The Role of a Rooster and the Benefits of Having One

The primary role of a rooster in a flock of chickens is to fertilize the eggs laid by the hens. Aside from fertilizing eggs, roosters also play a protective role in the flock. They are naturally aggressive and territorial animals that will defend their hens from predators, such as hawks, foxes, and other animals that may threaten the flock.
Another benefit of having a rooster in the flock is that they can help to establish a pecking order among the hens, which can reduce aggression and fighting within the flock. Additionally, the presence of a rooster can help to stimulate the hens to lay more eggs, as the hens will be more likely to mate and produce fertilized eggs.
Unfortunately, roosters are not usually allowed within the city limits in most states because of noise ordinances. But if that law doesn’t apply to you, a rooster most definitely has an important role in maintaining a harmonious social structure among the hens. Lucky you!

Special Considerations for Keeping a Rooster

As a general rule of thumb, a rooster can comfortably handle around 10-12 hens in a flock. It’s important to provide enough space and resources for all the birds to thrive, and to monitor the flock for any signs of aggression or over-mating, which can be harmful to the hens. Keep in mind, a spacious area for you flock is always a better environment when a rooster is present.

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Spring Cleaning the Chicken Coop Here’s How in Six Steps

That Once a Year Deep Clean Time Has Arrived

After months of cold weather, the coop is probably about as foul as it ever gets, so it’s that time of year for deep cleaning. That means bedding, nest boxes, roosts, feeders & drinkers, and scraping up all the soiled material from the floor.

Confine the chickens to an outdoor run for the day with a sandbox or fresh dirt to have a nice dust bath while their coop is being cleaned. It’s best to let the coop air out & dry for most of the day before adding new shavings and bedding. Choose a sunny breezy day for this not-so-fun chore because the coop will air out and dry quicker. Don’t forget to wear gloves, boots, and a mask when cleaning, there’s going to be all kinds of nasty dust and muck stirred up that can’t be healthy for you… so gear up and protect yourself.

If your chickens are in a shed or enclosed structure, avoid harsh cleaners, vinegar & Dawn dish soap is a suitable cleaner and safe for you and your birds. Use a putty knife to scrape off hard-to-clean areas, and sweep out all the old bedding and pests that have probably been hiding in there over the winter. If you have windows, brush off the cobwebs and all the feathers stuck in them, get the Windex, and make the glass shine.

There are always repairs or needed improvements on chicken coops, and this is the time to address them. Duct tape, zip ties, and baling wire go a long way to fixing things, so make sure you’re armed with these valuable tools. 🙂

After the coop has been thoroughly cleaned, add your fresh bedding, feeders & drinkers, and nest boxes, and don’t be afraid to move things around and make changes. Chickens don’t mind change, and a little change of scenery might even be welcomed. Before returning your birds to the coop, this is a good time to check their individual overall health and address accordingly.

The Simple Version:
Here Are the Six Spring Cleaning Steps to Follow:

  1. Empty the coop: Start by removing all of the bedding and nesting material from the coop. This includes any straw or wood shavings, as well as any old eggs or feathers that may have accumulated.
  2. Scrub the coop: Use a scrub brush and mild detergent to thoroughly clean the inside of the coop. Pay special attention to the corners and crevices, where dirt and bacteria can accumulate. Rinse the coop with clean water and allow it to dry completely.
  3. Treat for pests: Check for any signs of pests, such as mites or lice. If you see any, treat the coop and chickens with a pest control product that is safe for use around poultry.
  4. Inspect and repair: Inspect the coop for any signs of wear or damage, such as holes in the walls or roof. Repair any damage before adding new bedding to the coop.
  5. Add new bedding: Once the coop is clean and dry, add fresh bedding to the floor and nest boxes. Choose a bedding material that is appropriate for your chickens, such as straw or wood shavings.
  6. Restock supplies: Check your supplies of food and restock as needed, make sure you have extra in case of a shortage.

By following these instructions, you can ensure that your chickens have a clean and healthy living environment.

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Most Common Urban Chicken Predators in Phoenix AZ

How to Keep your Flock Safe from These Common Natural Predators

Biggest Threat: Coyote

Coyotes are common in urban areas of Phoenix and are known to prey on chickens. These animals are highly adaptable predators that can thrive in a variety of habitats, including rural, and highly populated urban areas. They are opportunistic hunters & it’s almost certain the coyote will eventually find your chickens.
Note: The coyote rarely takes one bird, they are known to kill the entire flock, take one or two birds and leave the dead behind.

Note: The coyote rarely takes one bird, they are known to kill the entire flock, take one or two birds and leave the dead behind.

Harris Hawk

The Harris Hawk is a bird of prey that can swoop down and carry off small animals, including chickens. They are known to be skilled predators, and they hunt a variety of prey. They hunt in groups, which is uncommon among raptors.
They often hunt cooperatively, with one bird flushing prey from cover while another waits in ambush. This allows them to take down larger prey than they could handle alone.
The Harris hawk is a skilled and adaptable hunter that has evolved unique hunting behaviors to maximize its chances of success in capturing prey.


Bobcats are carnivorous animals and are known to prey on a variety of animals, including chickens. When hunting chickens, bobcats use their keen senses of sight, hearing, and smell to detect their prey. So it’s especially important to keep your keep clean. Bobcats typically wait until dusk to hunt, but keep in mind, I have experienced an attack during the day, so always assume your birds are at risk if unprotected. Bobcats aren’t known to be greedy, they usually take just one bird.

Note: Bobcats aren’t known to be greedy, they usually take just one bird.


Raccoons are known to be skilled at breaking into chicken coops and killing chickens. They are not a huge threat in the city, but I have seen them on our urban farm.
Raccoons are a type of mammal that are known for their distinctive “hands.” Raccoon hands which are very dexterous and have long, flexible fingers that can grasp and manipulate objects with ease, such as latches on coop doors.


Rattlesnakes can pose a threat to chickens, they are venomous snakes that are found not only in desert areas but the city as well. They are known to prey on small animals which includes birds. Chickens are potential prey for rattlesnakes because they are small and often forage on the ground, which makes them vulnerable to snake attacks. If a rattlesnake can get into a chicken coop or other chicken enclosure, it may be able to kill or injure chickens.

How to Protect Your Backyard Flock From Predators

Secure your coop: Make sure that your coop is secure and predator-proof. This includes using sturdy materials for the coop, such as wire mesh or hardware cloth, and ensuring that all openings are covered with tight-fitting, predator-resistant material. It is also important to have a strong lock on the door, as many predators are quite clever at finding their way in.
Provide a secure run: A run is a fenced-in area where your chickens can roam during the day. Make sure the run is secure with a sturdy fence that is buried at least 6 inches into the ground to prevent predators from digging underneath it. Cover the top of the run with netting or wire mesh to prevent hawks or other birds of prey from swooping in.
Keep the area clean: Predators are attracted to areas where they can easily find food, so make sure to clean up any spilled food or water and store feed in a secure container. Also, remove any debris or brush around the coop that predators could use as cover. Droppings from your birds are also an attractant, clean the coop at least once a week.
Use lights and sound: Some predators are deterred by lights or loud noises. You can install motion-activated lights around the coop or a device that emits sound to deter predators.

Congratulations! By learning how to protect your birds, you have done your part to help keep your flock safe from predators. 🙂

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