PDA

View Full Version : What do you do with your roosters?



Kiwayu
Jun. 24, 2012, 01:43 PM
My chicks came from a tractor supply store that claimed 98% they were all hens. My friend bought me 8 chicks and now 2 months later, 3 out of 8 are crowing... :sigh:

Being i live on Long Island where having chickens is like having 3 heads, what do you do with them??? I've grown attached and don't want them eaten. :(

HungarianHippo
Jun. 24, 2012, 02:44 PM
Sorry, but most places that you find who will willingly take roosters will be processing them. That's the reality-- roosters in general are culled. I process my own chickens and the kill appears no more traumatic than the humane euth's I've witnessed with my horses. I guess you could get a vet to euthanize them, but really, it's no different from the rooster's perspective.

Or maybe you'll find a sucker who doesn't understand what life with multiple roosters are like....but usually that ignorance is quickly cured and the roosters will be sent down the road anyway.

Bluey
Jun. 24, 2012, 02:54 PM
Young roosters are called "friers".
Really, chickens are raised to be eaten, even layers end up eventually as baked chicken.

That is one reason that, when Grandma at 90 quit being able to dispatch chickens (we didn't mind help cleaning, is the neck ringing we could not stomach) we quit having chickens, as no one else wanted to do the deed.:eek:

A neighbor happily took all we had left, yes, for her pot and no, we didn't help her, she had to do it all alone.:yes:

Daydream Believer
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:07 PM
Yup, eat them if you don't want them. Slaughter before 12-14 weeks for a nice tender eating bird/roaster.

RedmondDressage
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:09 PM
I keep mine if they are friendly and/or if I want to use them for breeding. If they are mean we cull. They make tasty dinner and it's not all that traumatic, even for me (granted I make my boyfriend do the actual deed).

Bacardi1
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:13 PM
Kiwayu - when I had chickens I lived on Long Island as well. Never had any problem re-homing my roosters. Back then there was no "internet", so I just went thru word-of-mouth, ads on feed-store bulletin boards, & placed free ads in the "For Adoption" section of the local papers. Re-homed my guys in no time. I'm guessing these days you could not only go the paper route, but also CraigsList, poultry websites, etc., etc.

I did lightly "vet" prospective adopters, but you can usually tell who wants them as a flock addition & who just wants to eat them.

My three Gold-Laced Crested Polish roosters went to a Long Island Railroad conductor that I knew personally who had a large farm out on the east end & really loved that breed. We actually brought the birds in boxes to the local train station & he brought them on board when he was headed home.

Another re-home went to a local Suffolk County police officer who was just starting his own family flock & wanted a really nice rooster. My gorgeous Rhode Island Red was just what he was looking for, even though I did warn him thoroughly ahead of time that the rooster was a mean bastard. He fell in love with him anyway.

My last re-home was a friendlier than friendly White Leghorn that I raised as a lone chick that was given to me. He went to a local petting zoo.

I kept my Buff Wyandotte & Blue Cochin roosters, as they were both gorgeous & perfect gentlemen.

Jingo-ace
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:13 PM
Sorry, but I give all my roosters away, except one... too much fighting when you have adult male birds around. One year I had NINE out of 12 of my chickies turn into roosters... I put an ad on Craigslist & gave them all away. I am sure they got eaten, but what can you do...

This year I have 8 young birds, and I am crossing my fingers they're all hens, but there is ONE that is acting aloof & getting more tail feathers than a hen should, so.... when he starts to crow, I will have to decide between him or the old Roo. Let's hope he/she doesn't decide to crow anytime soon.

:) J

HungarianHippo
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:24 PM
Another note: if culling roosters is not an option for you, you should go for the sex-linked breeds. These varieties have been selectively bred so that the pullets are one color and the cockerels another. Takes out the guesswork. (Frustrating, I know, when you think you're getting all hens, but I dare you to try to tell chicks' sex apart. It's amazing they can do it at all.

Hampton Bay
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:26 PM
Before I moved halfway across the country, I had more roosters than hens, and absolutely no problems because of it. Mine were all friendly to each other and to kids, dogs, etc. Well, the little OEG would chase and try to spur the cats, but that was just funny because he was so tiny and the cats were never in any danger. After once or twice, they all stayed away from the chickens' area.

