Roosters can be aggressive, not just towards us and predators - but towards the hens in their flock and new baby chicks, too.
Not all roosters will be aggressive or hurt baby chicks, but I do hear about it happening more often than I’d like to.
Personally, I would always separate baby chicks from roosters to be on the safe side.
With something as serious as the health and wellbeing of delicate baby chicks, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Can Roosters Be Around Baby Chicks?
Generally speaking, roosters can be around baby chicks and there shouldn’t be any problems.
Raising backyard chickens is different than observing how wild chickens live.
There is often less space for hens and roosters to live in, and the role of a rooster isn’t exactly the same when they’re in captivity.
I do hear of incidents where roosters have harmed baby chicks, so it’s something you need to be aware of.
I don’t know exactly why it happens, as each case is different, but it’s important to know that it does happen.
Therefore, I think it makes sense to either keep a very close eye on baby chicks that have just hatched or step in to ensure they are safe.
The problem arises when you’re not there to help if a rooster does peck at a chick. They can cause harm in a matter of seconds, and most people find out when it’s too late.
How Do Roosters React to Chicks?
You can never be 100% sure how a rooster is going to react to chicks. It largely comes down to that rooster's individual personality and temperament.
I think the easiest way of explaining this is that some roosters are better dads than others!
When introducing roosters to chicks, it’s best that you’re present to see how they react.
Some roosters will be protective of chicks, and even try to sit on them to help keep them warm in the absence of a hen.
If you have a caring rooster, this is one of the cutest things you’ll see.
On the other hand, some roosters are aggressive or just won’t pay any attention to new chicks.
It doesn’t help to answer the question this way, but the only way to find out how a rooster reacts to new chicks is to see how the rooster behaves.
Not just in that brief moment when they first meet the chicks, you’ll need to monitor them while the chicks are young and vulnerable.
Related - Do Roosters Sit on Eggs?
Do Roosters Protect Chicks?
Roosters protect hens and their other flock mates, it’s one of their primary roles. But protecting chicks is not something all roosters will do naturally.
Some roosters will be protective, I’ve seen it myself. But some roosters will not be, and that’s where you need to be careful.
It’s just not safe to assume that a rooster will step up and help out with fatherly duties!
If you have chicks being hatched into your flock by a hen, seeing nature take its course and watching mother hen in action is one of life’s miracles.
It doesn’t mean you’re not needed to make sure things are going smoothly though.
You can’t rely on hens to protect their young, either.
Some hens will make sure a rooster can’t harm their chicks. But at the same time, I’ve heard countless times that a hen did nothing to protect her young from a rooster.
Should You Put Chicks in a Brooder?
Brooders, often called mini-coops or either poultry or chick brooders, are basically heated enclosures that provide a safe space to raise chicks or other baby birds.
They’re typically used when eggs have been hatched in an incubator as there is no mother hen to incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
Brooders typically have a heat lamp, so you can regulate the temperature and a place for food and fresh water.
If you want to keep an eye on your chicks and know they’re completely safe, using a brooder is the best option.
I know that some people prefer to have their chicks in a brooder instead of being cared for by the mother hen when roosters are around.
The decision is yours to make. The chicks may be perfectly safe outdoors, but a brooder does provide a safer place for them.
There is a risk that a rooster will hurt a baby chick, so you should introduce them carefully and be prepared to separate chicks if needed.
If you have any concerns at all that your rooster will harm your new chicks, place them in a brooder until they are strong enough to fend for themselves.