What to do with a Rooster

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Did you get a rooster when you wanted hens? Find out what to do

What to do with a Rooster?

You were so excited to become a growing number of proud back yard chicken owners. You built  a cute little coop, maybe even hung a curtain or two, told all of your friends you would soon be in supply of Fresh Eggs. Placed your order for Pullets (female baby chickens) from a well-known hatchery, breeder, or local feed store, and brought home your adorable, cute, fluffy, little balls of joy. You watched them as they quickly transformed from precious tiny balls of fluff to that awkward teenage ugly stage in a very short period of time. Before you knew it, they needed to be moved from the brooder to the coop. Where has the time gone?

With excitement, you greeted them every morning to let them out, give them fresh food and water and maybe a treat. Just when you start to walk away……. one of your adorable, cute, not so little egg-laying pullets started to clear her throat and belt out her very first Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!!!!  ?????

What? The Breeder/Hatchery told you they would all be hens!! You paid for hens!! What are you going to do? Your neighbors are going to

FREEEEAAAAK  OOOOUUUUTTTTTT!!!

Your city, HOA, or neighborhood wont allow roosters, not to mention you had no desire to raise a bunch of baby chicks and collect  fertilized eggs every day, what are you going to do?

Relax. Take a deep breath. It will all be Okay. I’m repeating to you the scenario we faced just not too long ago, it is a very real situation  many chicken owners are faced with.

If you ordered Pullets from a hatchery/breeder you can contact them and most will offer you a refund (however, they will not take back the rooster). A lot of hatcheries include roosters as their ‘extras’ that they ship with your. I’ve heard of people getting 25 ‘extra’ chicks that all ended up being roosters! If you bought your chicks from a feed store, chances are they were straight run. If you ordered or bought Straight Run chicks there is a 50/50 chance you will get roosters/hens so there is not much you can do in regards to a refund.

First, what is the reason why you don’t want a Rooster? If it is HOA or City/County rules I can certainly understand that. However, there may be ways to bend those rules without breaking them or you can work towards getting your city to amend them, Click here to read an article about approaching the steps for approval.

If you don’t have any laws against owning a rooster, maybe you can reconsider not wanting one?

Advantages to owning a Rooster

  • Protection- Weather you’re in the city or on 100 acres you will always have predators that will want to eat your flock. A Rooster will protect his flock and put his life in harm’s way to keep them safe
  • Order in the house– A rooster will keep the flock in order. My Rooster made sure all the girls go in the coop at night and keeps them from wandering outside our yard during the day.
  • Dinner reservations not required– A rooster will not only keep order but he will show them where to find food and offer them bugs he’s collected
  • Keep you in supply of laying hens– An average hen will lay eggs consistently for about 2-3 years, after that you will need to purchase more Pullets and start over. If you have a Rooster you will have fertilized eggs you can hatch yourself for FREE.
  • Extra income– Many people like to buy fertilized eggs and hatch their own, you can offer this service and make a little spending money.
  • Food– You can eat (and probably already do) fertilized eggs. Make sure you collect eggs on a daily basis and you can eat them as any normal egg. Many say fertilized eggs are more nutritious.
  • Good Pets-Roosters can make a good pet. I know many chicken owners who have roosters as pets and adore them.
  • Never be late again-BEST alarm clock EVER! You can’t beat the sound of a Rooster crowing to wake you up in the morning

What to do with a rooster?

 Disadvantages to owning a Rooster

  • Mean-Roosters can become mean and aggressive as their hormones kick in.
  • Dangerous-They grow spurs for protection that will hurt and can injure you if he feels the flock is being threatened
  • Foul Play-Roosters are known for being bad lovers. Many of hens have lost their feathers and some get injured to an aggressive lover. They do sell back covers for hens to protect them.
  • Fighting-They can, and will, fight with other roosters.
  • Loud-They will crow in the morning, and at night, and in the day, pretty much whenever they feel like it

Keeping a Roo

  • Train Your Roo- Have an aggressive rooster? Chickens are intelligent creatures and posses the ability to become trained with a little work. Here is a wonderful article full of tips to help tame your aggressive roo by Mother Earth Living 
  • Neuter Him– You can neuter a Rooster. Finding a vet who has experience in this may be hard but not impossible. A castrated Rooster is called a Capon. Capons will grow bigger than a normal Rooster and become good for eating. However, when you take away a Roosters hoo haas you also take away his drive to protect the flock and lead. Now he’s just  a male version of a hen without the bonus of eggs.
  • Too much of a good thing– To avoid a lot of fighting and aggression issues, limit the amount of roosters you keep. ‘We normally recommend one rooster for every ten hens or so. In a large flock, there is often more than one rooster, with no problems. In smaller flocks, it’s a greater risk. However, many breeders keep significantly greater numbers of roosters with their girls–one rooster for every two, or one for every five”

 

He’s gotta go

If your Rooster has got to go, you have a couple of options:

  •  He can become dinner- Oh come on, don’t tell me you own chickens but don’t eat chicken? Well, this is no different. Only now you will have a true connection to where your food came from and your chicken can have a humane death, unlike the chicken you buy at a store.
  • For Sale– Post him on Craigslist or some other media site. Be forewarned, there are 100 other people out there just like you who are wanting to get rid of their Roosters too. You have a better chance of finding him a new home if you give him away for free and not charge $
  • Contact a local farm and ask if they want him
  • Auction-Look for a local Livestock Auction or Livestock Swap Meets in your area
  • Paper-Free add in local paper
  • 4-H-Contact your local 4-H or county extension service

I’m not going to lie, finding a new home for your Rooster can be challenging, but not impossible.  If you have any other ideas you would like to add to this, please let me know.