It could have helped that mine were all free-range, but I seriously never had an issue. Even when I added new ones, no one every fought.

Now my RIR hens... Those things were mean and nasty. They would try to beat up anything that moved. I gave them away.

Bacardi1
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:28 PM
Another note: if culling roosters is not an option for you, you should go for the sex-linked breeds. These varieties have been selectively bred so that the pullets are one color and the cockerels another. Takes out the guesswork. (Frustrating, I know, when you think you're getting all hens, but I dare you to try to tell chicks' sex apart. It's amazing they can do it at all.

But if you're buying Sexlink chicks locally, make SURE you do your research beforehand. I had to laugh when at our local Tractor Supply, they were offering Sexling chicks, but had the wrong signs as to which color were hens & which were roos. Nice.

Megaladon
Jun. 24, 2012, 03:40 PM
Definitely put up ads on your local Craigslist. I have given and even sold roosters to great homes via this route. I put a little history on my ads about the breeds I was selling, about their personality which helped because people could tell right there that my birds are more pets than products. Good luck!!

cowboymom
Jun. 24, 2012, 04:04 PM
People here are always looking for roosters for their flocks. craigslist or the bulletin board at the feedstore are the most common advertising we have here.

I have two roosters-they're brothers. They're Buttercup and banty crosses and really fun. They're loud sometimes but that doesn't bother me too much. they have split up the hens so they each have half and they spend all day escorting their girls around and finding food for them. I love the way they call over the hens to eat whatever they find for them. Only their girls get to eat what they find and they take turns guarding the coop door to bounce out any hens that aren't theirs while they take turns eating at the feeder. :lol: They never fight, they just prance around and make noise. They're really pretty.

Sometimes people that tie their own flies for fishing will take the roosters for their feathers. Also a dead end deal for the bird but it's another avenue for roosters to go down.

quarterhorse4me
Jun. 24, 2012, 09:38 PM
It is really sad but true. It simply does not work having multiple roosters and if you see how badly they momick the hens it does not bother you letting them go. Two is our max. My friend has a Peruvian neighbor, who is always happy to take them off of our hands. We try to rehome but there is not too much demand for roosters.

One year we had a batch of mostly roosters. There was one rooster that they all ganged up on constantly. He would hide and was always beaten up. My mom and I decided that he must be "challenged" or something so we got rid of all the others and kept him. He has turned out to be the best rooster we ever had. Kind of reverse natural selection but it worked out quite well.

HungarianHippo
Jun. 24, 2012, 11:56 PM
Reverse natural selection- LOL! we also kept the most submissive rooster, and dispatched the ones that were picking on him. It was a good move, he's a really nice guy, eats from my hand and not aggressive to the other birds.

Kiwayu
Jun. 25, 2012, 07:00 AM
My 3 roosters are totally pets...they get excited when they see me as I always have treats for them. They don't pick on the rest of the flock and we're always picking them up and holding them. I think they are calmer than the hens. All my pets have a one way ticket to my farm and stay for life. I guess I will hold onto them for a bit longer and once my hens start laying, I will advertise on craigs list.

It sucks being an animal lover at times... :(

Bluey
Jun. 25, 2012, 07:23 AM
My 3 roosters are totally pets...they get excited when they see me as I always have treats for them. They don't pick on the rest of the flock and we're always picking them up and holding them. I think they are calmer than the hens. All my pets have a one way ticket to my farm and stay for life. I guess I will hold onto them for a bit longer and once my hens start laying, I will advertise on craigs list.

It sucks being an animal lover at times... :(

We can love our animals deeply and still be pragmatic about why they are what they are and that is for many having short lives.

Loving means we do the absolute best we can for who they are and that is not humans in furry, feathery, finned suits, but the animals they are.

Loving them doesn't keep us from being immensely sad that they have other purposes in life that some include an early demise as you understand "this it be right", paraphrasing Willem.

Remember, loving anything is best when done with a clear understanding of the being they are and knowing that they don't sit there dwelling about the past and what is yet to be.

