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Too Many Roosters

We had a bunch of roosters. In fact we had about twenty-five roosters. We didn’t need twenty-five roosters. We only needed three or four.

Cockerels are so important for flock protection. A good rooster will always keep his eye on the sky. He will make a loud screeching sound when a hawk flies overhead, sending all of the girls running for cover. And he will break up any controversies in the flock over pecking order, and keep it under control.

Roosters love to woo the hens with their provisions. Sometimes he might find a juicy bug or a tasty worm. He will never eat it himself. He wants the ladies to have it. So he makes this beautiful sound that causes all of the girls to come running to see what he has provided for them, and then presents it to them as a gift. Just throw out a few treats, and the rooster will make those beautiful sounds and claim credit for the treats!

By now, you might be wondering how we got so many roosters. Some came from the first graders who hatched them as a class project at St. Paul Lutheran School in Serbin. And others were hatched from our daughter, Whitney’s broody hens.

Usually you get a 50/50 hatch, but for some reason we had about 70% roosters this season. Two of Whitney’s chickens hatched 13 babies, and 10 were cockerels. The students hatched 19 chicks, and 11 were roosters.

I’ve never been good at knowing how to tell pullets from cockerels on the day they hatch. And I’m not sure what I would do if I were able to do that. So we let them all grow up together until we can tell them apart. We keep the pullets. And then we have to decide what to do with the boys.

Sometimes we see a gorgeous rooster and we add him to the flock. Sometimes we process them. They are considered dual purpose birds, but they aren’t as tender as meat birds. You could smother them, but as you have heard me say many times, Tim likes his chicken fried. He likes everything fried! They grow slowly and develop long legs, almost like a turkey leg. The meat is sometimes very dark because of the breeds we have. For example, Marans will have very dark meat. We like dark meat, so for us, it is more about the toughness when it is fried that we don't care for.

Because they grow slowly, it takes a lot of feed to get them to the size to harvest. And unfortunately in these hard economic times, that costs a lot of money to raise them to that age.

You can’t usually sell roosters. So we either use them ourselves or give them away. This time we found someone who took all of them. They was very happy to receive them and had plans to process them to feed their family. And while we don't care to eat them, that makes us very happy.


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