The question of whether a rooster is needed for hens to lay eggs is a common one among chicken keepers. The short answer is no, a rooster is not necessary for hens to lay eggs. Hens are capable of laying eggs without the presence of a rooster, but those eggs will not be fertilized and therefore will not be capable of hatching into chicks.
Natural cycle of egg production: Hens have a natural cycle of egg production, and in the wild, they would lay eggs regardless of the presence of a rooster. This means that even if you don't have a rooster in your flock, your hens will still produce eggs.
Fertilization vs. egg production: It's important to understand that fertilization and egg production are two separate processes. A rooster's primary function is to fertilize eggs, not to stimulate egg production. A hen's ovaries will produce eggs whether or not there is a rooster present.
Breeding chickens: If you want to breed chickens, you will need a rooster to fertilize the eggs and produce chicks. Without a rooster, the eggs will not be fertilized and will not develop into chicks.
Advantages of having a rooster: While a rooster is not necessary for hens to lay eggs, they do have other benefits. They can help protect the flock from predators, they can also help keep the flock in order, and some chicken keepers find their crowing to be a desirable feature.
In conclusion, a rooster is not necessary for hens to lay eggs. Hens have a natural cycle of egg production and will lay eggs regardless of the presence of a rooster. However, if you want to breed chickens and produce fertilized eggs that can hatch into chicks, you will need a rooster.
It's up to the chicken keeper to decide if the benefits of having a rooster outweigh the cost and care that comes with keeping one.