When you won't be getting anymore hens (problem with rooster)


7 Years
Aug 7, 2014
Hi there,

I have decided that after my last chickens are gone I won't be getting any more. I have had a few problems with pests (rats and mice and now crows getting into my pen!) and I decided to stop keeping chickens due to all the problems (family are upset about the pests and want me to stop keeping them too). So anyway, my problem being that I have a cockerel and I just lost a hen to suspected egg yolk peritonitis-she seemed to be his favourite chicken and now i do not really have enough hens for the cockerel (only 3 now). I do not want my remaining hens to be over mated and also do not want my cockerel to be upset that he doesn't have enough hens! Now I hate to sell/give away pets, and when I took on the cockerel it was more out of guilt (a stupid reason)-I bought a couple of extra hens a while ago and the owner kinda persuaded me to take the cockerel on with them otherwise he'd have to kill it-so i did. At the time I had enough hens for him, although he is one of the younger birds. Now I have lost some since then I can't keep getting more hens for him -I have no idea how long he will live and I don't want to take on anymore. Chances of rehoming are really slim-the last owner got lucky when I came along!

So I'm just a bit stuck with what to do-I guess I wanted a few ideas, what do you do with your remaining hens when you are going out of henkeeping? Same problem if you only happened to have one hen left-what to do with them, you want them to have company but not prepared to take any more on. Well I guess not many people here are going OUT of henkeeping, but I thought I'd ask and see what everyone thought! I only know one other person who has hens and I don't think she'd want to take any of mine on-especially not a cockerel! I also keep ducks so i will still have a problem with pests-but I will not be getting any more ducks either.

I love my little flock and if it wasn't for the cockerel I'd just keep them until they all eventually died (the last one left would probably be ok for company with the ducks) but clearly 3 hens is not enough for one cockerel-so he's my problem really. It was silly to take him on but at the time i was happy to keep hens, now I just want to see these last few out and stop keeping them.
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If you have laying hens, I think you would be easy to sell them as a flock. Lots of people, would love to have an established flock and get instant eggs, waiting for chicks to grow up, is tedious for some. I think I would advertise it as a laying established flock, and that you want to sell the whole flock together.

However, when you sell birds, they are no longer yours to control. But you would be done with this. I would sell them too, people tend to value what they pay for. Ask $10. per hen if they are not too old.

Mrs K
I've recently seen a few people 'get out' (on another site) for various reasons.
They sell or give them away, asking no questions about their fate.
Id be tempted to see how he goes with those hens first. Not knowing any better I had one rooster to three hens for quite some months when he was at his most aggressive just having come into adulthood and didn't have any problems with over mating. As yours is older and more settled you might find it doesn't become a problem.

Eventually we rehomed ours due to neighbour complaints through word of mouth. So guess I'd see how it goes while also putting the word out you are looking for a home for him. If the hens aren't suffering it won't matter if that takes six months. I'd still keep looking for the home though as you don't want to get left with just him and a hen at the end.
I guess you'll have to decide which you dislike more, to sell or give away an animal, or have miserable animals.

he may do just fine with only 3 girls. You just don't know.

Or, he may tear the crap out of them. At that point, what is more important? Taking care of your hens, or your personal feelings about not selling an animal?

You could house him separate. Doesn't sound like much of a life, personally. And doesn't sound like what you're looking for.

You're not obligated to keep this animal for life. You don't have to know someone who wants him. That's what advertising is for. Put an ad on Craigslist in the Farm and Garden section. Take good, clear pictures and do a nice little write-up. Ask $5-10 for him, then if/when someone who seems decent shows up, give him to them for free.

If you're wanting to get out of keeping birds, sell the whole flock. Or, pick the hen you like the least and sell the two of them as a pair.

Keep in mind a lot of chickens are eaten. There are worse things than a great life and one really bad day.
Check BYC for your state forum(s) and see if someone local is interested. And there is the BYC free rehoming forum as well.
I've heard a rumor that chickens are safe for eating and taste really good. If not wanting to let them go into the unknown and not wanting to keep them, eating them is the best option.
Lol. I'm a vegetarian and even if I wasn't I don't think I could bring myself to eat them since they've always been pets. I forgot to add that the hens and rooster are around 3.5 years old and another hen I have left is 4.5yrs old-I don't know if that affects meat quality since I've never looked into it.

Check BYC for your state forum(s) and see if someone local is interested. And there is the BYC free rehoming forum as well.

Thank you will check.

Another spanner in the works-my Orpington has just gone broody-so he has only 2 hens to mate with most of the time now. I am trying to break her out of it-no luck so far. Some weird behaviour from rooster today-he was waiting for one of my other hens to finish laying-just standing waiting for her, then when she got up he went and sat down where she was on the egg for a minute?! Whaaat, does this mean he's getting agitated or something? I have seen him sit on eggs once before, I thought only chickens were supposed to do that. He's a pretty nice rooster but he also has trouble catching one of my hens-she doesn't seem to like him, so basically he's not having much luck! And one of the reasons I got him was because I thought hens liked to have a rooster around. I guess they do but definitely don't like being mated-it's a little bit more than just playing hard to get!

Anyway thank you for the suggestions, I am going to see how things go and probably advertise anyway, i just really doubt I'll have any luck.

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