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Four Roosters in the hen house...what do I do?!

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  • Heinz 57
    started a topic Four Roosters in the hen house...what do I do?!

    Four Roosters in the hen house...what do I do?!



    One of​​​ my 5 hens went broody in late August, a few days before we were to go on vacation. I opted to let her do her thing, knowing that my 'farm sitter' (aka my mother, who is not chicken knowledgeable) wasn't going to be able to handle trying to break her. That resulted in 5 little peeps before she evacuated the nest* (more on that below). At about 6 weeks, two of the five got carried off in the wee hours, I assume by the hawk that had been hanging around.

    So that left me with 3. And yes, all 3 have turned out to be pretty little cockerels. Clearly, I already have a rooster - pictured below, who was also supposed to be a hen, but that's feed store chicks for you. He's reasonably well behaved and entertaining enough that I don't mind letting him hang around.

    DH says we shouldn't be feeding useless birds. And I know that soon, having four roos will be a problem for several reasons. But WHAT do I do with them? One can't give these things away, there are excess roos everywhere, and I don't really wish to eat them, nor do I cherish the idea of hand plucking three scrawny layer breed carcasses. Oy vey.

    *All five of my ladies prefer to lay in one box, and at the height of season some of them were giving two a day, so dearest Henny had accumulated 21 (!!) eggs to sit on. After her five hatched and I went to remove the duds for disposal, I heard peeping. I took them into the house under a heat lamp and hatched out NINE more chicks over the course of 5 days. Seven lived on to be healthy and were sent to live with a neighbor who needed new stock.

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  • Heinz 57
    replied
    Originally posted by Simkie View Post

    Heinz, if you don't want boys, find a local breeder--not a farm store--that's breeding auto sexing or sex linked chicks. Far less likelyhood of a mix up. Even if you're buying straight run, many breeders will take back unwanted boys, so at least you're not dealing with them yourself. There's probably a FB group for your area that will have connections for you
    ​​​​​​
    TBH I really don't *need* more chickens The cute little peeps are just hard to resist, especially when the farm store does buy 2, get 1 free!

    Leave a comment:


  • Simkie
    replied
    Honestly, I love the boys. I don't mind butchering the teenagers, and it's sure nice to know *exactly* where your food is coming from. They have a very nice life and a good death, and I don't know that my grocery store chicken can say the same.

    Whenever I'm swapping hens in and out of breeding groups, it's always the rooster in the pen that keeps the peace and protects the newbies. Good boys take care of the girls in such neat ways.

    Heinz, if you don't want boys, find a local breeder--not a farm store--that's breeding auto sexing or sex linked chicks. Far less likelyhood of a mix up. Even if you're buying straight run, many breeders will take back unwanted boys, so at least you're not dealing with them yourself. There's probably a FB group for your area that will have connections for you
    ​​​​​​

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post

    The idea of dealing with 200 chicks is mind boggling

    ​​​​Are they broilers, or are you an egg farmer?
    Nope, standard-bred Barred Rocks. I have a comb issue that I need to breed out, thus the high hatch number. Hopefully in future I can aim for 50-75 a year.

    Leave a comment:


  • ASB Stars
    replied
    This is why I can't have chickens. I would have very old Roo's running around- if they survived the fox and the hawks!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Heinz 57
    replied
    Originally posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
    Crap, I'm planning on hatching 200 this spring if I can, which will end up being probably 6 separate batches. It's gonna be like chick Jenga at my place
    The idea of dealing with 200 chicks is mind boggling

    ​​​​Are they broilers, or are you an egg farmer?

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    Crap, I'm planning on hatching 200 this spring if I can, which will end up being probably 6 separate batches. It's gonna be like chick Jenga at my place

    Leave a comment:


  • Heinz 57
    replied
    Originally posted by EVneo View Post

    That's what I do! I have a nice Amish man that you take a box or crate full of live chickens and 1 ziploc bag per chicken and you get back freezer camp ready baggies. Roosters are a pain, it's horrible when you go into the feed store during chick days - the peeping! I always want to get a few and then have to remind myself that I could very well end up with a rooster. I haven't ventured past sex linked golden bluffs for that reason!
    Based on my experiences, no matter how many chicks you get, one (at least) is always a rooster.

    I only have gold and black sex links. Big roo was supposed to be a black sex link hen. Either he's a mutt or a genetic oddball, or somebody mixed up chicks in sorting. I have a vague idea which hatchery they came from, and I know they use black copper marans in one of their hybrids, which is what he looks similar to. I thought I'd be safe with sex links this time - our last batch of barred rocks ended up with a rooster, too. Nope.

    That said, I may end up bringing home more chicks at the farm store sale that starts tomorrow. I enjoy them in the house for the first week or two, after that it's a countdown to when they can safely be moved out into the world!

    Leave a comment:


  • EVneo
    replied
    Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
    Oh, I did just learn today that there is a poultry processor not TOO far away, for about $4.50 per bird you can drop your live ones off and pick them up fully processed and vacuum bagged on ice a few hours later. That might be an option, if I can make room in the freezer.
    That's what I do! I have a nice Amish man that you take a box or crate full of live chickens and 1 ziploc bag per chicken and you get back freezer camp ready baggies. Roosters are a pain, it's horrible when you go into the feed store during chick days - the peeping! I always want to get a few and then have to remind myself that I could very well end up with a rooster. I haven't ventured past sex linked golden bluffs for that reason!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post

    Where are you planting rhubarb?
    I have 2 plants, one - start from a friend - over 10yrs, the other from a plant smuggled here by a friend's Mom from Belgium - that's around 5yrs
    Both are in full sun, planted in composted manure & I do nothing but pick them from the time they start producing until late Summer.
    Plenty to share, freeze & make into pie, jam & chutney.

