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Culling my three roosters... having second thoughts???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Thetomsfam, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Thetomsfam

    Thetomsfam New Egg

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    This may seem silly to a lot of you, but today my husband and I have to cull our three Brahma Roosters and needless to say, I am NOT looking forward to it.... in fact, I think a root canal would be more appealing. We tried for weeks finding new homes for them, but no one seems to want Roosters that crow. I have never killed anything before, aside from a few snakes and the kamikaze rabbits that dart in front of my car on our country road. I know this is a must, for the good of our flock, its just going to be really hard. This is our first flock, we have 4 Brahmas (1 buff laced and three gold laced) 3 of which are Roosters, and we have 4 Ameraucana hens, that just started laying. The roosters have become complete terrors, eating all of the feed and not letting the hens have any, doing their mating happy dance every few seconds and harassing our hens, (especially the little Ameraucanas) so badly at times that I think it is affecting their laying. So, culling is definitely what needs to take place. It's just a shame because they are such gorgeous birds! I really wanted to save at least one to mate with my sole Brahma pullet, Reba. The problem is that I don't want to keep him with all of the girls and I am wondering if it is good to just have one rooster by itself all the time, except for mating of course. Any ideas? The one I am thinking of maybe saving is darn near 11lbs, over twice the size of our Ameraucanas... He could really hurt/kill them, even with their saddles. Does anyone out there have a roo in their backyard flock? Do you keep it with your general population? Is it worth saving one of mine? We really would like more brahma chickens and it would be nice not to have to pay $20 a chick plus shipping and wait until April until our breeder starts supplying orders... All of the Roosters are so sweet, they have all been hand raised and will sit on your lap for hours if you let them. The aggression that I see is towards the hens, it's not all of the time, but it is there and it worries me. The Roosters are all 6 months old.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    You are right - 2 or 3 of the roosters would have to go. I'm not quite sure why you wouldn't keep your rooster with the hens if you saved one? I had a brahma rooster for 3 years before he got nabbed by a coyote this summer (he's the one in my avatar). I kept him with the hens, because I wanted fertile eggs. I have a very mixed flock with hens of various sizes. I do have some EEs, and he did mate them with no harm to the hens. (My current flock rooster is out of an EE hen - I can tell by his beard and cheek tufts). I wouldn't keep a rooster by himself, as chickens are flock animals. He also would be of no use for protection and flock leadership if you kept him separate, and I'm not sure how it would work to put him with the flock just for breeding - he would not have a place in the pecking order, as such, if you put him in and took him out and put him in and took him out... If it were my flock, I'd keep one if I wanted chicks. At $20 a chick (did I read that right??) I would definitely find another way to get them. With just one rooster, the aggression should cease. Part of that, I think, is the competition between the 3 of them. It is hard to process animals that you have turned into pets. My chickens aren't pets, but I still don't look forward to butchering day. I have made that choice, though, and it's best for my flock to keep a certain number of birds, so we do it. When you have chickens, you have to have a plan for the ones that just don't work for your flock anymore. Our plan is the freezer or canning jars. Keep your chin up - you're doing the best thing for your hens by getting rid of some of them. I believe you're right that the stress of all those roosters is affecting their laying.
     
  3. Mammachix

    Mammachix Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 14, 2013
    We had way too many roosters this spring as well. We culled two and kept the one that was the least aggressive. I can't say that if all three are currently aggressive, that a remaining rooster would become less so, because I simply don't know. The rooster we kept was named Aphrodite for a while, but then when the other two roosters were in quarantine, she-he came out of the closet and became Zeus. He never even crowed until he was seven months old! He is a simply awesome fellow now and has nine hens to manage. It might be a bit tough on just four hens though...he seems to need the challenge of keeping many girls in line, and of course, loving them all.
     
  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I am sorry you have to do this. Killing for the first time is no fun. It doesn't really get easier, but after a couple times, you get better at it which means a quick and mostly painless death for the bird. I hate doing it, but every time I've had to cull, it helps to remind myself it is for the greater good of my flock.
     
  5. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had to process 5 "extra males for warmth" this fall. I took my time, only doing two the first day so that I could make sure that I wasn't stressing them and creating unnecessary trauma. This is what I did -- fair warning to anyone who doesn't want to know the details.

    I closed my coop door overnight (I don't normally -- the run is hardened so I give them free access), and set up first thing in the morning with a small table, an ice water bath for chilling them down, a trash can for the waste, my best poultry shears, and a very sharp knife.

    I had to work in a suburban backyard so I didn't have the ability to set up a killing cone so I used the broomstick over the neck method.

    With my husband's assistance I took two roosters out of the coop, trapping one under a laundry basket with a concrete block on top in lieu of a pet carrier and carrying the other one around until it calmed down from being caught. I talked nonsense to him, telling him that he'd had a good run so far but that this was the fate intended for young roosters and when I felt steady enough I laid him on his side on the ground keeping good hold of both feet in one hand. I used my free hand to lay an ax handle across his neck, stepped on it firmly with both feet (critical to get your weight centered over the broomstick so that it doesn't slip out from under your feet), then I took hold of his ankles and gave a sharp jerk upward to sever the spine and cause an internal decapitation.

    I'll admit that I was too timid on the first one. I'm sure that he was stunned and feeling nothing because he was limp but his spine wasn't severed so I had to do it again. The others I did better.

    When you sever the spine they spasm. It seemed that the better the break was the more flapping and vibration. I held him upside down by the ankles until the spasms stopped -- allowing the blood to drain into the cavity of neck skin. This takes a minute or two and the bird gets heavy. I'd have liked to have had a killing cone or a means of hanging him up.

    Then I laid him on the table with his head hanging down over the trash can, cut it off, then allowed the blood to drain.

    I processed him as per the instructions on the meat forum but skinned him rather than plucking him. I didn't find it difficult though I will say that with a BS in Biology I've done a lot of dissections.

    Once you get a chicken undressed it looks like any other chicken. The only way to tell my Red Boys from the grocery store chickens is that I have the feet in the bags since I figured it wasn't respectful to waste anything. I left them in the fridge for 2 days before freezing to let the rigor mortis pass so they shouldn't be tough.

    Its not fun but its part of the natural circle of life. My DH was fine with helping catch and handle the roosters and fine with helping the cleanup and bagging but he didn't want to be there when I made the kill.

    Now that cold weather has come I'm going to have some GOOD chicken and dumplings.
     

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