Loving doesn't keep us from understanding the world order and why things are like they are or, as the humans we are, mourning when any life ends.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 25, 2012, 08:18 AM
Let some folks get truly hungry for once and what was once considered a pet will be eaten quickly. We Americans have had that luxury of making pets of food animals in the last generations or two. We love our chickens yet we go to the grocery story and buy some prekilled and packaged bird that came from some animal factory, lived a totally unnatural life for a chicken in the few weeks it lived, and that makes us feel good???? I've never been able to follow that thinking.

A rooster from someone's farm/backyard that ends up in the oven lived like a normal chicken every day of his life until the last one when he had a moment of stress and then went on to wherever chickens go in their afterlife. People then have a wholesome delicious bird to eat and troublesome rooster is gone. Truly that is normal...not the sick system we have in place now. Surely at some point, normalcy might return? We can only hope.

I know which I'd choose and it has nothing to do with whether I love my animals or not. I'm fond of my hens but I will put them into a stew pot before I keep them forever as pets. I respect these birds and their right to live as one which is why I'd rather do that than go buy a grocery store bird.

PRS
Jun. 25, 2012, 08:38 AM
There used to be an older fellow at the local feed store that would take unwanted roos. I gave him several....he always told me that they were adopted by a family or old lady with lots of hens whose rooster had died recently. :yes: Or variations of the same story. I chose to believe him. :winkgrin:

Trixie
Jun. 25, 2012, 09:50 AM
The year we wound up with a few we put them on Craigslist and they were rehomed to a lovely woman who sends me photo updates. Strangely, it can happen.

JSwan
Jun. 25, 2012, 09:58 AM
I order straight run and then butcher the males. I do keep a (nice) rooster. Mean roosters are the spawn of the Devil. And they'll often fight to the death and it's not pretty when that happens. Nature red in tooth and claw...

I don't see how butchering males is cruel or inhumane. What do you think is in those plastic wrapped packages in the store?

I have had calls from people who want to give me their roosters. No way am I taking in someone else's bird. Good way to introduce disease into the flock.

SmartAlex
Jun. 25, 2012, 12:34 PM
Our extra roosters either get eaten or convert to Amish-ism. And there they probably get eaten pretty quick too.

I've had some nice pet roosters, but the "nice" generally wears off at a certain age.

2DogsFarm
Jun. 25, 2012, 03:44 PM
What do I do?

sigh....
Always keep one eye on him, and carry my RoosterBeater - an old rake that has lost its tines, but not its ability to launch a rooster several feet backwards & upside down.

He really needs to be renamed Coq au Vin, but I hate making things dead and there's noone nearby who will dispatch a single bird :no:

In his Defense, he's very handsome and has twice taken a bullet for his hens.
Once from a loose dog and another time from a redtail hawk.

If peabrain would just realize I really do not want to mate with his hens.
Ever.
:rolleyes:

susanne
Jun. 25, 2012, 05:04 PM
There is nothing wrong with considering your chickens pets and not wanting them eaten. There is nothing wrong with eating them, either. I eat chicken, but I don't want to eat those I've cared for. My hens will have a graceful retirement when they're finished laying, and I make an effort to rehome the boys.

Purebreds are pretty easy to rehome through Craigslist -- I had a taker for my Wellsummer cockerel within a half hour of posting. They may have just been looking for dinner, but they would have had to wait awhile for him to grow, as he was only 8 weeks old.

Nasty roos are an entirely different story, although I still don't want to eat the ones I know. Our feedstore has what I dubbed their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rooster rehoming program -- a cage out front with free roosters. Not the place to put a pet, but our evil bantam attack rooster ended up there.

Before I ever got our chickens, someone on another forum told me that if I couldn't butcher them, I obviously didn't belong in the country and shouldn't even get them.

Do what feels right for you.

Bacardi1
Jun. 25, 2012, 05:29 PM
I agree.

We eat TONS of poultry; but I'd never have eaten one I raised. Once I've seen it, raised it, & named it, I don't want to see it looking up at me from a plate.

