Roosters play many important roles in the flock — Do you know them all?
It’s 3 am. The clear crisp call of a rooster breaks the moonlit night. Once — twice — three times — loud and strong.
And then it comes, the sleepy reply of another rooster. And then another. Then six more. And yes, still more calls answer the first. They answer in quieter tones, but the noise still builds for a moment before the calls fade away in the darkness. It’s still hours until dawn when the real chorus begins.
This is life with roosters.
For every dozen eggs that get hatched, six will be roosters. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but on average 50% of every hatch will be male.
While hens are lauded for their eggs, roosters are maligned because they crow.
That one trait seems to be all that anyone ever talks about when it comes to roosters. The beginning and the end of the rooster’s story.
Somehow roosters have gotten the short end of the stick in our modern back-to-the-land romance where backyard chickens are flourishing and local food is the best meal in town. Their role has been reduced to that of “nuisance”. Many jurisdictions have banned them outright. And don’t even get me started on the commercial egg industry where roosters are seen as by-products and waste! That just makes me crazy.
There would be no hens without roosters somewhere in the game. . . . . Someone has to own roosters.
As fewer and fewer people experience rooster ownership, we lose the knowledge of what makes a rooster great. They are colorful characters that bring a sense of wholeness to the farm. Living with more than a dozen roosters at a time has been a learning experience for me, and an adventure I would not trade. Roosters were once a common symbol of farming, and reached icon status on weather vanes and farm logos. There was a reason for that. How many of the following rooster roles do you recognize?
Yes — roosters crow — and crow a lot.
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