One of the most common questions I hear from readers is about the lifespan of their egg laying hens. What’s interesting is that I don’t get asked very often how long roosters live or what a roosters lifespan is.
Since roosters are an important part of your backyard flock, it’s a good idea to know approximately how long that guy will be hanging around. I mean, roosters do become part of the family. They’re full of personality and sing to you ever morning!
Read More: What To Do With Unwanted Roosters
Why It’s Important to Know a Roosters Life Expectancy
Just like in raising hens for egg production and tracking their productivity vs the total expense in feeding and caring for them, the same hold true for your roosters.
Roosters play a vital role in your chicken flock family dynamic. Roosters are excellent at protecting the hens from predators, locating food sources for them and most importantly, fertilizing their eggs.
But just like egg layers, roosters also have productive years and not so productive years. So you want to know how long a rooster lives so you’ll know when its time to replace him with a younger roo.
How Long Do Roosters Live?
On average, roosters live between 5 to 8 years. But it is not uncommon to hear of roosters that live way up to even 15 years.
Of course, there are many factors that contribute to how long a rooster might live. Some of things that have the most impact on a rooster’s lifespan are
- The amount of room they have to roam
- Environmental and living conditions
- How well they are fed
Doing What You Can To Prolong A Rooster’s Lifespan
Let’s take a little closer look at each of these factors and see how they might affect a roosters lifespan.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that a cooped up rooster with barely any room to even stretch out his wings will have a much shorter lifespan than a rooster who free ranges.
Free ranging roosters gives them the opportunity to do what they do best; Forage, protect and mate.
As long as a rooster has the space to do these things, you can be sure he will live a much longer, and happier life.
Another important factor that contributes to a roosters overall happiness and longevity are the roosters living conditions.
The best situation for your rooster and your hens is a coop or barn that is free from cold and windy drafts and a coop that protects them from the rain and other elements.
Provide a roosting area that is nice and high. Chickens, including roosters, prefer to roost nice and high. This is one of the ways they protect themselves from predators.
Speaking of predators, you want to be sure to keep the coop safe and secure from animals that might try to attack your birds, like skunks and foxes. And don’t forget the run area either. This might be difficult if your chickens have free reign to roam around your property. But if you have a run, you want to be sure to keep it safe from predators as well.
What You’re Feeding Your Rooster
Lastly, but definitely not least, what affects your roosters lifespan is what you’re feeding him. What’s the quality of the chicken feed you’re providing him. Is your rooster eating the same feed as your egg laying hens? Does the rooster have the ability to forage?
Most people allow their rooster to eat the same chicken feed that they provide their hens. This is normal. But it might not be the best for the rooster.
Due to the high calcium levels found in egg layer feed, it can possibly not the healthiest for the rooster. Roosters don’t need such high levels of calcium in their diet since they’re not producing eggs.
Instead, roosters require a chicken feed blend that is higher in protein and lower in calcium. According to Purina Mills, a basic flock raiser type feed is a good option to give to your entire flock, hens and roosters alike. You can then supplement the egg layers calcium needs with oyster shell.
In addition to flock raiser chicken feed, you should do what you can to provide your rooster a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, corn, wheat, insects, and other scraps that help him add variety to his diet.
How To Decide If You Want a Rooster
Now that you know how long a rooster lives for on average, now you have to make the decision if you’re going to add one to your flock or not. Or, if you already own one, whether or not you’re going to keep him.
Before you decide to buy or raise a rooster, some of the things you should ask yourself is if you can commit to caring for him for up to 10 years or so. Roosters are also another mouth to feed, so will you be able to afford feeding and caring for him? Finally, do you have a proper area to house and shelter the rooster?
Finally, before owning a rooster, you should ask yourself if you are someone who is afraid of handling a rooster. Although roosters are great to have, fact is they can be a bit on the aggressive side sometimes. Are you afraid to handle an aggressive bird?
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