You were so excited to become a growing number of proud back yard chicken owners.
You built a cute little coop, maybe even hung a curtain or two, told all of your friends you would soon be in supply of Fresh Eggs.
Placed your order for Pullets (female baby chickens) from a well-known hatchery, breeder, or local feed store.
Brought home your adorable, fluffy, little balls of joy.
You watched them as they quickly transformed from precious tiny balls of fluff to that awkward teenage ugly stage in a very short period of time.
With excitement, you greeted them every morning to let them out, gave them fresh food and water and maybe a treat.
Just when you start to walk away……. one of your adorable (not so little) egg-laying pullets started to clear her throat and belt out her very first Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!!!! ?????
Hen or Roo?
What? The Breeder/Hatchery told you they would all be hens! You paid for hens!! What are you going to do? Your neighbors are going to FREAK OUT!!!
What to Do With A Rooster
Relax. Take a deep breath. It will all be Okay.
I’m repeating the scenario we faced just not too long ago, it is a very real situation that many chicken owners are faced with.
You wanted only hens and now you have roosters, you’re not alone.
- If you ordered Pullets from a hatchery/breeder you can contact them and most will offer you a refund (however, they will not take back the rooster).
A lot of hatcheries include roosters as their ‘extras’ that they ship with yours.
I’ve heard of people getting 25 ‘extra’ chicks that all ended up being roosters.
- If you bought your chicks from a feed store, chances are they were straight run.
If you ordered or bought Straight Run chicks there is a 50/50 chance you will get roosters/hens so there is not much you can do in regards to a refund.
Are Roosters So Bad?
What is the reason why you don’t want a Rooster?
If it is HOA or City/County rules I can certainly understand that.
However, there may be ways to bend those rules without breaking them or you can work towards getting your city to amend them, read an article about approaching the steps for approval for chickens.
If you don’t have any laws against owning a rooster, maybe you can reconsider not wanting one?
Advantages To Owning a Rooster
- Protection- Whether you’re in the city or on 100 acres, you will always have predators that will want to eat your flock.
A Rooster will protect his flock and put his life in harm’s way to keep them safe
- Order in the house– A rooster will keep the flock in order.
My Rooster made sure all the girls got into the coop at night and kept them from wandering outside of our yard during the day.
- Dinner reservations not required– A rooster will not only keep order but he will show them where to find food and offer them bugs he’s collected
- Keep you in supply of laying hens– An average hen will lay eggs consistently for about 3-4 years, after that you will need to purchase more Pullets and start over.
If you have a Rooster you will have fertilized eggs you can hatch yourself for FREE.
- Extra income– Many people like to buy fertilized eggs and hatch their own, you can offer this service and make a little spending money. Over 150 Ways To Make Money Homesteading here
- Food– You can eat (and probably already do) fertilized eggs.
Make sure you collect eggs on a daily basis and you can eat them as any normal egg.
Many say fertilized eggs are more nutritious.
- Good Pets-Roosters can make a good pet.
I know many chicken owners who have roosters as pets and adore them.
- Never be late again-BEST alarm clock EVER!
You can’t beat the sound of a Rooster crowing to wake you up in the morning.
Disadvantages to Owning a Rooster
- Mean-Roosters can become mean and aggressive as their hormones kick in.
- Dangerous-They grow spurs for protection that will hurt and can injure you if he feels the flock is being threatened
- Foul Play-Roosters are known for being bad lovers.
Many hens have lost their feathers and some get injured to an aggressive lover.
They do sell back covers for hens to protect them.
- Fighting-They can, and will, fight with other roosters.
- Loud-They will crow in the morning, and at night, and in the day- pretty much whenever they feel like it
Keeping a Roo
- Train Your Roo- Have an aggressive rooster? Chickens are intelligent creatures and posses the ability to become trained with a little work. Here is a wonderful article full of tips to help tame your aggressive rooster by Mother Earth Living
- Neuter Him– You can neuter a Rooster.
Finding a vet who has experience in this may be hard but not impossible.
A castrated Rooster is called a Capon. Capons will grow bigger than a normal Rooster and become good for eating. However, when you take away a Roosters hoo haa you also take away his drive to protect the flock and lead.
