Even though cockerels and roosters can be a beautiful addition to your backyard flock, sometimes keeping too many males is inconvenient. They are not profitable and can be aggressive, attack kids, or fight each other when kept in the same space.
Therefore, many farmers look for suitable ways to eliminate cocks when their number is too high or local regulations are strict about their crowing. However, finding a method how to get rid of roosters can be pretty tricky. Let’s find the best way to solve this problem!
Ways to Get Rid of Roosters
Having a rooster is a pleasure and necessity when you want to keep chickens, regardless of the purpose. There are numerous reasons to have one or two, such as:
- They fertilize eggs for chicks
- They alert hens to food sources
- They are excellent flock guardians and protect their hens and chicks when danger approaches
- You can consider them natural alarm clocks
- They are highly entertaining creatures
However, having too many cocks in the same yard can be a nightmare, primarily during mating season. Another problem is a change in the rooster’s character. In some cases, a beautiful bird can become highly aggressive toward people, pets, and hens from their flock.
They can endanger toddlers and disturb neighbors with too loud and frequent crowing, especially in the morning. Finally, keeping cocks in suburban homesteads is often limited by local regulations because it is a myth that they crow only in the morning.
On the contrary, roosters do it whenever they want, including all day and night. They also react loudly to sudden sounds and often casually chat with other males in the area. Some breed types crow when considering other poultry as a threat.
Be aware that some neighbors hate being woken up early in the morning in such a noisy way. So, you may face a fine when local regulations restrict keeping roosters in the area or entirely prohibit them.
Sometimes, you can solve the problem by purchasing a no-crow rooster collar to reduce crowing frequency and volume. If the loud noises are not the only thing you need to solve, you should find an appropriate way to eliminate one or several cocks.
Still, you should never drop the bird off in the wild or near an empty country road far away from settlements. It is a sure way to condemn it to a terrible death from starvation and predators. The best ways to get rid of your rooster is to:
1. Send the rooster back to a supplier
Most people buy chickens from suppliers or in hatcheries and ask for female chickens only. Since a gender guarantee is included in the agreement, the sellers provide a refund or replace cockerels with pullets when determining the gender wrongly.
Reputable hatcheries state their sexing process accuracy, but it is never 100%. If it is high, there is a significant chance to get only pullets without unwanted young cocks. The low accuracy means that you purchase chickens at your own risk.
Most major hatcheries refund possible sexing errors when the cockerel number is over 10% of your order. On the other hand, a random chick buying (straight runs) excludes this option.
Unless you have forgotten to include this point in your contract, sending male chickens to the supplier is an excellent option for you. Unfortunately, it is not beneficial for cockerels since they won’t survive after this transaction. They often become a protein source for commercial chicken feed.
2. Cook the rooster
Unless you are a vegetarian or have an attitude against killing animals, the most practical way to solve the problem of an excessive number of cocks is to cook and eat them.
That way, an intractable problem will become a delicious meal. It is possible to find numerous recipes for preparing young roosters on the net, but even older ones can become a base for a yummy soup or chicken stock.
Always choose an adequate meal based on the rooster’s breed and age because the taste directly depends on meat quality. For instance, old cocks are ideal for making sausages. Grind the meat twice to trice and add fatty beef, pork, and seasonings for extra flavor.
On the other hand, young roosters are an excellent option for a Sunday family lunch. You can roast, fry, or use it for stew meat, depending on your dietary preferences.
If you want to avoid making a meal of your bird, you can choose some other way to eliminate it from your yard. Unfortunately, it is highly likely to end up in the pot even when giving it away or selling it to someone who doesn’t share your views.
3. Sell the rooster
Selling a rooster can be challenging and sometimes a real mission impossible, particularly when you have a common breed. In most cases, you can only sell it with one to three hens as a breeding pair or small flock.
You can start looking for potential buyers at small local farms interested in breeding, but they typically look for hens. Therefore, you should make an arrangement convenient for both parties.
One more option is to ask your friends to check their circle of acquaintances and find an adequate buyer. Things are slightly different with rare and ornamental breeds since people tend to keep them as pets.
4. Rehome the rooster
Your chances to rehome standard roosters are small, but you can succeed if you are persistent and dedicated to the task. There are a few possible options, like:
- Ask family members and friends living nearby
- Search the area for nearby small farms
- Ask at the local farmer’s market
- Find a local chicken enthusiast group
- Try to offer it for adoption through humanitarian organizations like the RSPCA
- Contact local breed organizations, bird sanctuaries, and petting zoos looking for chickens
- Contact a local feed store and pet adoption centers
- Look for local 4-H clubs
- Put an advertisement on Craig’s list if you are from the US or Gumtree if you are from Britain
- Hang a picture ad at a local feed store with contact information
- Join an appropriate Facebook group or Meetup
Be aware that adoption rates are pretty low for most roosters, making your chances negligible. As always, you will quicker rehome fancy and purebred cocks. Even in this case, including at least one hen is often necessary to increase your chances.
Always add a photo and relevant information to the ad and describe the birds’ beautiful plumage, gentle nature, and breed. Be fair and warn potential new owners when the rooster is aggressive.
5. Look for a suitable organization
Many organizations organize fostering and adoption for pets. Unfortunately, roosters are rarely on the list of desirable candidates, probably because of a high number of unwanted ones.
For instance, a petting farm is an excellent option but only for calm and friendly birds. Most animal shelters accept poultry, but the number of cocks they can take is often limited.
You can also call one of the chicken rescues groups or a local bird sanctuary and ask them for help. You can expect these organizations to help you only when they are out of roosters, which is probably a rare case. However, you can take a chance since getting lucky is always possible.
6. Cull the rooster
It is a solution for some people, but there are a bunch of ethical and personal objections to killing a healthy rooster.
Unfortunately, sometimes wringing its neck or a swift decapitation are the only ways to eliminate the bird when the number in the brood is too high. There are not many breeders willing to feed dozens of cocks because it is an unnecessary expense.
When you run out of options with a highly aggressive or loud cock but refuse to let it end up as someone’s meal, you have the last possible solution.
In that case, you should take your bird to the vet and ask for euthanasia. However, finding a vet ready to euthanize poultry can be challenging, making sometimes poisoning your last alternative.
8. Let nature deal with extra roosters
Domesticated poultry never lives for long in the wild because of numerous reasons, such as:
- Improper diet and lack of necessary nutrients
- Various diseases
In nature, roosters fight over their hens and ostracize losers. That way, these birds become easy and helpless prey. The same thing is with cocks left in the middle of nowhere.
Many people believe that letting nature deal with unwanted cocks is a humane and convenient option, but this cruel method typically means sure death for them. Unfortunately, it is better to kill them.
Roosters can be unbearably noisy and aggressive to kids, particularly toddlers. They are also prone to fight each other, making your calm farm life a real battlefield.
Besides, there is a high possibility that your neighbors don’t want to wake up every morning at 3 or 4 AM because your cock enjoys morning crowing. Therefore, you should find a suitable solution to eliminate excessive roosters and keep only one or two to make your hens happy.