What do you do when the hen you hoped for turns out to be a rooster?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Srawl, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Srawl

    Srawl Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2013
    I would like a couple young chicks but am worried about getting a rooster. I only want hens for laying, I live in a quiet neighborhood and would like to keep it that way. So what do you do when you get chicks only wanting hens and end up with a roo?

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  2. well,for one,you have to get sexed chicks.Pullets are future hens,straight run is basically taking the chance that any of them could be roos.Does this help at all?
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The easiest way out of this dilemma? Buy sex linked chicks.

    You are 99.9 percent assured of the sex, since the cockerels and pullets hatch out in different coloration permitting sexing at hatch. With virtually all other birds, there is almost always a much higher percentage of sexing accuracy.

    If you only want a few hens and only want to do eggs, this path is highly recommended.
  4. Coupe

    Coupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2010
    Highland, NY
    You can sell the Rooster, or re-home it..OR you can have a tasty dinner!!!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Straight run means "just as the come, straight from the nest", of course. The percentage of cockerels is often higher even than 50/50 in straight run sales, in our experience.
  6. Srawl

    Srawl Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2013
    What is the average youngest age I could expect to know the sex?
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    If you buy sex links, you know at hatch. 99.9 % accuracy. First day.

    If you buy "sexed" at the hatchery and assuming no one messed up at shipping or messed up at a feed store (very common) the accuracy of hatchery vent sexed or feather sexed is no more than 90%

    If you buy straight run, unsexed chicks, it very likely that 60% or more can be cockerels. Just the way it is.

    With some breeds, the cockerels sprout red combs and wattles at 6 weeks and you'll have a good indication of which is which. With other breeds, it is very difficult to sex until after you've fed them and kept them for 16 weeks or longer.
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    what do *I* do? I change the feminine name to a masculine one. :lol:

    I used to keep them all, until I bought a house and discovered I have a neighbor who doesn't like the sound of roosters. Had about 18 roosters by then, and 35 hens or so. I had ordered two goslings from Ideal Poultry - 12 cockerel RIR chicks were included as "packing peanuts" for warmth in shipping.

    I had to rehome all but 3; I had agreed to keep only two but I hope the neighbors can't tell the boys' crows apart. (I can, of course.). The RIR cockerels went to a friend's Freezer Camp for processing but I didn't name any of 'em so I could deal with their... Short lives. I kept them until they crowed.

    It was very hard to find homes for my other, beloved "extra" roosters I had raised for two years, although I did do it, by offering two hens with every rooster. Most of them were bantam breeds, with screechier crows than the large fowl roosters. I was lucky to find local folks who gave me visiting rights. :)

    Now, each new cockerel gets to stay until he crows. Then I either ship them off to my Friend's Freezer Camp if they're a large fowl breed worth making a meal. I can't do the deed myself. But I know they lived a very good - if short - life, they will be humanely killed and processed, and they will provide food for a family.

    Bantam boys... I've made some contacts who assist with the rehoming scenario.

    So... Long story short: if you absolutely cannot keep a rooster and you cannot deal with turning them into meals for someone, you had best buy only sex-linked chicks, as others have mentioned.
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    It varies with the breed. 3-8 weeks they will start developing combs and wattles. They may also start to crow during that time. But, my Jersey Giant roos didn't start crowing until 18 weeks. I knew they were roos but...

    Buying sexed day olds or sex-link breeds would be the easiest way.
  10. SD Bird Lady

    SD Bird Lady Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can also always go the started pullet route. By buying a bird that is already grown-up you don't have to wait for eggs and you are assured they are infact female. The down side is if you have an existing flock they are more likely to introduce something to your current group and also some less honest folk with sometimes get rid of their older girls and take advantage of you inexperience.

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