Cock-A-Doodle … Don’t?

Finding Roosters a Good Home is Something Most Urban Poultry Raisers Will Need to Figure Out

Cock-A-Doodle … Don’t?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Linda White-Francis, Florida

Rooster’s rock! They are beautiful, majestic, and handsome gents, and I love them … well, some of them.

Such characters! They are the protectors of our flocks, our morning alarm clocks, and without them there would be no chicks to feather our pockets or our backyard stocks. Without roosters there would be no cute baby chicks, and definitely less meat for the table. Last, but not least, without roosters, hens would soon be extinct, and at best hens would be just another female bird, and not especially ornamental since roosters (as with all other male birds) are the prettier of the species. Yes, roosters are special and we need them. They are very interesting creatures to watch because they are plucky, and smart, and capable, in many cases, of being tamed almost as easily as a hen.

Yet, they can sometimes pose problems one cannot tolerate and can no longer be called a friend. Roosters problems come in several definitions — good, bad or ugly. If not nipped in the bud, things can quickly get out of hand, but there are some great solutions out there other than stew.

The three more important stressful problems one could encounter as owners of roosters are:

• Aggressiveness;

• Too many roosters to support a small volume of hens; and

• Residential county code bans.

Any of these three dilemmas can become a serious issue and must be addressed hastily or suffer the consequences. However, by doing your homework and staying aware, your perseverance and proactivity will help to resolve your individual rooster dilemmas. Then life can move on with less stress, and more fun. So don’t worry, and get going!

Roosters
Roosters are important to many coops, but managing them in urban areas takes awareness of their surroundings and understanding of the law.

Here are several scenarios one could encounter when roosters are introduced to the barnyard.

What if that handsome rooster with the stunning crown of a king, the proud chest of a decorated general, and a sweeping tail of colorful sea oats, suddenly becomes aggressive? Once a fuzzy gentle chick, now the brute corners you in the barnyard and attacks your ankles and knees until they bleed. Need I say more? He will soon be gone. Right?

What if that little flock of 15 hens, once content and happy pullets, have become so bedraggled and naked from more romantic encounters than any one hen should have to endure? And, no wonder, each lady is battling six roosters daily that should have been pared down months ago. And speaking of battling, the roosters themselves are looking none too pretty either. The competition has become so great among these pompous Lotharios’ life. For them, it has become a battle royal, and when the spurs come out, so does the blood. At least four of those sexy blackguards will have to go. Right?

What if one day you hear a knock at the door and there stands a county code enforcement officer named Joe Law? “Do you own a rooster?” he asks politely.

“Yes,” you answer, only to find chickens are forbidden in certain areas of the county where you live. You are surprised and crestfallen because you were not aware in recent years this ordinance had been implemented. Now you are looking at a stiff fine and confiscation of your beautiful flock: rooster and all. You must comply. What do you do now? You can either sell your flock immediately or move to the country. Right?

We have all heard the old adage, “Hindsight is always keener than foresight.” Most of the time when unwise decisions have been made, it is nobody’s fault but our own. It can be especially so when one has become unduly attached to that adorable rooster you may have hatched from an egg. Eventually, and regretfully, one often resorts to selling a rooster, trading a rooster for a hen, or giving the rooster or roosters away to a good home. Boom! There’s your answer. Problem solved. Buying a new home in the country like my eccentric friend Colette did, so she could keep her rooster, may not always be an option.

According to the experts, a hatch is usually a 50-50 split between roosters to hens. But I have found this not always to be true. In my experience, I have often seen a higher ratio of roosters. But, who really knows why? Genetics are a bit of a random science.

Another example for ratio doubts can unfortunately be blamed on barnyard hens that are clumsy with their eggs and chicks, as well her sisters, who love to interfere when mother hen leaves her clutch or brood unattended while she takes a break. Shamelessly, the jealous aunties may invade the mother hen’s nest and try to take over. Eggs can be crushed and newborn chicks can be injured or killed during these unjust ventures. Proof there can be extenuating circumstances for throwing off the ratio theory. Nevertheless, decide early whether you are going to sell the chicks right away or hang on to them until the first cock-a-doodle-doo gives you the clue. Everyone has a special set of circumstances to consider, and deciding wisely is the only way to go.

Rooster
Selling an unwanted rooster may be more important to you than culling the rooster, especially if you raised them from the egg.

I remember my first problem rooster was a Silkie named Rupert. He and five hens were mailorder chicks I enjoyed watching grow up. Rupert was a beautiful white bird who looked harmless as a kitten, but when that little devil became 4 months old, he turned on me like a hungry tiger. I decided after a couple months dealing with his painful assaults on my wrists, knees and ankles, he had to go, and the sooner the better, but first I took a few beautiful pictures of him. I then construct-ed a concise ad, listing all his particulars with a fair but low price. I then published it on my favorite website. I soon received a positive response from a fellow who wanted to trade me an O-Shamo hen for my Silkie rooster. The man had decided to raise Silkies exclusively, and Rupert was perfect for him. I was okay with his offer, and the rooster got a good home in a lovely seaside town about an hour away. And, I got an interesting game bird in exchange. Saki joined my other hens and never gave me a minute’s trouble.

Here are a few suggestions for selling roosters and finding them a good home:

Speaking from experience, I have found Craigslist.com to be the best place for me to find great homes for my roosters, but there are a myriad of other ways to sell your unwanted roosters, such as your local newspaper or trade papers; feed store corkboards; 4-H clubs; and other social media outlets. Additionally, make a point of talking chicken everywhere you go. Believe me, word of mouth works. Try looking up online chicken rescue services in your area, as they may help you either place the rooster or take it in; ask if you can post an ad at the post office or grocery store; keep a list of all your prior chick buyers and give them a call, as they just might want to buy a rooster or do a trade. Try some creative thinking. Surprise yourself; roosters aren’t really that hard to sell if you apply your own creativity.

Editor’s note: Be careful using Craigslist.com when trading or purchasing birds, and make sure you are not getting scammed. We recommend looking at the birds before you ever agree to buy them.

Linda White-Francis writes and raises poultry in Holiday, Florida.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *