Q: Does the Rooster Crow at Dawn - and do we REALLY need one?
A: Many folks have sheepishly asked me questions about the rooster's part in egg production - the most recent was a gentleman I met who owned an Antique Shop. He was surprised to learn that a rooster is not necessary if eggs for eating is all a person wants. And having a rooster on the premises does not increase the amount of eggs a hen will lay, either. Roos are needed only if you wish to obtain fertilized eggs for hatching or eating (some folks believe there may be nutritional benefits in fertilized egg consumption). Fertilization takes place after the rooster breeds the hen, and before the eggshell is formed. Once the egg is refrigerated, the embryo would not continue to grow and hatch in the refrigerator! It would be perfectly safe to eat. Blood spots or meat spots on the surface of an egg? No, that does not mean it was a baby chick forming. It's only the sign of a broken blood vessel during ovulation. Again, safe to eat. 1% of all hens in production will lay eggs like these, and they are not always caught by egg producers or farmers before shipping to the stores or customers. If it bothers you, they can easily be removed with the tip of a knife.
Eggs DO start to lose protein the longer they sit, though refrigeration helps to arrest protein loss. Most scientific nutritional organizations claim there is little to no difference in nutritional benefits between fertilized and non-fertilizedeggs.
On another note - - Roosters crow at dawn, and what ever else time pleases them! No matter how extremely beautiful a rooster may be, the crowing in our woods would annoy me no end, so I would not own one at this point in time. Another reason not to keep a rooster is the fact that some will breed hens mercilessly, clawing their backs and ripping out feathers, causing the hens to bleed, and possible cannibalism would result. For eating eggs, and happy hens, a rooster is totally unnecessary!
If you have any questions about chickens or their care, please ask, and I'll be happy to try and answer them!