roosterRoosters, as it turns out, make pretty good pets if raised under the right conditions. And yes, just to get it out of the way, fellas, if you do choose to take a rooster on as a pet, the “cock” joke potential is theoretically endless.

“Hey baby, wanna come back to my pad and stroke my well-trained cock?”

(Man gets slapped.)

“I was talking about my pet rooster. His name is Bruno, and he’s a real joy.”

(Man gets sympathy for initial slap.)

Cock and KFC humor aside, there are some real benefits to buying a rooster chick, and then training it up as a lovable pet. Of course, a rooster would be better suited to a house with a yard or some adjacent land, which means condominium owners and apartment dwellers might want to think twice about plugging into the world of domestic fowl ownership. Regardless (and no matter where you happen to live), I’d like to go over a few of the pros and cons of keeping a pet rooster:

Handle Your Pet From a Young Age

If you do opt for a pet rooster or chicken, handle the bird from a very young age. The more you handle a rooster chick, the calmer it will tend to be — even if he doesn’t have a lot of hens about to “play” with or protect. Get ready for your little rooster to follow you around everywhere. Once he’s hatched and bonded, he’s yours for the duration.

Roosters Are Damn Smart

Studies have shown that roosters are in the intelligence range of dogs, and even young chicks exhibit traits that make them smarter than human toddlers in many ways. They’re good at math (not long division, of course), as well as sorting out complex problems based on the relative size and shape of an object, or its practical application in relation to the needs and wants of a chicken. So much for treating them like “bird brains.”

Rooster intelligence is an important factor that will help you decide if you want one as a pet or not, and how to instruct one and treat it if you do go the domesticated cock route. Tricks, name recognition, long-term memory, sophisticated calls, and solving rather complex problems are all possibilities in the world of farm fowl.

Guard Roosters and Crowing

You’ll have to put up with crowing. That’s just what roosters do, and there’s no getting around it. All of that macho rooster posturing will come in handy, though, if you raise your bird right. Your bird will “tell” you when an intruder enters the premises, or anyone for that matter, as long as you’ve treated your cock with kindness during his upbringing (never, ahem, beat your cock). He’ll even defend you, his loving owner, with his life.

Affection

As long as you get to your rooster when he’s a chick and handle him often, he should enjoy your company and affection immensely. If he’s older, and as been left to his wild devices for too long, good luck in taming him. Better start out with a young’n, and play it safe.

Rooster Romance

Roosters raised without hens will probably do all right without them in the future, but when that special time in your adolescent pet rooster’s life approaches, you might want to get, or at the very least, set up a meeting with a few hens so that this randy fellow can take care of business. A little chicken romance should calm his nerves down. And besides, who are you to stand in the way of fowl love?

You can always go for an artificial hen stand-in as well, like a stuffed toy animal, if you don’t want a bunch of hens clucking about. Just make sure you wash it often, and that you’re down with a lot of dry humping in your house.

Cock Fighting (not that kind)

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Cock fighting is abhorrent. Don’t do it. That being said, if you handle your pet rooster like you handle a pit bull, he’ll respond to your aggression. If you remain clam, chances are, so will he. Leave the playful roughhousing for your human or canine companions.

Rooster Toilet Training

Yes, it is possible to house train a rooster, but you’ll have to be very patient. When he starts to go, tell him “no,” and then take him to the desired area (outside, a special box) where you’d like him to do the deed. This might take a lot of time, and not all roosters will housebreak, but when your cock finally gets the hang of it, praise him effusively when he chooses the right place to drop his “fowl” load.

Selecting Your Pet Rooster

Different breeds of chickens and roosters come with different typical characteristics and personalities. While most farming folk choose their birds for other reasons than raising a pet, you can ask some of your local farmers their opinions on different breeds, or you can consult Henderson’s Hand Dandy Chicken Chart to get some idea of what’s out there.

While a pet rooster or chicken might not be for everyone, if you love animals, or would just like an intelligent companion of a different sort, a pet rooster just might be for you. Just try not to cock it up.