarm, warning the chickens of danger.
However, even the strongest and bravest cock can not repulse the attack of most predators, including dogs, foxes, coyotes, hawks and ferrets - most likely, it will be their first victim. Of course, bravely attacking the enemy, he can give the hens time to escape, but for any animal this is a terrible death, and I do not even want to think about such a fate for the roosters. Instead, I prefer a safe enclosure for my chickens when I'm in the courtyard. In addition, two of our dogs are much better than any cock will be able to protect the flock from predators.
There is another trick about males - a "good" cock will most likely see the enemy in you and other family members, not to mention your friends or guests. For example, I'm tired because I have to carry a rake every time I go to check eggs! Honestly, it's not laughing at all when a cock attacks you. They are able to shred even a strong jeans fabric, and strong blows with spurs can cause serious wounds. Therefore, if you have young children, think carefully before starting a cock.
As a caring mother hen searches for worms, beetles, seeds and other delicacies for her chickens, so the cock does the same for its ladies. It is very interesting to observe how he, having found a treat, is excitedly excited, publishes a piercing bubbling sound and jumps up before throwing a treat at the feet of his beloved hen.
But, frankly, I have enough of these "reconnaissance operations" from the hens. In addition, my chickens are older and already know themselves well those places in the yard where you can find bugs and worms.
Another function of the cock is to separate the fighting chickens. Despite the fact that the chickens live together for many years, sometimes they find out the relationships or attack those who are lower in the hierarchy. The rooster can maintain a peaceful environment in the pack. In addition, in its absence, one of the chickens often assumes a dominant role and becomes a little snooty at the same time.
I'm lucky that in my pack all the hens get along well. In addition, the role of the referee, to some extent, takes on our ducks - they almost immediately stop any disassembly between the hens. In my opinion, the best way to avoid fisticuffs is to distract the attention of the chickens to something interesting. To do this, they need to give them plenty of space for walking and do something for them - it can be a pile of straw, leaves, or weeds; roosts in the open air; zones for dust baths, etc.
In my opinion, the presence of a cock in a pack becomes a cause of concern among chickens, since it has the habit of constantly chasing them. Those of my girls that are older, spent most of their lives without a cock and are not accustomed to cursory courtship!
I have a mobile phone to set an alarm for the time when Iwantwake up. And as soon as I turn it off, he pauses. This is enough for me.
I agree - there is nothing more beautiful than admiring the majestic cock with the feathers shining in the sun, the big red comb and the "beard and the tail feathers waving in the wind! However... there are equally fine breeds of chickens!
Considering all that has been said, personally, I prefer not to hold a cock in my pack. I'm happy that my chickens do not have injuries on their back, which the cock inflicts with its spurs during mating. If I decide that I need to increase the number of hens in a pack, then I just buy fertilized eggs. In addition, I can all day enjoy the silence, which does not violate the rooster's singing.
I agree that the cock crowing is most associated with the atmosphere of village life. In addition, I watch with delight the little cockerels, when they first try to crow... However, I feel relieved when they are taken in good hands before they become aggressive. Fortunately, focusing on fairly rare breeds, I easily attach young males.
If you still decide to keep a cock, here are some useful tips:
Good ratio of hens and cocks in the pack
With the content of one cock in a pack of 10-12 hens will help reduce the risk of damage to feathering and injuries to chickens.
Cocks of complaisance will show less aggression towards a person. Such breeds include: Orpington, Australorp, Favelol and even Silki and Bentham.
Cultivation of cocks from day-old chicks and constant contact with them subsequently leads to a significant reduction in aggression.
Buy special protection for hens
You must foresee that during mating, the cock can claw the chickens with claws. Special "saddles" will help protect the backs of birds, while they do not interfere with the growth of new feathers.
However, it should be noted that the "saddles" slightly restrict the movement of the hens and prevent them from fluffing feathers to cool the body in the summer and warm it in the winter. In addition, darkness and heat under the "saddle" - a favorable environment for the reproduction of mites and lice. Therefore, think carefully before making a final decision regarding the purchase of "saddles".
As for incessant crowing... it's up to you!