Few questions regarding roos

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sammi<3chickens, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. Sammi<3chickens

    Sammi<3chickens In the Brooder

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    I guess this is not really questions but more for the sake of conversation about the issues for my education I guess.

    I have about 35 heritage roos for meat. They are about 15 weeks old now. There are some that are driving me absolutely bonkers, which I want to do away with tonight! They are the red sex link males that were free for "heat" for shipping the order. I decided to just keep them and see what happens, plus this is our first time ever butchering, so I figured we can try on the freebies. Those are the ones are driving me crazy. They aggressively go after the hens who are about 4 weeks older. They are out to kill them. I dont think they are trying to mate as what I first thought. Once one starts on a hen, 2 more will come over and join in. They are mostly free range, so splitting them up is not exactly an option, though I was able to today. I have the majority barrd rocks, and a hand full of white orphs, white rocks, and white wyandotes. These male red sex links (rock/RIR cross right? )are the biggest, and their feathers dont seem to be as thick as the other breeds, so it looks like they actuly have meat on their bones already. Could this breed really be bigger/ready this soon? Basicly, they are a x-ed dual purpose bird, so it does make sense right? I just hate to do it to early and waist what could have been a slightly heavier bird.

    So is it normal for males to aggressively go after the hens NOT to mate? The roos have duels against each other, nothing to bad at this point, and I dont really care if they beat up on each other who can defend itself. The roos dont gang up on a single roo yet, just the hens. I hate that.

    The cock-a-doodle-dos, I have noticed that its again the sex link breed. They have seemed to grow and mature the fastest, though a few of the barreds rocks have started, and he is also bigger then the rest. Can their calls indicate their maturing and readyness for the crock pot? Some one told me a while back, who doesnt keep roos because of the safety of their children, and who raises only dual purpose breeds for meat, that their rule of thumb is, once it starts having a voice, off with its head.

    Okay, sorry for that rambling on, and my non question, questions.
    Thanks in advance for any info/answers or enlightenment on the subjects.
     
  2. scubaforlife

    scubaforlife Songster

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    They are interested in the hens, but probably don't know why at this point. I have noticed with young roosters, if anyone gets sqwacking too much they start fighting.

    Eventually they start prancing and dancing around, trying to attract the hens, but at first they just beat them up.

    Eat them, its easier that way.
     
  3. stanglover2001

    stanglover2001 Songster

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    I heard if they start to crow that means they're ready for the fridge, they'll start to get tough if you wait to long to butcher. They might gain a little bit more but not enough to make a huge difference IMHO because they're using their energy to face off with each other and that burns the calories. I've got several roosters that are ready for freezer camp, I gotta do it soon or they'll all get tough [​IMG] I'm a little in over my head. I have approx 10 roosters ready, and approx 22 cornishX ready they turn 8 weeks tomorrow. [​IMG] And my DH has a day job so it's just me through the week to do it by myself!
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    The behavior is normal, go ahead and butcher your reds now.
    Unfortunately what you will find is that with them gone your next in line for agressiveness will step up to the plate (and start crowing!). But great for you, butcher them next! You don't want to start with too many to butcher at one time anyway.
    Just announce that the winner of todays crowing contest gets invited to dinner [​IMG]
     
  5. turtlebird

    turtlebird Songster

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    I have also found that the most aggressive roos started chasing the lesser assertive fellows away from the feeder. Place extra feeders so your roos don't start losing weight.
    I only have 5 roos to process...they are 16 weeks and just started terrorizing the hens. I separated them and wednesday night is the big night. Thank goodness only 5!
     
  6. bigstack

    bigstack Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    I had an extreme roo issue as well! My hens really got punished! I have all bald hens and 1 even got her head torn open! The roo's are in compatition right now! That is why so agressive. I processed 8 first and have another 8 to do this weekend. They are already doing better! I would thin ASAP!!! It will only help the hens! I also started out by picking the meaest ones first. Especially if they came at me! I walked into the coop and the first one to step up was the first one in the freezer! I hated to do it but it is what they are for!

    Good Luck and God Bless!
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    In my experience it's not the age of the rooster but the method of cooking that determines toughness. I do my standard-breed roos at around 20 weeks, sometimes up to 24 weeks, and have never found a tough one. I let them rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and then cook them slowly with lots of moisture.

    Still, you've got 35 of these guys so you may not need to worry about getting the maximum meat from each one. Especially if there are some who are acting rowdy. You can go ahead & send the troublemakers to the Other Side of the Road now & let the others grow up a bit more.

    You could also confine them to a cage or pen for another few weeks and let them grow. I once had a batch of young cockerels I was raising for meat, I would let them out to free-range all day so I didn't have to feed them as much store-bought food. Some of them ganged up on a hen and I found her pressed flat on her side in the dirt, dead.

    And of course, [​IMG] Sammi!
     
  8. Sammi<3chickens

    Sammi<3chickens In the Brooder

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    Thank you all for your comments.
    I was able to make an area where they are all in the fenced in garden (rotating veggie gardens every other year) So for the most part, they stay in there. Some fly out, but its not the end of the world. I hessitated to keep them in the garden during the hot hot summer in the sun. I wanted them to go in the woods for shade. But now, for whatever reason, mid augaust is cooler than normal. But anyway, I was able to enclose most of the roos, and let the hens in the "palace" coop and free range during the day. Everyone is much happier; just a lil more confusing at times.
    But strangly, the sex link agressive roos are now being not "top notch" and are now more at the bottom of the chain. Some of the other roos are beating them up a lil.

    I did assume that once I got rid of the tougher guys, more would take its place. But I do like the idea that I dont have to process all 35 chickens at one time. And my DH also works a lot of over time. While I am not the one to process them all by my self (yet anyway) DH has lil time to do this.
     

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