Chicken math is inevitable and I’m sure getting more roosters in the mix are in our near future. What will we do next time? Who knows? What’s in your roosters future??

11 Comments

  1. Just Plain Marie on April 2, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    We buy straight run chicks, and we let our birds breed, which means we have plenty of roosters. We don’t have to worry about neighbours (our closest year-round neighbour is about five miles away), but no one can have 50% roosters without problems. 🙂 Around here, except for the very best rooster, they’re dinner.

    I think it’s only fair to warn people that, if a farm or the like takes the rooster, he’s likely destined for dinner. At least, if I were accepting anyone’s roos, they’d be immediately slaughtered. Otherwise, they’d just be killed – quite hideously – by our current alpha rooster. (Unless I were looking to replace our alpha roo and the incoming one was an excellent substitute)

    Breeders who keep multiple roosters do not, I believe, let them roam around. I would expect that they are caged, each by himself. This winter we had six roosters, three of them immature, in with the 24 hens, and it turned into a bloodbath. 🙁 It’s far more humane (and less wasteful) to kill the extras ourselves.

    • The Coastal Homestead on April 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Thanks for your reply and the tips. Yes, most end up for dinner. I ended up giving mine away on Craigslist to someone who was wanting to breed Black Australorps, I’m sure I wont be that lucky in the future. Although we don’t practice this, but I do believe if you eat meat you should be a part of the process (culling) to fully understand the sacrifice. I hope to make room for meat chickens in the future or find someone with more land than myself and share in the circle of life.

    • sara olsen on June 28, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      buy sex linked chickens

      • The Coastal Homestead on June 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

        Well we paid extra for pullets but we still ended up with roos. I’m assuming they were the “extras” that were shipped with the order. I wish I could have kept him as he was a doll-baby.

  2. Just Plain Marie on April 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Just realized – you didn’t say what you did with your extra roo(s). 🙂

    • The Coastal Homestead on April 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      I ended up giving mine away on Craigslist to someone who was wanting to breed Black Australorps, I’m sure I wont be that lucky in the future.

  3. Chickenpalooza! Homestead Chicken Resources on May 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    […] What to Do with a Rooster from The Coastal Homestead […]

  4. Connie Winner on August 12, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I ordered “sexed” hens. I picked out 5 breeds and 3 of each. They all survived and were cute as could be. But SIX ended up roosters!! I was upset since they cost me more per, but not that expensive by any means. The roosters were BEAUTIFUL!! I already had one rooster, so that made 7!! I also already had 3 bantam hens. I have a large coupe and big wide run area, so they had room, but I knew the roos couldn’t stay in there, so out they went. Survival of the fittest. They would roost on the roof of the coupe and had food sources/water available, but wasn’t sure if their demise would be from wild life. I got a new dachshund/terrier mix puppy and over several months, I seemed to have lost a roo here and there. Sometimes I found a bunch of feathers, other times not. No blood ever. I saw her chase some, but she never had blood on her mouth. Got down to one, so he won and get to stay in with the girls and those are down to 6. He’s pretty big and I think he has been to rough on the ones I lost, not sure. But they seem to be all fine now. He’s not mean at all, but I always move slow and I guess he’s never thought I was a threat. They all know if I say “here chick, chick, chick” they come running and I give them table scraps or mealy worms. I’d like to leave a batch of eggs and have more babies, but I don’t want more roos!!! lol

    • The Coastal Homestead on August 12, 2015 at 8:53 am

      Thanks for sharing your story. Natural selection is certainly another way to reduce the rooster population as well. I would love to have some roosters if it was allowed in my neighborhood, my girls need one. I actually have one hen who is taking on the dominate role and is even trying to crow, it sounds hysterical. I am getting ready to order some more sexed chicks in a month or so and pray we don’t get roosters again, especially as many as you did! I hate spending all that money, raise them from babies, just to have to get rid of them. I had a broody hen I was trying to get fertile eggs for so we could hatch our own but the timing was off. If you don’t care about them becoming dinner, roosters are pretty easy to re-home; or if you pick a breed that is in high demand, people may even pay you for your roosters.

  5. Connie Winner on August 12, 2015 at 5:25 am

    P.S., thanks for the info on roosters, very interesting BTW!

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