    BTW: the roosters we were going to barter your hens for went to auction in December.
    Neighbor gave me the 2 hens he got out of the original 6.
    I got $20 for the 2 I took. His rooster brought $9.
    Third I kept.
    He was smallest, the most timid & he's not rough on the hens (older girls ignore his dancing) still shows me respect
    Just getting his spurs now, so that may change.

    OP, hope your dogs enjoy the treat
    ​​​​​
    Welp, Dad planted the first two "for me" and he put them under the grape arbor, grrrrrr. They're limping along, probably 4-5 years old now, never gotten a cutting off them yet.

    I bought like a six pack at Home Depot a couple years ago and put them in my paddock asparagus plot, full sun. They got eaten alive by bugs, for some ungodly reason. I could just cry.

    Good deal on the roosters!

    Leave a comment:


  • TheJenners
    replied
    Originally posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
    I wish I had more rhubarb!!! I keep planting it and it keeps not thriving

    You can keep the zucchini and roosters
    I'll take the zucchini!

    Leave a comment:


  • 2DogsFarm
    replied
    Originally posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
    I wish I had more rhubarb!!! I keep planting it and it keeps not thriving

    You can keep the zucchini and roosters
    Where are you planting rhubarb?
    I have 2 plants, one - start from a friend - over 10yrs, the other from a plant smuggled here by a friend's Mom from Belgium - that's around 5yrs
    Both are in full sun, planted in composted manure & I do nothing but pick them from the time they start producing until late Summer.
    Plenty to share, freeze & make into pie, jam & chutney.

    BTW: the roosters we were going to barter your hens for went to auction in December.
    Neighbor gave me the 2 hens he got out of the original 6.
    I got $20 for the 2 I took. His rooster brought $9.
    Third I kept.
    He was smallest, the most timid & he's not rough on the hens (older girls ignore his dancing) still shows me respect
    Just getting his spurs now, so that may change.

    OP, hope your dogs enjoy the treat
    ​​​​​

    Leave a comment:


  • Heinz 57
    replied
    Well, the verdict is in. DH will dispatch them shortly and they will go for dog food (cooked, I don't want to fiddle with raw). One of the youngsters has begun crowing and is starting to abuse the hens, including my sweet little runt hen with a bum leg. If I'd been able to catch him this morning he might have already been in the Crock-Pot.

    Darn roosters.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    I wish I had more rhubarb!!! I keep planting it and it keeps not thriving

    You can keep the zucchini and roosters

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie.S
    replied
    After dealing with really pervasive vent gleet on one of our layers...I have a slightly altered opinion about our birds

    But, I do have strong feelings about what happens to animals that come into my care. Generally, they die with me. I have yet to have to rehome any animal I've acquired. So I'd be inclined to give them a nice last few weeks and then either butcher them myself or have them butchered for me.

    I agree that giving away roosters is like giving away rhubarb or zucchini - all three tend towards proliferation so you never hear anyone saying "Damn, I wish I had more rhubarb/zucchini/roosters hanging around"

    Leave a comment:


  • gahorseygal
    replied
    We butcher ours. The first one was a learning experience but they are super easy once you get one under your belt. I'm quick with plucking and butchering. I like to cook them as a whole bird in the crockpot. Works well for the skinnier birds, the meat falls off the bone and you can use it anything with shredded chicken!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    Originally posted by Simkie View Post
    I'm curious to hear this!
    The first time I tried to skin, I thought I could just peel it off over the back like a coat, that did NOT work out well at all.

    The best way to skin is to take the legs and the last joint of the wings off. Then take the skin about halfway down the breast, lift it up, and make a cut across it. Then pull that up over the top and down over the legs. Then pull down the back last and I usually cut the tail off. Sometimes, especially on older birds, you need to filet a bit over the hips. Much easier that way. The wings just suck, hard to get ahold of and hard to pull. And you really need to filet the bit where the flight feathers are attached off.

    Leave a comment:


  • HungarianHippo
    replied
    Yeah, if they are a rare breed or especially beautiful, there are sometimes 4H kids who will take them for a county fair show. We had a rare breed chick from a hatchery that turned out to be a rooster, and found a 4Her who did that (But even then, the roo will be in someone's pot at the end of the fair season--it's not as if they'll be a pet).

    More than one roo in the coop tends to be hell on the hens-- when the roosters aren't actually fighting, they will "fight vicariously" by repetitively covering as many hens as they can--as soon as one gets done, another roo will jump in.

    There is just no other *plausible* option but to dispatch humanely.

    Leave a comment:


  • Simkie
    replied
    Originally posted by Mosey_2003 View Post
    Or skin them. If you choose to skin them, let me know, there's a definite easy way and hard way.
    I'm curious to hear this!

    I wound up hanging my last batch for maybe...90 minutes, 2 hours? between butcher and processing, and they were SO much easier to skin out. Quite the surprise, but I've definitely noted for next time!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mosey_2003
    replied
    They're too old to caponize unless you're already quite experienced at it - they'd likely bleed out. I've been learning about caponizing and got a kit, you're supposed to do them when they weigh about a pound.

    I would take them to the processor. Or skin them. If you choose to skin them, let me know, there's a definite easy way and hard way.

    Leave a comment:

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