What To Do With Unwanted Roosters

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What To Do With Unwanted Roosters - The New Homesteader's Almanac

What Can You Do With Unwanted Roosters?

Are you wondering what to do with unwanted roosters? Even if you only order pullets, you could end up with a rooster in your flock. Sexing baby chicks at a hatchery isn’t 100% accurate so sometimes a little boy chicken ends up in your pullet order! It may take a few weeks to be sure if you have a pullet or a cockerel. When it’s obvious that you’ve got a roo in the flock, what can you do?

Before ordering pullets, check with the hatchery to see if they offer a refund or credit for cockerels that are shipped in an all pullet order. Some hatcheries guarantee their chick sexing and you may get some cash back.

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heat tolerant chicken breeds - Lakenvelds

Are You Sure You Don’t Want a Rooster?

Some homesteaders choose to keep a cockerel from their batch of chicks. Here are the most common reasons for letting that cockerel grow up and become a handsome rooster:

  • To fertilize eggs for hatching
  • As the flock guardian
  • For a natural ‘alarm clock’
  • They may be very entertaining to watch
  • A rooster will alert his hens to food sources

You Might Be Into Your Rooster But The Neighbors Aren’t!

Not everyone will agree that your handsome rooster and his early morning crowing is a charming way to wake up! So make sure you are allowed to keep a rooster and that your neighbors won’t be upset at the crowing.

Be aware that roosters crow whenever they like. This could be in the middle of the night or all day long. They will often start crowing when a loud sound startles them or if another rooster in the area is considered a threat.

I enjoy hearing my rooster crow, but he’s pretty well behaved. He’ll start crowing pretty early in the morning…around 3 or 4 am. But it isn’t too obnoxious when he’s still shut in the chicken coop.

I Keep A Rooster in My Flock for Several Reasons

I like having a rooster around to protect his hens. He sounds the alarm when the fox comes around or a hawk flies overhead. I also like knowing that I can put fertile eggs from my hens into an incubator to hatch my own chicks. In addition, our flock of chickens provides entertainment for us while we sit outside. It’s fun to watch the rooster strut his stuff around the ladies!

rooster

When You Really Don’t Want Any Roosters

Not everyone wants to deal with a rooster in the flock. They can be noisy and aggressive. Small children and pets might be the object of rooster attacks. Some roosters spend more time harassing their hens instead of protecting them.

If you have an urban or suburban homestead it is unlikely that roosters are allowed in your area. If you are limited to a few hens and no roo, you won’t be able to keep that handsome guy. So what can you do with unwanted roosters?

There aren’t a lot of options, since most chicken keepers want hens. Here are some ideas:

  • Rehome your rooster to friends or a farm
  • Offer for sale or for free on Craigslist under the farm section for your area
  • Check for chicken rescue groups in your area
  • Process for meat, or give to someone who will
  • Do not drop your rooster off on the side of a country road, it would be kinder to kill it

When You Can’t Bear to Have an Unwanted Rooster Killed

Realistically, if you sell or give a chicken away, you can’t be sure if the new owner will keep it or process it for meat. That goes with the territory of being a homesteader. If you really can’t bear to give your unwanted roosters away to someone who might eat them, look for a farm animal sanctuary or chicken rescue group in your area.

It may not be very comforting to know that when you order pullets, the male chicks are often killed and turned into protein for chicken feed. So that rooster that came with your pullets at least had a little bit longer lifespan.

In my area Craigslist there is a lady who offers to take any unwanted hens or roosters free of charge. Maybe you have someone like that in your area too.

How Nature Deals with Extra Roosters

Undomesticated chickens don’t usually live long lives. Predators, disease, and lack of proper nutrition are all cause for shorter lifespans. Roosters fight over their flocks and the loser is often ostracized and becomes easy prey.

It’s best not to get too attached to your chickens so that dealing with an unwanted rooster (or old laying hens) isn’t as difficult. Make sure children in the family know from the beginning what will happen to chickens you can’t keep.

How do you deal with unwanted roosters? Do you cull them from the flock or give them away?

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What To Do With Unwanted Roosters - The New Homesteader's Almanac

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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer & Blogger at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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About Lisa Lombardo

Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady. In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org. The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.

5 comments on “What To Do With Unwanted Roosters

  1. Dawn

    I just know I’m too much of a softie for this. I’ll probably never have chickens for this reason (oh, and the fox family living behind our shed, LOL).

    Reply
  2. Jenn

    Yes, roosters are inevitable. We seem to have above the 60% on some of our hatches! We have a lot of young roosters right now. We process them and sell them to someone who prefers their meat to the cornish cross. Sometimes it’s hard for my daughters who hatched them! They are often very pretty roosters! Life lessons learned though. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      Hi Jenn,
      It really can be tough to decide which roosters to keep and which ones need to go. I’ve had a hard time too! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience!

      Reply
  3. Maria Zannini

    I cull. I’m actually looking forward getting some roosters from my latest batch of chicks because I’m out of homemade broth. Canned broth pales in comparison to homemade.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lombardo Post author

      We have so much in common, Maria! I cull too…and these boys are getting pretty fiesty. I’m looking foward to just having the pullets.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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