Hatching males....Would you sell them?


Jul 2, 2015
I found myself in an interesting position tonight. I have been hatching some eggs and like most prefer females. To be honest the males will be food, not for myself but to who I give them to. I will try to keep as many males alive as possibe but having 50 50 split between roosters and hens is not something I am interested in.

Although sad, its the most popular scenario. However tonight I was contacted by someone who wanted some chicks and for what ever reason I had an iffy feeling. I asked if they wanted only females and they didnt care which to me meant he was using them for "snake" or some other animal for food. I couldn't do it, to me there pets and that doesn't allow for a controlled painless death etc.

What is worse, letting a rooster grow just to eat or doing that while its young? Interested in your thoughts.

Sorry if this offends anyone, I know it's a touchy subject.


Dec 10, 2015
Hi, we've just had 13 hatch in 2 batches. Came out with 5 roosters and 8 hens. Put the roosters on gumtree for free, went to a farm in Innisfail. Not sure what happens to them, but not legal to keep more than 1 here, so had to go. Sale price averages $5 unsexed. We've learned to not be too attached to roosters, except our breeder. He's a character.


Bambrook Bantams
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
Forrest Beach, FNQ, Australia
Hey there cliffoco

Yeah, it is a tricky subject and one of the reasons I have put a possibly permanent stop to broody hatches here.

My gals are my very much loved pets and were allowed to have hatches while I built up to the maximum number that Council and my coop size allows [6]. Now I have the six, no more hatches because I can not keep any of them regardless of gender and bringing possibly unwanted chickens into the world is not something I am comfortable doing and any broodiness is broken in broody jail

Of course, with the hatches I have had in the past, I have had roosters but I have kept them here and let them grow to at least 6 or 7 weeks so that hopefully when they are rehomed, they are not going to be snake food.

However, I do not kid myself that they are going to live long and happy lives and the chances are they are going to be eaten.

I do know for a fact that one of my little guys has gone to a home as a replacement of a lost rooster and is quite happy with his gals and a good protector.

As I said, it is a tough one … I definitely could not kill them myself and as mentioned, hopefully when they leave here they are too big to be snake food but I can not keep them, I can not kill them so I have to rehome them which is why I have made the decision not to hatch.

I do know someone who feeds her excess chicks to her snakes BUT, she gives them a controlled painless death beforehand.

I think you will find that lots of caring snake keepers do not feed their snakes live chicks as there is a risk of the chick injuring their snake during the struggle.
[I am sorry if that offends anyone also.]

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jan 30, 2015
I opt to get rid of my cockerels as early as possible but I either sell or give them away to other chicken people - just to reduce costs of feed etc. I do not however have a problem eating them. My chickens are not pets, but that dos not mean that I do not care about them - I most certainly have my favourites but I would never keep any chicken that was no longer productive or needed.



7 Years
They could have also just wanted them for their own food or just because... You have to consider the price as well, if you are selling them at $2+ as day old chicks dollar/pound they are not economical animal food vs mice/rats in most cases and people feeding them to animals will usually want them cheaper... I gave a lot of my roosters to a friend that just wanted to 'bulk' up his free range flock with some more roosters, so there is always the chance they just wanted chickens...

I used to sell exotic animals (both wholesale and retail) for a living and used to buy live chicks by the dozens and even full grown chickens regularly for feeders, at the time they were a lot cheaper then mice and rabbits... Back then it was a non-issue and even though I now have 'pets' (in a loose term) chickens it's still a non issue for the birds I don't want to keep myself... When I have no use for those birds and don't want them I also don't feel I have any right to dictate what the next 'owner' wants to do with a bird that is customarily a food item...

But, I'm not forcing my opinion on anyone, I understand some people want a rainbow and unicorn themed home for all the chickens they hatch or have owned, and that is AOK as well...

Do what you feel you have to do or want to do...


In the Brooder
Jul 12, 2015
South of England
I feel it makes no moral difference whether the males are culled young or when older, as long as it is a humane death. Having said that I feel more squeamish about culling a fluffy chick, even though I know it shouldn't make a difference.

I would not be happy rehoming males unless I knew the person taking them on well as there is no telling how they will be treated.

If I had male chicks I couldn't raise for meat I would let them go for snake food but would cull them before they went (I believe snakes can have them frozen then defrosted).

We eat our surplus boys as we feel there is then a purpose to having had them (and they taste delicious). They have a really good life until the end, and we despatch them on our own land with as little stress as possible.

I feel that I will only hatch chicks if I am prepared to deal with the consequences as it is my responsibility. I am more uncomfortable about breeding a chicken that is treated cruelly by someone else than culling it.

We really love our birds and lavish them with attention and care, but we know that the boys will be eaten as otherwise I can't hatch any more chicks next year.


7 Years
I believe snakes can have them frozen then defrosted

Ideally most pet owners like to get their snakes to that point as feeding thawed frozen is much easier and it's pretty easily done with most captive born and raised snakes, but there are some wild caught ones or just ornery ones that flat out refuse to eat pre-killed food... And although you can work with them and sometimes change their mind many find it easier to just feed live vs dealing with the trouble...

I have a small speckled king snake right now that refuses to eat anything, normally he would eat lizards or other snakes but they can generally be trained to eat pinkies, not this one... I have tried every trick in the book to get him to eat pinkies (both live and thawed) and even put a live green anole in his cage (a native wild food) and he simply won't eat... Instead I have been force feeding him minnows for 6 months now just to sustain him... Having dealt with 1000s of exotics you come across many ornery ones...


Jul 2, 2015
I feel it makes no moral difference whether the males are culled young or when older, as long as it is a humane death. Having said that I feel more squeamish about culling a fluffy chick, even though I know it shouldn't make a difference.
I think that hits it on the head for my case. I raised meat hens and had no problem but they were older and fully grown out. But when there cute and fluffy I just can't do it! Plus I raised a mix so even at 1 month old I am unsure which ones are the males.

The person was using them for snake food but I told him they are not day olds anymore so wasn't ever an option for him.


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
If I could find someone local to take my day old sex link males I'd happily sell them for feeders. Heck, I'd feed them to my own snake, but he's not large enough to eat a large fowl chick. That's why I'm now raising mice.

I don't mind raising cockerels up for meat, but they're really not worth it. Not with the production breeds I've been working with, anyway. If I wanted just meat I'd happily go with the Cornish cross. Thankfully, at the moment I have enough space to grow out cockerels for the table. That will probably change as the breeding projects increase, and cockerels will simply be culled at hatch and used for compost.

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