Fred, I loved him. I hated him. I loved to hate him. I hated to love him. RIP, good sir.
I really didn't know and I also never really thought about it. If you are new to chickens, have you thought about it?
I'm sure the folks at the hatchery had a good laugh at my question and no, I never heard back from them. So if you hadn't thought about it yet let's talk about it.
To be sure no one was more surprised when I actually got a few roosters in that order of laying hens. But it happens - sexing chicks is not an exact science and sometimes mistakes happen. And, of course, you also get roosters if your own hens hatch their clutches. But what do you do with them? You should have a plan so you won't be surprised when you first hear that horrible, wretched, strangling, struggling first-crow that your little should-be-a-hen first belts out.
As we say around here, "When you start to crow you got to go!" And by "go" I mean directly into a pot of noodles. Do we butcher our extra roosters? Yes, we do.
Having too many roosters just annoys your hens and makes for a dangerous barnyard. About this time of year they all start fighting so if you think you can keep as many roosters that life gives you - you might be surprised when you go out to find a sad heap of feathers and the new top roo strutting his stuff.
We've found that too many roos just creates gangs of goons who terrorize everyone. We had a gang of three one time.. geez. They were really something. So we sent those tree amigos to the block and all of the hens stood around cheering as that last one got the axe.
The Big Man was defeated by this little rooster. Until the tables turned.
And sometimes little roosters are just plain mean.
If butchering chickens isn't your thing then you can always send extra laying breed roos with your meat birds to the processor. You won't get the big meaty grocery store carcasses when they are dressed... but good is good and you can always make stew.
Or you can try and pawn them off on suckers. However, I should warn you that most folks are wise to that game. We have had luck giving or selling roosters to folks for $5. But most times it's more hassle then it's worth.
Some folks try and sell roosters with "not to be butchered" conditions. That sounds like a risky proposition. I've heard of crazy people showing up at people's farms demanding to see their previously owned stock. That is just weird. I would urge you not to show up here demanding to see the duck you sold me 4 years ago.
And some naive folks are happy to answer ads asking for extra roos thinking that maybe they will go and live on a farm for the rest their natural lives.... when maybe they are being used for fighting. Or to feed someone's snakes or what not.
Nope. There is just too much opportunity for weirdness. We just prefer to solve our own rooster problems.
And least you think you are safely up on your moral high horse - horrified by backyard butchering - and will only ever have laying hens because you only ever order female-only chicks. You might want to think about what happens to those extra male chicks. I say no more on this. Other than we usually order straight runs and are glad for the valuable lesson that you should take the hand that life gives you and make the best of it. While a laying hen is more valuable to us over the long run, a nice chicken stew is just fine also.
Happy Monday everyone! What do you do with your extra roos?