And I have nothing but HUGE respect for those folks who butcher poultry for my convenience & enjoyment. I just could never do it myself. If starving? Most likely yes. But otherwise? No.

As far as eating roosters - particularly full-grown ones? You're looking at soup or stew at best. And if the rooster is from one of the purposely-bred egg-laying breeds? Soup stock & maybe dog food? Which is where most of those end up commercially. Scrawny, scrawny, scrawny.

RedmondDressage
Jun. 25, 2012, 08:03 PM
As far as eating roosters - particularly full-grown ones? You're looking at soup or stew at best.

Not true at all! The older roosters are SO much better than young roosters! The flavor is absolutely divine and back in the day used to be highly sought after.

You can't cook them like a whole chicken from the supermarket or you will end up with a dry horrible piece of meat. It's all about low, low, low and slooooow with the older roos/hens... And LOTS of basting. You will be absolutely shocked at how wonderful the meat is though. We cooked my just over 1 year old mean Marans roo and he was divine. You'll be shocked by the color of the meat as well, the legs were almost maroon. If you can find a cookbook from the early part of the 20th century you will likely find recipes for older chickens, definitely don't follow directions in newer cookbooks.

ETA: I found one of the articles I read when we processed our mean roo. It has more specific instructions for roasting older chickens. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find the information as most of the people who remember how have passed on and/or don't use the internet. I hope someday I can find an antique cookbook with some good recipes :)

http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/cookingwheritagechicken.pdf

HungarianHippo
Jun. 25, 2012, 09:51 PM
Redmond- Such a good point! "Real" chicken tastes nothing like factory chicken--because it actually TASTES like something, while store-bought chicken tastes and feels like it's pumped full of water.

Not that anyone should feel like they are supposed to eat the birds you've raised. But I'm telling you from experience, if you raise them with that end already in your mind, and you give them the happiest life a chicken could have while on this earth, and you respectfully kill them -- when you do make use of their meat, well, I promise that you will feel such a sense of humility and respect and gratitude for that meal. It's a very peaceful thing.

threedogpack
Jun. 25, 2012, 09:55 PM
We raised meat chickens for years. Or rather the ex did. Once they had been there 4-5 days, they were his project. They dressed out at about 10# (yes, this is right and they were like small turkeys). Big suckers. However, I really can't say as they tasted any different.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 25, 2012, 10:46 PM
But I'm telling you from experience, if you raise them with that end already in your mind, and you give them the happiest life a chicken could have while on this earth, and you respectfully kill them -- when you do make use of their meat, well, I promise that you will feel such a sense of humility and respect and gratitude for that meal. It's a very peaceful thing.

This is what I was trying to say and didn't do it very well. Sorry if I came across the wrong way.

Why buy a bland tasting grocery store bird that was raised in a CAFO when you can raise your own and know that animal you are eating had a good life? To me that is why I do it as well as the quality issues. I want to know the animals I eat and refuse to buy meat unless I know where it came from and who raised it. I also feel a great respect for the animals I raise and am thankful for the food they provide.

threedogpack...if you raised Cornish Rocks, the standard meat industry bird, that is why they tasted no different. They grow very fast and are slaughtered before they develop any flavor. Birds have to be around 10 weeks to really taste good and the older they are, the more flavor. A Cornish Rock will often drop dead if you let them get much older than 9 weeks.

We raise the French Label Rouge broilers for ourselves and the markets and they are exceptional. I wish I could raise just the old fashioned breeds and do as that article from the ALBC stated. Buff Orpingtons, for example, were one of the best eating table birds of all time. I'd love to have a flock of layers of this laid back easy going breed and have the roos for meat. Perhaps I will at some point. Unfortunately, no one raising chicken for meat these days can afford to wait six months to a good size roaster. Few people know how to cook these older birds as the other poster pointed out. Great article. I've bookmarked it. Learned a lot from it. :)

How cool it must have been to have so many types of chicken available to eat back then and not just the 99% Cornish Rocks that most of us think of as the standard meat bird. They truly are awful. I raised a couple batches this Spring and switched back to the French broilers. UGH...the CR's were not just sedentary to a fault but incredibly messy too. The difference has been shocking to me.

