Farm Farm

Why He Had to Go

King Strut, my beautiful Blue Crested Polish rooster.

About a month ago I decided I needed to get a rooster. Even though my towns zoning rules prohibit a crowing rooster, I decided that I would get one and just hope for the best. My sister knows somebody that had their rooster’s vocal cords cut by their veterinarian with wonderful results.

Roosters serve a purpose in the flock. They protect the flock from predators, serving as a constant guard to danger and alerting the ladies if they need to take cover. I realized that this responsibility would be diminished if I actually did get his vocal cords cut, but I figured he could run around and frantically flap his wings and make guttural noises or something if I ever did cut his vocal cords.

Roosters also are more than happy to fertilize the eggs by having frequent sex with any and all of the hens. The only reason I was interested in this was for the occasional broody hen that I get. When a hen goes “broody”, her natural instincts are calling for her to hatch some of her eggs. She’ll lay a “clutch” of eggs, usually from an egg or two to as many as 8 or 10. She’ll even take (or steal — literally roll them out of one nesting box into hers) donations from other hens to add to her clutch.

I had one Japanese Bantam hen that tried to stuff over a dozen eggs under her. She was one determined girl. You can read all about Chow Mein and her enormous clutch of eggs here. She may have been my most favorite chicken ever. Well, her and Mrs. Pocket too.

Chow Mein is collecting every egg laid in the coop and trying to stuff them under her little bantam body without much success.

The problem is, without a rooster to fertilize the eggs, they won’t hatch no matter how long the hens sit on them. It’s heartbreaking for me to see my girls lay a clutch of eggs, set on them, depriving themselves of food and water for days at a time, only to have their eggs turn out to be duds. What joy I would get from watching one of my proud new momma’s parading around her newly hatches chicks!

Plus, I was tired of hawks making daytime snatch-and-grabs and the occasional nocturnal predator attack by a fox or raccoon.

While at my local Agway for feed and hay about a month ago they had the most incredible variety of beautiful roosters. They had all been hand-raised by an old Italian guy in his basement, but 15 of his 30 chicks had turned out to be roosters, so he gave them to the Agway to sell. I hadn’t planned on getting a rooster that day, but this one was so beautiful I had to take him home.

For two days he was perfect. He integrated beautifully into the flock. He was not aggressive towards me, my kids, or his ladies. (Some roosters are downright abusive to their women, pecking them, and pulling out their back feathers). At night he would wait outside the door to the coop until every last girl was inside for the night before he would go in for the night. Everything was perfect.

Then he started crowing.

All the time.


I called my vet, who really has very little experience with farm animals. While he’d heard of the vocal cord cutting procedure, he was unwilling to perform it.

Then The Great Egg Mystery occurred. Where were all my eggs going? It was as if they were vanishing into thin air. Some days I would only collect as few as 3 eggs — from 27 laying hens!

That’s when I put the connection together that when King Strut arrived, my girls stopped laying. I think his constant crowing and the fear of being jumped on from behind had them all in a state.

So I finally decided between the crowing, (which was bound to end his stay any day anyway with a visit by the building or health department), and the disappearing eggs, he had to go.

I brought him back to the Agway. I hope they find him a really nice home. He was truly a lovely rooster.

Yesterday I collected 19 eggs. Today I was in New York most of the day, but Maia collected 18 eggs.

I was glad that my theory was correct.

Which just goes to prove a point. Even though you think a man is around to do a job and serve a purpose, a lot of the time they just make a lot of noise and make you uptight.

Adios King Strut.


  1. sorry to see him go, but what a fascinating experiment. glad you were right so that you know you made the right decision. I’ll keep my mouth shut about the presence of men 🙂

  2. Anytime you need some quick fertile eggs e-mail me. I’ll meet you at the barn. Or you can borrow my roo! Ha

  3. King Strut was great. At least he was given a chance for another lovely home.

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