Canterbury Hen

May 17, 2017
I think I already know the answer to this, but I have to ask so my mom will be satisfied:

Last August my mom and I bought six newly hatched chicks from My Backyard Chicken: five hens, one rooster. (Because my mom's boyfriend HAD to have a goddamn rooster, and my ma won't say "no" to him.) We got seven instead. At first we were pleased by the unexpected extra, until they all hit puberty and it turned out the seventh was an unmarked extra rooster. Five hens, two roosters.

I'll admit by that point I'd become really emotionally attached to the extra rooster (whom I called "Oneg" because he reminds me of those grumpy Jewish old men who hover at the oneg table at synagogue), so my mom decided to keep the extra rooster despite my protests.

It caused a lot of problems, to say the least. We got a chicken coop big enough for about 5-6 chickens. While the roosters didn't fight it was still pretty crowded, and they did become possessive of the hens. Fearing that they'd start fighting, we had to cough up more money to get a second coop. Chanticleer (the planned rooster) and the two Welsummer hens live in one coop, while Oneg (the unplanned rooster) and the three Easter Eggers live in the second coop.

Keep in mind that I don't live with my mom; she moved over forty five minutes away from where I live, so I can't keep as much of an eye on them as she can. But even visiting, I can tell these two goddamn roosters are causing problems.

First off, they both crow. A lot. And they've only gotten much more aggressive. Chanti was originally the smallest and shyest chick in the bunch, and he was submissive to Oneg when they lived together, but he's gotten a little more confident since he got his own coop. He mates with the Welsummers occasionally, but doesn't really hurt them and they don't seem to mind him too much.

Oneg was always a mean sunofabitch and has only gotten more aggressive with age. One of the reasons my mom kept him is she lives on a nature preserve where birds of prey, coyotes, skunks, and raccoons wander around, and she thought a "tough" rooster would be able to protect the hens. However, it's been months and predators haven't gotten into either coop yet (even the one were fairly mellow Chanti lives), so that seems irrelevant now.

Oneg is an aggressive bully who beats up the other hens so much they all have missing and ruffled feathers. He always bites the hand that refills the feeder and water dish enough to draw blood. He always tries to attack humans who get too close to the coop. I've personally noticed that the hens hang out in the nesting box during the day when humans aren't around to avoid him as he struts around in the chicken run, and he tends to hot hogs most of the food and treats for himself, and will peck at the hens lower on the pecking order if they eat "without his permission" (especially poor Condor, the lowest on the pecking order). We've noticed only one of the three Easter Eggers lay eggs. (Probably because they're not getting enough food and/or sunlight because of Asshole Oneg?)

So, I'm just fed up with this cursed rooster. I've pleaded with my mom for weeks to get rid of Oneg at least (though I'd personally be happier with no roosters), but her precious boyfriend doesn't want to give up either rooster, and she always just capitulates to his wishes. She asked about giving Oneg up to a farm sanctuary, so to make her happy I came here to ask:

We live in Southern California. Does anyone know of any rooster farm sanctuaries that would be willing to take in an extra rooster? (I've been searching the web extensively, and have noticed there are WAY more roosters who need a home than there seem to be homes available for roosters. Even roosters with supposedly sweet dispositions can't seem to find homes, which makes me think no one is going to take in an aggressive second rooster?)

Or should I just be ready to butcher Oneg? (Sorry chicken-lovers.)
Butcher. There is no need to keep a mean rooster around, particularly if he is aggressive with the hens. It is never fun having to kill anything, but in this case I think it's your best choice.
No reason to apologize for wanting to butcher an aggressive rooster. Sounds like he needs to go. I'm not sure how that's going to happen, though, since the chickens are not in your possession. Technically, they're not yours, if you're not feeding, watering and caring for them daily and they're not on your property. I hope for the hens' sakes, though, that Oneg does disappear.
I am getting rid of three adult roosters this morning. There are sitting in portable coop on truck crowing away. They will be eaten by a coworker that can make cool things even with old birds. From the same lot two remain and both will be used to breed six hens for hatching eggs. Only one rooster will be used at a time so I know who the daddy is. When in use a rooster will be free-ranged with the hens while the other will be confined to a pen in a row with a bunch of other roosters, each in their own pen. The pens are 4' x 5' in area and a little over 4' tall.

I could just as easily run both roosters at same time with the hens but that would be hard on the hens. Many would attribute that to the ratio of hens to roosters at 3: 1 being too low. Having only one rooster would give an operating sex ratio of 6: 1 which is closer to convention. The problem with roosters being hard on hens has less to do with the sex ratio than it has with the adaptive behavior of the roosters. When a rooster perceives more competition from other roosters, they often compete through sperm competition rather than exclusion stemming from pecking order and territories. A competitive rooster mates with hens a lot, often when the hens sees no need for it. When the rooster perceives less competition, he mates less frequently doing so mostly when the hen solicits him. The competitive system is also hard in the roosters, even the top dog.

I can keep hens and roosters in impeccable feather even as pairs year round so long as they do not have competition.
If he attacks humans he likely won't stop giving away a nice rooster is hard enough these days let alone an aggressive one I would say no choice but to cull him and eat him

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