Hens don’t need a rooster in order to lay eggs. Without a rooster, the eggs are infertile. They won’t develop into young chicks. If you are interested in breeding your own hens, then you will need a rooster. Hens, however, will lay eggs without having a rooster around.
A virile rooster will mate frequently with most or all of the hens in its coop, no matter what the breed. A good minimum ratio is 8 to 10 hens per rooster.
A rooster will serve as a guard and defender against perceived and actual danger. He’ll scan the sky and ground looking for potential predators. He will warn the hens if he senses danger. Some roosters will defend their flock with their life. They will normally position themselves between the flock and the outside unknown.
He’ll seek out food for the flock and alert the other backyard chickens that he’s found something tasty. Usually he’ll stand back and let the hens get started before he begins to partake himself. It is fun to see them “tidbit” call the girls. He will sing to them and court them by dipping his wing and dancing around them. All the girls are more relaxed since they know that he is on guard.
Roosters do crow and some people really like that sound. Some people think that silkies have a quieter crow than other breeds. I think that it really depends on the individual rooster. They all sound slightly different and I can tell which rooster is crowing by his individual sound.
A rooster is a handsome bird. It is fun to watch him strutting around the yard and being in charge. Generally, the more a cockerel is handled as a chick, the less likely he is to become an aggressive rooster. Again, some people think that silkie roosters are less aggressive than other breeds. It depends on the individual rooster.
Within each flock there is a social order, or pecking order, that exists among the hens. A rooster will help maintain order by breaking up fights in the hen house. The rooster will keep them focused on him.
Many people like to watch the interaction between the rooster and the hens. Each has his own personality and can be quite entertaining. If a flock consists of only hens, typically one hen will take over the running of the flock. This can lead to aggression. Some hens take it so seriously that they can begin to crow.
I’ve had flocks of just hens before, and I can say that my hen’s truly seem happier with one or two good, responsible roosters around. Roosters will look after the hens, alert them to food and even help them find good spots to lay their eggs.
For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com . VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.
Victoria J. Peterson