Your chickens’ reproduction needs care and attention from you so that they can happily lay eggs and give births to many lovely baby chicks. Thus, you will need some knowledge to take care of your chickens.
One of the things you may wonder is: “Can a rooster lay eggs?” They cannot. Roosters don’t have the required organs to grow and develop eggs, unlike the hens.
Can a rooster lay eggs?
Rooster (or fully-matured male chickens) cannot lay eggs. Only female chickens can lay eggs. Female chickens possess hundreds of potential eggs inside their body, which male chickens don’t have.
Why can’t roosters lay eggs?
Rooster’s reproduction organs include:
Roosters have testes that are located high in the abdominal cavity near the backbone and in front of the kidney. They consist of many slender ducts.
Roosters’ testes grow and shrink on a regular basis, but get larger when actively mating.
Testes have 2 functions, none of which is forming or developing eggs. They are: creating sperm and producing male hormones.
Male hormones can affect male behavior, mating, tail feathers’ sizes, the comb growth atop roosters’ heads, their feet’ spur, and the red wattles under the chins.
Deferent ducts carry the sperm to the roosters’ papilla and then to the cloaca. The ducts are narrow next to the testes and get bigger as they are near the papilla.
Papilla and cloaca
The papilla is located on the back wall of the cloaca under the tail feathers. The cloaca is used on both roosters and hens to excrete urine and feces.
The sperm goes through the deferent ducts and exits the rooster through the cloaca using the papilla, then it is transferred to the hen.
The sperm takes about 15 days to form, and the rooster will produce about 35000 sperm a second. The sperm’s quality depends on genetics, nutrition, and environment.
So, none of the roosters’ organs for reproduction can form, develop, and lay eggs. The ovaries are what form and develop the eggs, which only female chickens possess.
The formation of the eggs
When a hen hits its laying age, some ova inside the ovary will start to develop into an egg yolk, which is contained in one follicle. The yolk moves away from the follicle when it is ready for the next stage.
After the yolk moves down to the reproductive tract from the ovary, the egg is ready for laying as the white of the egg forms.
When the yolk enters the infundibulum (the oviduct’s entrance) from the ovary, the fertilization of the egg starts. This is where you need a rooster in the process of creating eggs.
After that, it doesn’t matter if the rooster is present or not, the yolk goes to the oviduct’s magnum and isthmus divisions. The albumen (or the white form) forms around the eggs in these divisions.
Then, the chalaza extends and attaches to the other side of the lining membrane from the yolk. The egg starts to look like an actual egg in this stage, just without the eggshell.
This whole process takes up about 4 hours or more.
The eggshell starts to develop in the uterus through the shell gland. The outer shell, also known as the bloom or the cuticle, forms an antimicrobial barrier.
The eggshell takes about 20 hours to grow and 1 hour to develop the color on the outer shell.
Do hens need a rooster to lay eggs?
Roosters’ only role in the formation of the eggs is when they come and mate with the hens to fertilize the eggs.
The hens don’t stop laying eggs if the roosters are not present. The roosters have no effect on the hens’ schedule of laying eggs. The eggs take about 24 hours or more to form.
Why would you want a rooster in your coop?
So, male chickens cannot lay eggs, and you don’t need the male chickens’ presence for the female chickens to lay eggs, why would you need a rooster?
Roosters are appealing
Rooster is more flashy and colorful than hens thanks to sometimes more vibrant tail feathers, so you could add one or a few roosters if you want good-looking chickens in your coop.
Roosters can protect the flock
Also, roosters can protect the eggs from predators that try to steal the eggs like rodents. They can keep your flock safe by fighting the predators and alert when there is one approaching the flock.
Roosters enable hens’ natural lives
By having roosters and hens, you let your hens live their natural lives. The roosters can break up hen fights, encourage laying eggs, find and give food to hens, and look after the nest boxes.
Additionally, the roosters may entertain you since they have lots of personalities. But, not everyone is fond of the roosters’ personality.
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Some reasons that you don’t want a rooster
Roosters may violate the zoning laws
Try to check out the rules in your areas to keep your roosters in the allowed zone.
Roosters may be noisy
Roosters usually crow in the morning or some random times. Try to consider your neighbor’s reactions when you want to acquire a rooster.
Roosters can attack humans
Roosters can consider humans as predators, and the spurs on their ankles can damage your skin. So you need to train the roosters or don’t own one if you have children or occasional visitors.
If you have too many roosters but too few hens, one rooster can mate with up to 10 or 12 hens since chickens’ sex is not consensual like humans’.
As a result, the hen will begin to show wear like physical exhaustion and backs that are rubbed clean of feathers.
Can a rooster incubate eggs?
Will the rooster incubate the eggs after the hen dies? They won’t, only hens will continue to incubate the eggs. So you can try putting the eggs of the dead hens under another broody hen to continue the incubation.
A rooster cannot lay eggs. Their reproductive organs can’t form and develop eggs. Ovaries are required to lay eggs, and only female species have that organ.
The roles of the rooster have little to do with the egg productions, their only role is mating with the hens and fertilizing the eggs.
With that said, roosters have their own appeals. They are beautiful and flashy, they can protect the hens and baby chicks from predators, and ensure your hens get to live their natural lives.
Image credits – Photo by Sean Bernstein, Nana Abashidze on Unsplash