2 cockerels! What do I do?!?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cajun41887, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. cajun41887

    cajun41887 Out Of The Brooder

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    So we just purchased chickens for the first time ever 4 weeks ago. We bought 10 and they were all supposed to be pullets. I have at least 2 cockerels and another that I suspect may be a cockerel as well. My question is, what do I do with them? We only wanted hens. I'm not opposed to keeping one rooster and we are out in the country and have no zoning restrictions, but how do I decide which one to keep? One is a delaware, the other likely a black austrlorp and the other, I have no idea, but have posted on another forum hoping someone has an idea. What do I do with the roosters we can't keep? Feed store won't take them back and I can't bring myself to kill any of them. Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions. Also, at what point will they start cock-a-doodle-dooing so I can completely confirm they are roos?
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    With seven or eight pullets, one cockrel will be a good number. There are things to consider when picking the right boy; temperament is #1, and good health and structure. Then the cute/ eye candy factors come into play. Watch them grow, observe behavior, and it might not be too difficult to choose. I don't hand feed or try to make pets of the cockrels, they must get out of my way in the pen and respect my space all the time. Too 'friendly' might turn into obnoxious later. Bad boys are great in the crock pot, and that's the fate of most cockrels. Find homes or sell or give away your extra males if you can't eat them yourself. That's part of chicken keeping too. Your home raised birds will have wonderful lives, especially compared to the grocery store birds. Mary
     
  3. cajun41887

    cajun41887 Out Of The Brooder

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    The delaware cockerel is super sweet and can be handled fairly easily. The Australorp, can hardly be touched, but if I understand what you are saying, I should stop handling them if I think they are cockerels? I have 2 kids, ages 8 and 3, so I can't have an unruly rooster. Being new to this whole chicken thing, can you suggest how I should raise a respectful rooster? He doesn't have to be friendly per se, but I don't want to be attacked when going into the run etc.
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Full-blown crowing will happen when they begin to reach sexual maturity, but i have had 6 week old little boys trying their best [​IMG] From my experience, around 4 - 4.5 months is about the age mine have started their proper crowing. Prior to this, there will be obvious signs that they are male -large comb and wattle, spiked hackle feathers (on the neck) and saddle feathers (on either side of the main tail feathers), they will be taller and likely larger than your girls also.

    Bear in mind that if one of them begins to crow, other subordinate males may not do so, as it is a sign of dominance.

    If you post photos when they are at least 8 weeks old, I'm sure folks here will be able to help out.

    Good luck

    CT
     
  5. cajun41887

    cajun41887 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Ken. How do I decide which to keep if any? What are my options for finding them new homes?
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I think Follys place gave you a solid basis for choosing which one to keep - I'd follow that.
    re: options for re-homing - you could try finding a thread with BYCers from your area and seeing if anyone wants him maybe? If you are not comfortable with killing him, may be someone in your area might help you do that? It can be a bit difficult trying to offload roosters i think so don't be surprised if the crockpot (not necessarily yours) is the only solution.

    Good luck

    CT
     
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Really, I would think about advertising in the paper, and do not ask what they plan to do with them.

    This is my opinion, and I hesitate to offer it, but you did say in the op, that you really only planned to get hens. I would stick with that plan and get some experience. Roosters are a crap shoot, and I think having some experience with chickens is better if you wait to have roosters. One can always get a rooster. You do have young children, and that can be a tough combination. Roosters have ruined the whole chicken experience for a lot of kids. This forum is full of posts on the darling turning into the nightmare.

    I am a believer in waiting, getting some experience and letting your own children get a bit bigger.

    Mrs K
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    This is good advice IMO. I used to have roos, but these days i prefer just girls - the flock actually seems more peaceful without one (I'm sure my neighbours agree [​IMG]). In the future i will get fertilised eggs for my broody to set.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^^

    Get rid of all of them until you've had pullets/hens for a year or so.
    You've probably got until they are about 4 months old before they start causing trouble.
    I eat mine before 16 weeks because they are still tender enough to put on the grill, then use the grilled bones for broth.
     
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Having a small child does change the story a lot, and maybe no roosters at all will be a good thing at least for a year or two. On the other hand, a nice rooster is such an asset to the flock, and he'll be beautiful! I do love the boys, but have zero tolerance for any human aggression. Small children move fast and can be much more difficult to manage and protect. When I move through my flock, I expect the cockrels to move out of my way, and not give me that look, or dance for me, or think any bad thoughts. It does take some experience to understand what you are seeing out there. It may not be a bad thing to start teaching your children how to move through the flock, and not harass the birds. I've got two adult roos and three cockrels right now, and non of them are difficult. Next spring will be the next test, and occasionally a cockrel will get ugly when around one year of age. Then the crockpot comes out again. Mary
     

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