SmartAlex
Jun. 26, 2012, 09:21 AM
As far as eating roosters - particularly full-grown ones? You're looking at soup or stew at best. And if the rooster is from one of the purposely-bred egg-laying breeds? Soup stock & maybe dog food?

The Amish will skin them and can them. Takes care of the toughest Roo.

I like the idea of a "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" cage. Sounds like a much needed public service :yes:

SmartAlex
Jun. 26, 2012, 09:25 AM
...if you raised Cornish Rocks, the standard meat industry bird, that is why they tasted no different. They grow very fast and are slaughtered before they develop any flavor. Birds have to be around 10 weeks to really taste good and the older they are, the more flavor. A Cornish Rock will often drop dead if you let them get much older than 9 weeks.

We do the Cornish X and they are wonderful. That project is just up my husband's alley. 3 months and you're done. Of course, he had a daily exercise regime worked out for them to keep them using their legs and walking. Turns out, if you carry them far enough from their food, they WILL get up and move :lol:

sk_pacer
Jun. 26, 2012, 12:14 PM
Not true at all! The older roosters are SO much better than young roosters! The flavor is absolutely divine and back in the day used to be highly sought after.

You can't cook them like a whole chicken from the supermarket or you will end up with a dry horrible piece of meat. It's all about low, low, low and slooooow with the older roos/hens... And LOTS of basting. You will be absolutely shocked at how wonderful the meat is though. We cooked my just over 1 year old mean Marans roo and he was divine. You'll be shocked by the color of the meat as well, the legs were almost maroon. If you can find a cookbook from the early part of the 20th century you will likely find recipes for older chickens, definitely don't follow directions in newer cookbooks.

ETA: I found one of the articles I read when we processed our mean roo. It has more specific instructions for roasting older chickens. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find the information as most of the people who remember how have passed on and/or don't use the internet. I hope someday I can find an antique cookbook with some good recipes :)

http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/cookingwheritagechicken.pdf


The same applies to old hens. When I cooked for more than just me, I made a pretty damned good chicken stew topped with dumplings. Always used older hens or roosters for that as both take well to the long simmering that is required.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 26, 2012, 12:47 PM
We do the Cornish X and they are wonderful. That project is just up my husband's alley. 3 months and you're done. Of course, he had a daily exercise regime worked out for them to keep them using their legs and walking. Turns out, if you carry them far enough from their food, they WILL get up and move :lol:

Seriously, try the Freedom Rangers and compare them to the Cornish Rocks. It will blow you away. The FRs actually forage versus sit at the feeder and then just sit all day pooping like the CR's. They are much hardier too with much less loss and mortality. They don't have to be forced to move...they will go find bugs and stuff. They go about 10-12 weeks to processing time and finish out a good size with plenty of white meat. The grain of the meat is finer and much more juicy and flavorful.

www.freedomrangerhatchery.com

Here is a pic of our current batch out "playing" in their paddock. We use the electric netting to keep them safe and have a nice coop/shelter you see there for them to get shade and shelter as needed.

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l215/ssluss/Farm%20pics/IMG_1699.jpg

RedmondDressage
Jun. 26, 2012, 03:36 PM
I've heard good thing about Freedom Rangers and thought about raising them this year. I decided not to do meat birds this year in the end but if I do I'm going to go with some AMAZING heritage Barred Rocks that I got a line on last Fall. These are definitely not the hatchery BRs you usually see... They're HUMUNGOUS and their barring is absolutely gorgeous. Honestly once I get them I don't know if I'll be able to eat them just cuz they're so beautiful :) LOL

Daydream - I love your meat bird setup. Very cool. I'm thinking about doing electric netting for my birds so that I can move them around the property as needed.... I've found that to be SO much better than have a set run space - a lot less work to move them to new grass every week or two than to constantly be trying to keep a run clean and mud free up here in the rainy PNW.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 26, 2012, 09:21 PM
Redmond...those Barred Rocks sound awesome! That is a problem too..so many of the heritage breeds are not well bred anymore for the traits that originally made them so special. Where are you getting them if you don't mind me asking? Is it a hatchery or a private operation?

