What do you do with cockerels that you hatch?

Dcat

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 19, 2014
332
24
96
AA County Maryland
I am trying to be realistic here, knowing that chicks I hatch wont be all hens (which is what most people want), what do you do with the cockerels that hatch? Do you just try to give them away? Keep them in their own separate pen or do they become the other half of your dumplings for dinner one night? I didn't see another thread on this subject unless I didn't word it right on my search and I really think this is an important question. Even on other sites I've seen people trying to cheaply sell or give away their cockerels and roosters.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,935
29,753
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St. Louis, MO
Pretty much all of the above. With a ratio of 10:1 mature hens to roosters, that's a lot of unwanted cockerels.
I keep them in a bachelor pad till they grow out enough to tell if I want to keep them for breeders. At that point, I sometimes list them on craigslist for breeding. I've successfully sold roosters for breeding on craigslist. People won't spend $10-30 for a chicken to butcher. If I'm not keeping them, they go in the freezer.
If you sell them cheaply or give them away, you know they'll be food.
Since I incubated, fed and housed them, I'm certainly not going to give them away. If someone is going to eat them, it will be me.
 

Dcat

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 19, 2014
332
24
96
AA County Maryland
Well I guess I might have to learn to process my own chickens. My grandfather used to do it but he never let me even watch. I was a tomboy and a half so not sure why he did that. Since I'm brand new at this myself, how old are they usually before you process them for your freezer? That could be an issue for me since I live "in town" and no one wants to hear a rooster going off all day around here. Like anything else I'm sure the first time is the hardest.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,935
29,753
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St. Louis, MO
For those in town, I recommend processing when they start to crow. DP and egg breeds don't have a lot of meat till 3 to 5 months but they still taste like chicken.

There are a lot of good videos on youtube that will help you.
 

Impress

Songster
8 Years
Jun 4, 2011
1,001
27
151
Gray, TN
The first time is the hardest, but it is an easy process to learn. I was raised a farm girl, so extra roosters are just cooking materials to me unless anyone wants them as breeders. I like to process them at the first major crow, they aren't as big as a grocery store chicken, but they are a lot more tender since they haven't had their hormones raging for a while.

I wish I lived close to you, I do free butchering classes for my customers who end up with roosters they can't have, and it is a skill I love to teach. I think people should be closer to their food, and this is one of the ways I can help them.
 

jruhle

Songster
7 Years
Mar 16, 2012
175
15
101
I love eating homegrown chicken! I try to hatch a bunch just to eat. You get better at processing the more you do it and once you taste your own raised product you'll be hooked!
 

Dcat

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 19, 2014
332
24
96
AA County Maryland
Wow, I just watched a couple of videos on this. Practice makes perfect I'm sure. I saw two different ways to kill them, 1st was a supposed humane way and 2nd was the old fashioned way that I've seen with a hatchet. The humane way didn't look very humane to me so I sure wont go that way. It looks a lot easier than I thought it would be, just time consuming. Now I'm really interested!
The first time is the hardest, but it is an easy process to learn. I was raised a farm girl, so extra roosters are just cooking materials to me unless anyone wants them as breeders. I like to process them at the first major crow, they aren't as big as a grocery store chicken, but they are a lot more tender since they haven't had their hormones raging for a while.

I wish I lived close to you, I do free butchering classes for my customers who end up with roosters they can't have, and it is a skill I love to teach. I think people should be closer to their food, and this is one of the ways I can help them.

Impress, I wished you lived closer too! I'll have to check around my area for someone to show me the ropes and answer the questions I'll have.
 

Dcat

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 19, 2014
332
24
96
AA County Maryland
dstinett, I've heard of deer hunters trying to give meat to food kitchens, I think the worst thing is the kitchens accepted the meat and then threw it out. I wanted to cry about all of that venison just thrown out like garbage.
 

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