Wondering, how long does a rooster live? What age do roosters get spurs? Or, when do roosters start to crow?
If you’re thinking about getting a rooster - or if you already have one - these are some of the questions you should know the answer to.
Well, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, I’m going to try and cover everything you’ll need to know about owning roosters for the duration of their lives.
How Long Does a Rooster Live?
The average lifespan of a rooster is 5 to 8 years.
To answer how long a rooster can live is difficult as there are various environmental factors that affect their lifespan, as well as the breed of the rooster.
As a general rule, however, a rooster living a healthy life should get to the ripe old age (for them) of 8 years or so.
I’ve read online that roosters have been recorded as living as old as 15 years. Which is incredible, but a possibility.
Factors That Affect the Life Expectancy of Roosters and Chickens
The main factors that affect the life expectancy of a rooster, and all chickens are:
If you want your rooster to live a long and happy life, it starts with a well-balanced diet of good nutrition.
Feeding chickens a good diet is easy and inexpensive - so there are no excuses!
You need to provide a quality poultry pellet as the base of their diet. This will ensure they’re getting all the vital nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to ensure they are sustaining healthy development.
In addition to chicken feed, you should go out of your way to provide them some fruits, vegetables, herbs, corn, wheat, insects, and other scraps that help them get some variety in their diet.
Much like us, stress will impact how healthy a rooster is and how long they live for.
Some of the things that stress roosters out are the same as with chickens. Such as living in overcrowded conditions, fearing predators, loud noises and anything else that makes their daily lives less enjoyable.
Much like chickens, free range roosters are much happier than caged or living in cramped conditions.
Something that affects roosters, in particular, is fighting over territory and hens with other roosters. It’s not recommended you have more than one rooster per 10 hens. It’s also something you need to manage carefully within a huge flock.
Environment (Weather + Predators)
Backyard chickens are very good at adapting to their environment, but there’s also a lot we can do to make their lives more comfortable.
Did you know that chickens can’t sweat?
They’re still able to regulate their body temperature. They do so through a process called evaporative cooling, but as owners, we need to be aware of when they’re getting too hot.
Depending on what the weather is like where you live, make sure you invest in a good coop. There should be plenty of shade, good shelter, and easy access to drinking water and food.
Then there are predators. Again, this is very situational depending where you live, but it’s something you need to be very vigilant about.
General health is also a major contributing factor to how old a rooster will live for. Some hereditary conditions can’t be avoided, of course, neither can picking up infections and parasites sometimes.
But if you give them a good standard of health care and treat any illnesses as soon as they present themselves, you can increase their life expectancy for sure.
When Does a Cockerel Become a Rooster?
You are probably familiar with the terms cockerel and rooster. A cockerel is a juvenile rooster or male chicken. While a rooster is a mature or adult male chicken.
I can’t find a definite answer as to exactly when or what the exact point is where a cockerel officially becomes a rooster, but it’s about a year of age.
What Age Do Roosters Get Spurs?
If you’ve ever wondered what that hard bone-like growth on the back of a roosters heel is, that’s called a “spur”. Just like cowboys have spurs on the back of their boots to help them control their horses.
The spur is actually one of the ways people sex a young chick as they start developing as early as 3 months old. It takes a lot longer for them to fully develop, however, often as long as 9 months to start developing.
They use their spurs as defensive weapons to defend their flock and fight with other roosters and predators.
Aggressive roosters can do some serious damage with their spurs. I’ve even heard of backyard chicken owners having to get rid of roosters that are too hostile and aggressive.
Related content - Do rats attack chickens?
When Do Roosters Start to Crow?
Love it or hate it, roosters might be best known for crowing loudly when the sun rises in the morning - as well as periodicity throughout the day when they feel like it too.
In my experience, Roosters start to crow from about 3 months old. Hearing that first crow is an awesome moment, and once they start it becomes regular pretty quickly. They do tend to slow down as they age, which is to be expected.
How Long Do Roosters Crow in the Morning?
There’s no standard answer to this question as every rooster is different. If you end up with one of the more active roosters that like to sing a tune from dawn till dusk, I feel sorry for you.
Some do crow for most of the day on and off. While others will just let out that morning crow, and one wherever they need to communicate with hens.
I read various ways people say they try to stop them crowing. But honestly, there isn’t a lot you can do. It comes naturally to roosters, and trying to stop them crowing through means of compromising their lifestyle isn’t fair in my opinion.
In Summary - How Long Does a Rooster Live?
The short answer is that roosters grow up and mature quickly. They can mate from around 4 months old, they are fully grown within a year, and their life expectancy is 8 - 15 years.