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What do you do with your roosters?

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  • What do you do with your roosters?

    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...

    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.

    Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:

  • #2
    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.


    • #3
      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.

      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.


      • #4
        Yup, eat them if you don't want them. Slaughter before 12-14 weeks for a nice tender eating bird/roaster.


        • #5
          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).


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              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.

              ‎"Luck favors the prepared, darling." ~~ Edna Mode


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  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.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                    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.


                    • #11
                      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!!
                      I LOVE my Chickens!


                      • #12
                        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. 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.
                        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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.


                            • Original Poster

                              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...

                              Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Kiwayu View Post
                                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.


                                • #17
                                  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.


                                  • #18
                                    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. Or variations of the same story. I chose to believe him.
                                    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                                    • #19
                                      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.
                                      They're small hearts.


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                        -Rudyard Kipling