Monday, July 23, 2012

the rooster dilemma...

Yeah, so that chicken we thought was a rooster - but were not entirely sure?  Definitely a rooster.  We learned that at about 5am last Wednesday.  I guess I thought that it would take longer for it to be an issue.  I mean, the guy is just 12 weeks old.  Doesn't that seem kind of young to start strutting around and crowing like a crazy rooster?

And actually, the crowing doesn't really bother me.  I am up before it starts, and for some reason he didn't start crowing until 6:30am this weekend...well after a neighbor's dog had already woken everyone up in the neighborhood :-)  I spoke to my neighbors and they haven't heard him, and don't really care if he starts crowing, so that is nice.  I am hoping some of the people further away from us (because his crow DEFINITELY carries) won't call the city and report us.  Having someone come here for "code violations" would never be a good thing.

The problem that I am having with the rooster right now?  Well, he is trying to be a rooster, in all his rooster ways.  He is scaring the crap out of the ladies.  When he starts stalking them, strutting his stuff, they start screaming and running all around the chicken run to get away from the guy.  They have tried several times to run through the chicken wire...and now I know why they keep flying over the get away from him.

Yesterday we separated the rooster from the ladies.  He was outside the fence, they were inside.  For some reason I thought that would be the best thing to do.  Of course he stayed right at the fence the whole day watching the girls longingly.  And I felt bad for him.

So onto the dilemma.  What should we do with this poor guy?  I have called//facebooked just about everyone I know to see if they know anyone looking for a rooster.  But, let's be honest, no one really wants a rooster.  Even such a pretty guy as this one.  He is too small to butcher I think.  I'm not sure it would be worth the cost and stress of bringing him to someone.  I wasn't prepared to do it myself, although maybe I should have been.  I'm not even sure I can catch him though...the hens...yes, they practically jump up into Emma's arms.

We have thought about driving him out of the city to the little town next door and looking for a place that has chickens...then just hoping for the best.  We have also thought about just leaving him out of the coop and letting whatever happens, happen.  I know - that is definitely not the nicest way.  But, there it is.

I guess I thought it would be easier.  When we have to get new chicks in a couple years, I knew we would butcher and fill our freezer with the ladies.  Now, of course, I feel bad for the rooster.  He has had a short life, and he seemed so sad to not be with the other chickens yesterday.  He was one of the four easter eggers we got, the other three seem lost, and I just all around feel bad.  Perhaps this is why I got egg laying chickens instead of meat birds :-)

So what should I do?  Do I pay to have him butchered for no meat?  Do I let him go out in the wild (hey, we have wild in Maine ;-)), knowing nature will not be kind?  Do I drop him off at a farm, and speed away before anyone sees us?  These are the questions I am asking myself today!

*I figure I should clarify that I wouldn't actually drop off the rooster at an unsuspecting farm :-)  Don't worry, we will most likely donate him to someone for their freezer, not sure I want him in ours :-)

I'm linking up at the Barn Hop


  1. I love the vision of you dropping him off and speeding away......and him chasing you. This is a great post, love it!!!! Did you try Freecycle?

  2. Bahaha---please don't drop him on someone else---that's my two cents at least. ;) Would a butcher take him for free if they got to keep the little amount of meat that exists? Otherwise, I'd say you need a dog to come around that likes to chase and get things ;)

  3. I am in the exact same position as you. Louise, who has since been renamed Lou for obvious reasons, starting crowing this weekend, and he's only about three months old as well. He's also starting to get a little bossy and I'm pretty sure we need to get rid of him, but I'm not sure how. Let me know if you figure something out!

  4. I agree with Jouney, Dont' drop him off. Craigslist and the local feed store - set out an ad for a free rooster. If you do butcher him he will only be good for soup - cook long in the crockpot. (see my experience with off-ing one of my pullets early at ).
    sometimes you can find someone that raises and buthcers their own meat birds - you may be able to pay them a few bucks to do yours when it comes time to do their butchering.

  5. I vote for sending him to freezer camp. Please don't dump him on someone else, that would be like dumping an unwanted dog on someone else.....NOT cool.

  6. It is definitely not easy, but the kindest thing would be for you to send him to freezer camp (the nice way of saying just off him already!). Think about it- unless you know for a FACT that someone wants him because they actually want a rooster, the stranger who gets him off of craigslist is probably going to do the exact same thing, only he'll be all stressed and freaked out from leaving his home and his ladies. It sucks, I know, but look at it like an initiation. If you keep chickens, inevitably you are going to have to put one down because of an illness or injury, or because it attacks your kids, or whatever. You can put it off by trying to get rid of this chicken in other ways, but eventually you're going to have to do it.

    That said, he isn't hurting your hens (much...). As long as he's not causing huge problems (like by making them jump out of the run and causing you stress, but I know in my case when my chickens jump out I just leave them be until I can get around to getting them back in... they're not really at risk). I say keep him a little while longer as long as none of your neighbors mind and you're not concerned with being cited for a violation. I know at 12 weeks there's no meat to speak of (at that age, if I had to put a chicken down, I would just bury them, it would hardly be worth plucking unless you're starving or just really determined), but by 20 weeks there should be significantly more meat, depending on the breed (he looks just like my Wyandotte rooster- not the meatiest breed, but still better than some). And it's not true that you have to soup a rooster this young- the meat is going to have significantly more texture and flavor than you're used to, and a crock pot or other slow cooking would definitely be beneficial, but many people prefer that to the mushy, flavorless commercial broiler meat.

    If you can, convince your husband (or another man) to do the actual killing. I'm all for women doing everything, but I know that I have such a visceral physical reaction to killing chickens (although I have done it three times now) that it is really hard for me, and I thing generally speaking men have an easier time with it. I personally don't mind the rest of the process (once the head is off...).

  7. You could try the link below...

    Seems a lot of people have the same problem and they could be of some help.
    I just found your blog and became a new follower (: Can't wait to come back for more posts...Hope you have a lovely week!!

    Michele xoxo
    The Homesteading Cottage

    1. Thank you for the link Michelle! And thanks for following! Looking forward to checking out your blog!


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