Free Range or Freezer Camp?


9 Years
Jan 2, 2011
I have 4 roos and 11 girls. My BO roo has his girls - the 3 BO pullets and 1 BR - and my BR roo has his - the other 5 BR pullets. The two mutt pullets hang out with the two mutt cockerals. So far, there hasn't been any fighting or issues over the ladies. But, they are all starting to get more mature and I can their "big boy" hormones are starting to kick in. The BO is aout 21 weeks, the BR is about 19 weeks, and the Mutts are about 18 weeks but not nearly as physically mature looking as the other two. Obviously, this is too many cockerals per pullets in one coop and run. All along we've planned to keep the BR and the BO roos, now we just need to figure out what to do with the Mutts.

If you were choosing, would you pick Freezer Camp or letting them free range? From the beginning, we've been thinking that any extra males would be "harvested" but I'm not sure if I'm ready for that.
I kind of want to see what they'll be like full grown and wouldn't mind having them run around the yard. But, would they run off? How would I keep them somewhat safe at night? The parents of the mutts are free ranged so I'm hoping they will have some decent survival instincts. But, from a financial standpoint, it would really stink to let them run free then loose them right away. With free range birds, do you still feed them? I feel like it makes more sense for us to harvest them but I kind of don't want to.

If we choose to let them loose, how would you make the transition?


10 Years
Aug 12, 2009
I let my 7 hens ans 1 roo free range in the back yard with less food during the day. I want them to eat up the bugs. If fighting and overmating is not an issue it might be OK to let the mutts live for now.

It is always tough to do that first kill,but it is not so bad. If I had that many roos I would want to see how they act and kill the ones that I did not like.

I just let mine loose.At first they stayed close to the coop,but later explored the entire yard.


Crazy Cochin Lady
8 Years
Jun 27, 2011
Bronson, Tx
I've thought about the same thing. I really don't want to have to kill any that I've grown attached to but I don't want them mating with a certain group of hens, my purebreds or when I have a better quality rooster that I'd rather breed with.

I'm planning on having a seperate pen for the bachelor roosters but until then I may just let them have run of the property. From my free-range experiance so far they stay pretty close to their pen and go back, or at least closer to the pen, when it starts getting dark. And they're still young.


11 Years
Jul 5, 2011
SE Oregon
I was a little hesitant about killing our first one...that said, I can't WAIT for more roos, because it was the best dinner I ever had! Freezer camp for all our extras from now on! Glad we got past that first one!

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
Not even an issue here. The extra males get eaten.

I only keep my very best males. They have a huge influence on the next generation and I want to use the best sires.

Kill them clean, fast, and humanely (which means fast).

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