To cull or not to cull?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rooster_Tyranny, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    Let me preference this by saying that I'm not allowed to keep roosters because of city ordinances, so keeping him for myself is not an option.

    Background information: Back in January or February I got 4 more chicks that I added to my existing flock of 5 hens - 1 Brahma pullet, 2 Orloffs that I don't know the gender of, and a Buff Orpington. The Orp (now named Big Yellow) has of course turned out to be a cockerel, and has just hit sexual maturity.

    He has NOT attacked me outright, but he's been very pushy. This makes me think that if I were to let this behavior continue, he would start attacking me. He minds his own business but if we ever cross paths he will walk right into my space and his hackles will rise, and he's always watching me. I've read enough about chicken behavior on BYC that I think I could "train" him out of this but the point is he's never going to be a pet rooster.

    He's also been making moves on the older hens, I haven't seen him mess with the younger ones at all. He's going after my WCB Polish hen, probably because he knows she's the smallest and the meekest, but whenever he tries to make moves on her another big hen will come and chase him away (girl power!!), the big hens have been terrorizing him a lot which I think is good because it'll teach him manners. He's also WAY too big for some of my chickens and he did manage to rip out some feathers on the Polish hen to the point where I can see her skin. So even if I could keep him he has to go.

    Here's where I'm at a crossroad, the guy who I have planned to give all of my accidental cockerels to completely free-ranges his flock and he has other roosters already, which so far sounds good because it'll teach him he's not on top of the world. BUT he has grandchildren who visit him frequently, one of them is only 1 years old, and I don't think I feel comfortable giving a potentially aggressive cockerel to someone who has small children.

    So here are my three options:
    • Give a potentially aggressive cockerel to someone with small children
    • Post an ad for him on KSL or Craiglist and hope for the best
    • Harvest him
    What do you think? I'd love to hear other people's opinions, experiences, insights on chicken behavior, anything that could help me decide. I've never harvested a chicken before, but I'm too not afraid of doing it. I guess I just don't wanna "waste" Big Yellow's life, he's just doing what cockerels are supposed to do and he's not a terror or anything, he's very polite with the younger pullets, and he's so noble and fun to watch. But at the same time he doesn't have a place in my flock and I'm not sure if he could have one in someone else's.
     
  2. AltonaAcres

    AltonaAcres Songster

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    I gave a highly aggressive cock away to a friend with a free range flock as well as another rooster, and he ended up attacking a small child who was visiting. Thankfully, the cock was trampled by goats several days later. However, this cock was extremely aggressive. Your cock may be fine. Craigslist buyers usually only buy roosters who aren't aggressive, otherwise they will probably butcher them, which may be fine with you? I might give him a few more weeks, then butcher/sell/or give him away.
     
  3. Rosie0550

    Rosie0550 Chirping

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    I think if the farmer has multiple roosters in any capacity he is used to “rooster behavior “- I would also imagine that if he were to see any of them displaying aggression that he deemed unsafe for the grandkids he will likely take care of it. If I had that option, I would gladly give him the rooster, but tell him you were concerned about some of the behavior- and not be upset if he decides in the future he must be culled.
     
  4. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    That's a very good point, I think I'll do that. I guess what I'm asking is do you think this behavior is likely to turn him into a more aggressive cock in the future if he didn't have any training? I've read that they start by testing the limits by doing small things (i.e walking up into your personal space, jumping on you, etc). I don't care if he is killed as long as it is done humanely.
     
    Hugz21 and Sequel like this.
  5. Sequel

    Sequel Crowing

    :oldThere is really no way to know for sure. Every flock has its own dynamic, and a new member changes it. It's great that you're responsible and actually consider possible future rooster problems. I found it touching that you thought about the 1 year old grandchild. He could have a brighter future with another flock, who knows? Roosters gonna be roosters. I would say if you're a worrier just process him yourself. There are so many unwanted ones, at least you would know he had a good life and didn't hurt anyone.
     
  6. Rosie0550

    Rosie0550 Chirping

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    I’m too new to give advice- but our fellow BYC peeps will know . To me, it sounds like he is just doing ‘his thing’ - of course I’m not seeing it, but it doesn’t sound really aggressive ,just a teenager trying to figure out what to do... and I imagine his demeanor will change again when he is introduced to farm life. I grew up on a farm- the only type of culling I ever saw was done incredibly humanely- I think farmers care more for their animals than they are given credit for- just in a different way- (Dad thinks it is ridiculous that I watch tv with a hen on my lap sometimes ), but he cares deeply about their safety & well-being- even in death if that makes sense. We raised straight run () & found a home for 2 Roos, but had to cull one that was fine with me but ran at everyone else, pecking- attacking & pulling feathers out of the other guys, so going to the bachelor coop wasn’t an option and I had nothing but respect for them for letting me know ahead of time. I think open lines of communication between you & farmer guy are key to this being a good experience. Best of luck
     
  7. courtsmarans

    courtsmarans Chirping

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    I always try to train mine, but that doesn't always work. When selling a more aggressive roo I always give people full disclosure that he's not the nicest. If the person is willing to train him out of it (usually because they really want them to breed with) I don't get worried about it. If you're really worried about him, I think there might be some chicken noodle soup in the future (I've had to do that to some too)!
     
    Rooster_Tyranny likes this.
  8. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Songster

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    Are there any Mennonites in your area? There are in mine, and they will process my extra roos for a dollar a head. I'll just cart them over there one fine day in a dog crate and go pick them up a couple of hours later ready for the freezer! Can't beat that, eh? Good luck, and kudos to you for being a responsible owner!
     
    Hugz21, Rooster_Tyranny and Sequel like this.
  9. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    Thank you everyone for all the responses and kind words. I've though long and hard about this and the first thing I realized is that there is no right answer to this problem, and that there's absolutely no way to know what he will turn into.

    I've decided to cull him, his due date is Friday. It won't be much meat but it'll be enough for my small 3 person family. The way I see it, this is me dealing with my own problem that I created instead of bringing someone else into the mix. I get the sense from my farmer friend that he's mostly doing this out of a favor to me, not because he's eager for any cockerels or anything, and I would never be able to forgive myself if he hurt someone and as other people have stated I am a bit of a worrier. Big Yellow has a lived a good fulfilling chicken life and he will die a painless death, plus I'm looking forward to trying actual home grown chicken :drool.

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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  10. Sequel

    Sequel Crowing

    The world could use more ethical people like you! :hugs
     

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