I’ve mentioned before that I had several extra roosters, and I was trying to find someone to buy them. I haven’t had any luck, and this weekend I decided it was time to remove them from the large coop. It won’t be long until they are breeding age and nine breeding age roosters in one coop with 9 breeding age hens would turn ugly very quickly. The guys that I don’t want to keep have been relocated to the tractor temporarily while we decide what our next move is.
This is a problem that most chicken keepers will face eventually. If you hatch eggs or buy straight run chicks, you will have too many roosters. If you buy pullets to avoid that problem, you will have laying hens that get beyond laying age and you’ll have to decide whether to keep feeding them or remove them from your flock. If you decide to keep retired hens, a chicken will become ill and need to be culled to prevent unnecessary suffering.
Really, our only options at this point are to give these roosters away (knowing that anyone who took them would probably butcher them anyway), or butcher them ourselves. This would be a first for us. We don’t have any moral qualms about butchering chickens – we pretty much believe it’s the natural order of things and more humane than letting them rip each other to shreds once they are a little older. I know myself and my limitations and I know that I am too squeamish to handle butchering a chicken. Mr. Fix It can handle it, and I will probably leave it up to him if this is something he wants to try. J-Bear is actually excited at the idea. He’s been lobbying to raise meat chickens for months now. I have a feeling that of the three of us, he will be the best at it, and if we decide to try it, this could definitely become one of his designated jobs.
I’ll let you know what we decide. And if the decision is to butcher chickens I will do a post about it (with a BIG DISCLAIMER on the front page to warn away the squeamish!)