Now he’s just a male version of a hen without the bonus of eggs.
- Too much of a good thing– To avoid a lot of fighting and aggression issues, limit the amount of roosters you keep.
The general rule of thumb is one rooster to 10 hens. Any more than that and you risk fights.
The Rooster Relocation Program
If your Rooster has got to go, you have a couple of options:
- He can become dinner- Oh come on, don’t tell me you own chickens but don’t eat chicken? Well, eating a rooster is no different.
Only now you will have a true connection to where your food came from and your chicken can have a humane death, unlike the chicken you buy at a store.
- For Sale– Post him on Craigslist or some other media site.
Be forewarned, there are 100 other people out there just like you who are wanting to get rid of their Roosters too.
You have a better chance of finding him a new home if you give him away for free and not charge $.
In addition, if you have a desirable breed, you can charge good money for breeding stock.
- Contact a local farm and ask if they want him
- Offer to a soup kitchen
- Auction-Look for a local Livestock Auction or Livestock Swap Meets in your area
- Paper-Free add in local paper
- 4-H-Contact your local 4-H or county extension service
I’m not going to lie, finding a new home for your Rooster can be challenging, but not impossible.
If you have any other ideas you would like to add to this, please let me know.
Chicken math is inevitable and I’m sure getting more roosters in the mix are in our near future.
What will we do next time? Who knows? What’s in your roosters future?
Saturday 12th of November 2022
Hi. I read your info on a rooster and my problem is we got a lot of chicks for eggs but when I went out to coop this morning I heard a strange cocka doodle do I was wondering would it b ok to have him in with hens his brood mates that haven't layed eggs yet. Do I need to make another pen for him?
Friday 25th of November 2022
Yes, it is completely fine to keep them together. A rooster does an amazing job at protecting the his flock. As long as you don't have more than 1 rooster per 5 hens, you will be fine. Any more than that, they harass the hens too much and fight with the other roosters. Make sure to collect the eggs daily as the eggs will become fertilized.
Happy to help with any future questions! Best, Amber
Saturday 2nd of May 2020
I have roosters and hens and my wife keeping them while im away for work. i always asked my wife their photos almost every other day and i felt i forget my stressfull day.they are my stress reliever and im excited to see them when i got home. i have american fouls like kelso, hatches, white hackles and roundhead. sometimes i brought my rooster to arena since in the philippines cock fighting is legal.sometimes i win or loss in the fight but i never gave up breeding fighting cocks or rooster. but my purpose of breeding is to sell a good quality of chickens.raising chicken is not easy it needs more attention and care. try this at home it help your mind relax while watching your chickens grow up.
Saturday 18th of April 2020
This is a great post, thank you! I'm totally new to the world of chickens (as an owner) and we have 6 new chicks. I keep wondering if we will have all hens or any roosters. Thank you for writing about this!
Sunday 19th of April 2020
Congratulations!! Roosters can be wonderful-sometimes, but when you can't have them because of laws, or don't want them, you need to know there are options. Keep me posted about your new chicken adventures!
Monday 9th of March 2020
Just leave them at the humane society...like I do with babies I dont want. I just drop off the little turds at a hospital or fire dept after I give birth and dont want them. Unwanted humans are no different than unwanted humans. I wouldnt put a human in a pot nor would I put a chicken in one. PS...You blog is so.......lezzie.
Monday 9th of March 2020
1/10 for troll attempt. Would not recommend trolling again until you can string together a coherent sentence.
Saturday 1st of February 2020
Contrary to this author’s suggestion, I can’t imagine someone living with chickens and continuing to eat them.
After getting to know chickens in a personal way and finding out they all have distinct and complex personalities, and especially just seeing their joy in living, I immediately took chickens off the menu.
Tuesday 18th of May 2021
I completely agree. I can’t imagine KILLING AND EATING chickens that I raised from hatching. I acquired mines though. A nearby neighbor moved and just abandoned 2 hens. I would gather the eggs (which are delicious) until a rooster showed up and now there are 8 chicks (2 months now) plus the other 3 adults. I live in the city might I add
Wednesday 12th of February 2020
I love eating chickens. I find that the ones with the stronger personalities tend to stick around longer anyway.