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In praise of roosters

I received the following defense of roosters.  This is in regards to proposed changes to the "keeping livestock" bylaws for rural residential neighborhoods.

As a Backyard Chicken Farmer with 16 chickens – 1 rooster and 15 hens – who has completed extensive research in small flock farming and has years of experience in raising backyard chickens, I offer the following thoughts and adjustments to the Proposed Zoning Bylaw Regulations:

Parcel Size

  • Adjust #2 from 500m to 2500m to 500m to 2000m.
  • Adjust #3 from 2500m to 4000m to 2000m to 4000m.


This reduction from 2500m to 2000m would fall more in line with actual property sizes and be less limiting.

Adjust the complete ban of roosters to allowing 1 rooster, or 1 rooster per 12 hens.  
A small poultry flock is of great benefit to a rural setting, and a flock of 10-25 hens is incomplete without a rooster which serves 3 main purposes: defense, curtail negative hen behavior, and fertilization.

With my free range birds the rooster is the bodyguard for the flock – he will fend off hawks, owls and other predators.  The rooster is the ‘head of the family’. He watches over and maintains order in the flock – otherwise hens can cluck at and peck each other incessantly, even causing death. He fertilizes the eggs which enables a ‘broody’ hen to hatch baby chicks – a natural and economical way to maintain the flock.  Chicks raised and taught by their mother hen (rather than from an incubator) are calmer and more ‘free range savvy’.

One rooster is adequate for 10 to 12 hens. Flocks of 25 or more would be better serviced and maintained by 2 or more roosters.  Multiple roosters are only a problem when there are not enough hens to go around.

I would be more than happy to share my experience and knowledge with any who care to learn more about backyard chicken farming, and especially ‘neighbourly’ chicken farming.

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