Part of the problem I have is raising for market, I have to have a bird that finishes faster than a heritage bird. The Freedom Rangers are a nice compromise from the nasty slug like Cornish Rocks and a heritage breed bird. I've had a lot of people come to me and say that they've never eaten chicken so tasty or good before. I've had a lot of older people say that the FR's are the best eating chicken they've had since they were children and that is a hell of a complement.

I like the "day range" style for the Freedom Rangers as they really do move a lot. It's a waste of space for Cornish Rocks as they won't walk an inch farther than they have to. It works well for me and I move the paddock around the farm each time I have a new batch of broilers. I also move the pen which has a wire mesh floor to a fresh spot every few days. The FR's go back where it was and clean up spilled feed and eat flies. The CR's didn't do any of that.

RedmondDressage
Jun. 27, 2012, 12:55 PM
Daydream - if you do a Google search for Good Shepherd Barred Rocks you can find them. Unfortunately as far as I know Good Shepherd isn't breeding chicks for sale at this time, however you'll find a couple of links to BYC and there are several people on there who are raising them and have chicks and eggs periodically.

I haven't gotten the chance to try the Freedom Rangers but I have heard great things. They sound like an excellent bird for market - I can definitely see where it would be difficult to actually make money off of heritage birds having to wait so long and put the resources into them that entire time.

rmh_rider
Jun. 27, 2012, 01:09 PM
Catch and release/relocate elsewhere.

Isn't that what folks do these days? Save the roos' type thing.

You could catch and release into a stock pot, or catch and relocate to the freezer, then stock pot.

Hey, somebody last fall took their 2 unwanted roos and let them loose at Whitt's BBQ / Dollar General Market in town. I about died laughing when I saw them and was thinking of all the very entertaining and informative COTH unwanted, unruly, roo threads. 6 months later they are still running around. I didn't see the two roos, but heard them when I went to the Dollar General Market a few days ago. Those are some tough roos living out on their own with no hens to boss around.

My gal pal took hers in the middle of the night and dumped at the neighbors down the street. They lived there a long many years. They never came running back home. Maybe chickens don't always come back home to roost?

I vote to fatten and bbq or stew them. Everybody likes cheeee-kin. Well I am not a huge fan of chicken meat. Hubby neither.

halo
Jun. 27, 2012, 06:56 PM
I also have some heritage barred rocks that Im just growing out. They do have terrific size. I was going to use them for meat birds, and still may, but I found a fabulous show strain of Delawares that are much bigger and broader than the barred rocks. I wasnt going to get another breed, but I think I will get some of these Delawares. They also lay really big eggs, so they are truly dual purpose.

I grew out a couple of batches of cornish x, and they were good for the freezer, but they werent much fun to raise. Im looking for something truly dual purpose, a bird that is worth putting the young roosters in the fridge, and I think I found it with the Delawares.

Some of the scrawnier breeds, like Ameraucanas, I will kill and skin and cook them up for the puppies. Makes a delicious addition to their daily meals.

Daydream Believer
Jun. 27, 2012, 09:08 PM
halo, I've considered Delawares several times. I haven't found any that will finish at 4 lbs or so even at 12 weeks. Are these that big? Is there a breeder or a hatchery where you got them? I'd love to check them out.

Thanks Redmond! I'll check them out!

Is it just my birds or are Buff Orpington hens particularly stubborn? I have several that insist on trying to roost in my barn. They make me crazy...they seem super independent and just wander off from the coop for most of the day. I had three wandering around at dusk(out of 5 of that breed and out of 120 hens total) and I managed to get a rooster to gather up two of them and get them back to the coop. Silly birds...

I will also never raise Golden Laced Wyandottes again..silly flighty high strung birds. If there is ever a chicken on my farm not where it supposed to be or into something naughty, it's one of those. You try to herd them and the run screaming in the wrong direction 9 times out of 10. They also seem to not want to be part of the flock and just wander off. It's a wonder any are still alive as I saw a coyote yesterday on the outskirt of our farm.

Barred Rocks do seem to be pretty even keel and stay together more or less. I have one or two wanderers but most are laid back and well behaved.