If you are are looking into getting chickens for eggs, one question you may wonder about is "do roosters lay eggs?"
To answer the question can roosters lay eggs, first you need to understand basic chicken terminology. (And maybe also understand a little basic biology.) If you don't already know, a rooster is a mature male chicken.
Do roosters lay eggs?
No, roosters do not lay eggs. They are male chickens and just like most other species do not have eggs. Only hens, or female chickens, are able to lay eggs. Though, if you want your hens to lay fertile eggs to hatch chicks, you will need a rooster.
Just like other species, the females (hens in the case of chickens) are the only ones who have eggs. In fact, whether you chicken lays eggs or not is one of the best ways to sex a chicken since it is very clear cut that roosters do not have eggs and hens do. If you have a rooster that starts laying eggs, spoiler alert: it's not a rooster.
Given this, you may have a few questions about why you want roosters and if they do affect the egg laying ability of hens. Read on to find out the details.
Do chickens need a rooster to lay eggs?
No, hens don't need a rooster in order to lay eggs. Your hens will produce eggs even without a rooster around. They will lay just as many eggs as they would with a rooster around. So, having a rooster will not affect the amount of eggs you get.
However, if you want to hatch your own chicks either by incubating chicken eggs or using a broody hen to hatch chicks then you WILL need a rooster. Because the eggs hens produce without roosters will all be unfertilized eggs. In order to hatch chicks, your eggs must be fertilized by a rooster.
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
In order to hatch and raise baby chicks from your flock, you will need fertilized eggs. And, you can only get fertilized eggs if you have a rooster (or roosters) with your hens so that your chickens can mate. So, if you want to get chicks, then you will need a rooster.
Can I eat fertilized eggs?
Yes, you can eat fertlized eggs, they are just the same as unfertilized eggs unless a chick has actually started to develop. So, don't be worried to add a rooster to your flock if you are wanting to eat your eggs.
Obviously, you want to collect eggs regularly and not let them sit around for a few days before bringing them in.
This way your hens won't have time to sit on the fertilized eggs and start them developing into a chick. But you want to regularly collect your eggs even if you don't have fertilized eggs, so this shouldn't be any extra work.
Why would you want a rooster?
Even though eggs aren't a benefit to having a rooster, roosters do have many uses.
First, roosters tend to be much more colorful and flashy than hens. So, if you want really striking looking birds in your flock, you may want to add a rooster or two.
In addition to their bright colors, and crazier feathers, roosters can be a lot of fun to watch. They behave a little differently than hens and you can often times see them trying to woo the hens by doing a cute little dance to show off.
Also, as mentioned above, while chickens can lay eggs without roosters, in order to get fertilized eggs you need a rooster. So, if you want to hatch your own chicks, you will also want a rooster.
Additionally, roosters are good flock protectors. They will help ward off potential predators. We actually had one of our boys defend his girls against a predator one night - he was almost killed, but he kept all of his girls safe and we were able to nurse him back to health.
Roosters are typically a little more bossy or even aggressive with the rest of the chickens in a flock. And while having too many roosters in too small of a space or flock can lead to fighting, having a rooster or two can help keep the rest of your chickens in line.
Care for Hens
Not only are roosters good for flock protection, they will also do other things to care for the hens in your flock. Often times, roosters will find a food and call all the hens over to partake in what he found.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.