One thing about raising chickens for the purpose of getting more hens is that you undoubtably will end up with more roosters than you would like. Roosters are beautiful, and it’s really quite cool to see their feathers come in as they are usually more colourful and striking than the hens. It’s also kind of fun to try and guess which birds will be which. Unfortunately though, these roosters don’t really get along very well and in the long run cause unwanted stress in the flock and take up space and food that I don’t want them to have. After all, they aren’t giving me any eggs and no one really wants to buy them. So, what do I do?
Well, one solution is to find someone that is happy to fatten these roosters up on their own land and then eat them. I have found one such person who has taken some off my hands. This is a great solution because once I know which birds are roos, I just turn them over to him and know that they will have a happy life growing to adulthood the way they should with grass and fresh air. I realise they will not live much longer, but I gave them a good life while they were living, and I don’t have to do the killing.
Another solution is to find someone that is willing to take the roosters once they are already fattened up. This is less ideal but still an ok solution. I still have to feed them longer than I want to, but I do get to see them reach their full potential as they feather out and begin crowing. I did find someone who is willing to take these kind of roosters but there was a small dilemma, in that they don’t do the butchering themselves. They get a friend to do it and then the roo sits in their freezer until they are ready to use it. This causes a queue to build up on my end, as they don’t really have room for or even know what to do with so many roosters, plus it’s kind of an ordeal for them to get their friend to kill the birds and prepare them.
The last solution, which is the most surefire way to not have any roosters, is to butcher them yourself and prepare them so all you have to do is ask people, ‘Would you like some rooster meat?’ And they will be much more willing to say yes! So, this last solution is something I have embarked upon today. I never thought I would be willing or able to do this, but after some research, preparation and some caution I butchered my first rooster.
What I learned from the experience:
I did not enjoy it
It wasn’t actually that hard
It wasn’t gory, the rooster died humanely, but I don’t like the smell of blood.
Plucking feathers is actually kind of amusing
Once the bird has no face it becomes more of a science experiment/dissection
It’s fascinating to see the organs when you remove them and there is some pride in seeing how healthy your bird is.
The actual killing process did make my stomach turn a bit, but the rooster was so calm through it all and didn’t make any distressing noises, which I was thankful for. I am a vegetarian and don’t eat chicken myself, but I can see how this might be helpful knowledge to have someday if there is an emergency and I need to eat some of my birds. This seems unlikely, but you never do know.