Hiya all!!! This is my story of how I dealt with my roosters. All my chickens are Black Australorps. This season's chooks began as 8 straight run, 2 day old chicks. My neighbor "did me a favor" and ordered 6 pullets and a roo, which was what I wanted. Except the hatchery she ordered from doesn't sex BA chicks. They also threw in a packing peanut of my breed, so that brought us to the 8. Of that 8, 5 turned out to be roosters. I integrated the 8 with my 6 year-old hens from the season before and as the boys matured, the breeding frenzy commenced. By 18 weeks, I began tossing the boys out to free range in the daytime to give the girls a break and take a bit of the pressure off my feed bill. I cooped them all together at night, as we live next to a forest full of predators. One by one, I left them in with the girls, and watched how they behaved together. I have had my heart set on one roo, all along, who, in the flock of 14 was second in command of the yard. I even named him (and him alone). In order to see how he would behave as flock boss, processed #1 first. Within a few days, my own dear roo became the top dog. Soon, he started thinking he was big, and would walk at me with his neck feathers out. I would hollar and make my arms and body big, and he would back off. But he also sort of began bullying the hens, and I just didn't like the direction he was headed. Far and away my favorite roo personality to emerge was the #3 roo, who would hop on one foot, and dip his wings to the hens. They seem to be most relaxed with him, and he is a good protector. He walks the perimeter of the run all the time, watching the sky and rest of the farm. He made my decision for me. The first time I butchered, I made rather a mess of it, as I was on my own, and it was my first time. Nevertheless, I did it, and chalked it up to experience. I was more than a little nervous about doing the rest, without anyone to help me, so I kept the rest of the boys through 20 weeks. As dual purpose birds, it seems to take that long to get a decent sized dressed bird. Fortunately for me, some relatives from North Dakota came to visit this past week, and gave me the most thorough tutorial on processing chickens EVER, and I am now really confident about this. My flock numbers are much more balanced for the moment, and the 2 roos who remain are the flock boss, and a very underdeveloped roo who doesn't even crow yet. I am going to give him a bit more time. It has been an interesting process, selecting the right roo for the job, and I feel I have made the right choice. It has been so interesting, also, hearing how other folks have made their decisions. I wish to breed for my own use, and having a rooster is essential to that plan. We have been thru a lot to get to this point. My husband has been threatening some terrible things, since 4/5 roos started crowing. The hens got pretty beat up, feather-wise, and we fed a lot of people for a long, long time, who didn't lay any eggs. But those first newly hatched fuzzy butts are going to make it all worth it someday! Thanks to all for the wonderful advice and knowledge during this part of my poultry journey. I am having fried chicken tonight, and when I say my blessing over the meal, I will be including you all, and your chooks in my prayer. Brightest Blessings!