Have you caught your rooster sitting on eggs like he’s trying to incubate and hatch them?
It’s known to happen, and I’ve certainly seen it myself a few times.
I have to say that roosters do sit on eggs occasionally, but they will not take the place of a hen and incubate eggs or hatch them.
I researched this long and hard and I wasn’t able to find any evidence that a rooster has ever sat on an egg and hatched it.
Do Roosters Lay On the Eggs?
It’s not unheard of for a rooster to sit or lay on an egg briefly, but roosters will not lay on eggs in an attempt to hatch them.
It’s important to know this as if you have one or more hens that are not sitting on eggs for any reason, you cannot use a rooster as a replacement.
For a chicken egg to be successfully incubated, a hen needs to sit on it for around 21 days – you’ll be lucky to get a few hours from a rooster!
Incubating and hatching eggs is a delicate process. A hen needs to regulate the temperature of her eggs over those 21 days, and will rarely take time away from sitting on them.
If you want to hatch eggs without a hen doing it naturally, your best option is to use an incubator.
Incubators are small devices that essentially simulate avian incubation. They keep eggs at the optimal temperature and humidity until they hatch.
Are Roosters Protective of Eggs?
Roosters are protective of hens, and this often means being aggressive when someone tries to collect eggs from near or underneath a hen.
They’re typically not protective of eggs though.
Roosters play a vital role within a flock of chickens, especially in the wild. Their main job is to ensure the safety of their flockmates.
Roosters will get vocal, flap around, and even charge at predators or people when they come close to their hens if they perceive a threat.
With hens often sitting on eggs or being near to their nest area of eggs, this is often seen as a rooster trying to protect those eggs.
I can’t rule out that this does happen sometimes, roosters can be fairly unpredictable. But generally speaking, I’ve never seen or heard of a rooster being protective over eggs.
Why Do Roosters Sit On Hens?
This is a question that I see cropping up now and then, and much to the surprise of many I explain that this is how roosters mate with hens!
To give you a little more perspective on how chickens mate, it goes down like this:
First of all, a rooster will do a mating dance where they kind of skip around in a circle and flap their wings a little.
If he gets the signal he’s looking for from the hen, he will mount the hen and dig his claws into the side of her to hold on.
This is what looks like a rooster is sitting on a hen – because essentially they are.
A little bit of clucking and a few seconds later the rooster hops off of the hen and the whole thing is all over.
That’s all it takes for a rooster to transfer semen into a hen.
This semen will then fertilize several eggs, although unless those eggs are hatched you’d never know they were fertile.
Can All Chickens Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
Hens will lay eggs whether there is a rooster in the flock or not.
In fact, in a lot of flocks, hens will be happier without the harassment of a rooster and will lay more eggs.
The only difference having a rooster in a flock makes is that the eggs being laid may be fertilized.
Whether an egg is fertilized or not makes no difference if you’re intending on selling the eggs for consumption or eating them yourself.
Obviously, if you’re intending on hatching eggs they have to be fertilized.
It can get a bit confusing for hens. Sometimes a hen will sit on a clutch of unfertilized eggs if you don’t collect them, and this can be harmful to the hen.
Broody hens sit on eggs for many hours at a time without taking a bathroom break, drinking, or eating.
If the eggs are not fertilized and do not hatch within 21 days, this can cause a hen considerable stress.
Do Roosters Go Broody?
Roosters do not go broody, no.
When a hen goes broody they experience a change in hormones and their natural instinct to hatch eggs kicks in.
This is something that roosters are simply not capable of feeling or doing.
It’s a good thing really, a broody hen can be difficult to manage if you’re not intending on hatching any eggs!
Roosters will not sit on eggs to hatch them.
They may sit on eggs briefly, but it’s not because they are broody or want to incubate them – neither are they able to.
If you want to hatch some chicks, you either need a broody hen to do it or an incubator. Roosters are not up to the task, it’s as simple as that!
Image credits – Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash