How to deal with hatched roosters?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 22, 2012
Hi All,

We're new to raising chickens and our boys would like to hatch some eggs this spring. I am just wondering how others have dealt with this since you can't ensure hens and many of us can't keep roosters? I believe that my kids will be very attached by the time we know if they are roosters or not. Any ideas?

You could look up how to feather sex them, from what I know it seems pretty simple, though I have not done it myself, and a number of hatcheries use this method.
Just so you know, research suggests that their are temps at which you get higher females hatch rates (but males eggs die) and vice versa. I know CelticOaksFarms son is doing some research on this now.

That said, feather sexing only works with some breeds. You can try to learn how to vent sex very early on, or choose to hatch things that can be feather sexed immediatly. Sex link chickens do that for sure, and are good layers. Then you could see your extra roos immediatly after hatch. I don't blame you for wanting to hatch, its a great science project, and lots of fun.

I would recomend for you to just get eggs that can be sexed at hatch.
Unfortunately you cannot tell the sex at hatch unless the parents are set up genetically for that. If you are interested you can read the first post in this thread , but the parents have to be set up right for you to feather sex or get red or black sex links. None of those methods work with just any old chicks. You can try vent sexing but I'm not sure how accurate that would be without training.

If you have breeds that Tadkerson lists in that post, you can tell the sex of the chicks at hatch. So that's the best way if you have the right breeds.

I honestly don't know any other way to sex them at hatch for most of us. There are other ways related to sex linked genes but the parents still have to be set up right genetically.

With some breeds or chicks I can pretty well tell the sex at 4 to 5 weeks just based on appearance. But some breeds are harder than others and some chicks of the "easy" breeds are harder than others. I've had some I could not tell for sure at 8 weeks.

I don't have a clue as how to keep your kids from getting attached. I don't know your routines or your kids. I've worked with a lot of kids at the playground, in Scouts, and at school. Most of them can handle a lot more than you'd expect, especially if they know what's coming. My kids raised a lot of pets, gerbils, fish, salamanders, rats, and others. Sometimes those pets died. The kids got over it.

I commend you for thinking of it. You might be surprized at how many people don't realize they can hatch roosters as well as pullets and don't have any kind of plan at all.

Hatching eggs and raising the chicks can be a great experience for kids. My suggestion. Be honest with your kids and let them learn something about life.
Kids are smart. They can handle it. Besides, we just get rid of extra roos when they start to crow. There are folks happy to take young males off your hands. Just know they might be eaten later, but thats part of chicken ownership too sometimes. I usually wait and then comb sex them at 2.5-3 monthes, just before most start to crow. Its not 100% accurate, but its close enough for me.
We butcher ours for the most part. We gave a few away too. Others have suggested craigs list and things like that to list them for sale. There is a decent amount of meat on them by the time they start to crow.

My kids love the chickens but didn't have any problem with us butchering the roosters. Just hatch out enough eggs so that they don't miss the roosters :lau
I have a rooster now that doesn't crow. He opens his mouth but nothing comes out :confused: we hatched him.

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