Monday, October 20, 2008

Roosters

I have wanted a flock of hens here at the farm since we arrived in 2003. I had raised a flock of Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks back in the 90's and had such a great experience with them that I knew I would like to do that again.This year, I finally got busy and made preparations and did some research and ordered the Ornamental Layer Collection from McMurray Hatchery. The biggest reason I wanted this group was for the unique specimens I would have running around for me and my family to enjoy. I also wanted my own eggs.

Roosters are not exactly what I had in mind when I ordered chicks. In fact, I did not intentionally order a single rooster. McMurray sent a free "Rare" chick which I believe was either the Crèvecœur rooster or an Ameracauna rooster. They also sent me 9 white leghorn roosters to "keep the other chicks warm." Before the shipping date, I called and asked for some Cuckoo Maran hens, but was told that I could only order a straight run of them. So, I asked for five Marans. Hmmm, three of those were roosters! Let me see, that makes a total of fourteen roosters. That's not all! I was at the feed store and saw that they had Ameracauna chicks for sale, ("all pullets" the sign read). So I bought the Three Amigas. One of the amigas turned out to be Stiggy, an AmigO. That brings my rooster total to fifteen.

Now for someone who didn't want any roosters to have fifteen seems a little ridiculous. I was not a happy chicken farmer. That was not the end of it! My friends at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI knew I was into chickens and offered me some of their chicks. I received two White Japanese Bantams and three Buff Orpingtons. Both Bantams are crowing, but I understand that a Japanese Bantam hen may crow. One of them definitely has smaller features than the other. Two of the three Buff Orps are probably roos. So, my total for roosters stands at eighteen (or nineteen, bantam).

I managed to give the nine leghorns, two cuckoo marans and an ameracauna away on Freecycle. The other roosters are occupying a great deal of my coop strateegerizing. Right now, I don't really want ANY roosters. I think they are disruptive to the hens, and Bob started to have a go at Ruth on Sunday. She gave him a swift kick, missed, and her clog went flying and scared everybody.

I don't think I have it in me to butcher any of them for the soup pot. This leaves me in a quandary. If someone on Freecycle will take them, I think I am ready to part ways with them. I have a warm place in my heart for Khan, Stiggy and Bob, but I think their actions are getting to be too detrimental for the flock as a whole, (including the number one hen, Ruth).

I am planning on adding perhaps a dozen more good layers next spring, but I think I am finished with roosters.

If you have any ideas, I am sure open to suggestions.

Does anyone want some beautiful roosters?

45 comments:

Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

I had a good laugh at Ruth kicking at one of the roosters. Sorry, we don't need any roosters right now. lol.

Pine Pod Farm said...

No roosters here just ducks, LOL!

Sharon said...

Too bad you didn't have the camera handy for Ruth and Bob little tiff. How funny! :)

Mandie said...

Oh man!! We had 3 roosters that we ended up giving to another chicken farmer. He really didn't need them but he took them. They were all banties. I hope you find a home for all of them. Would you think about having them butchered? You wouldn't have to do the killing. That is what Achorn Farms did.

Donica (or Donna) said...

I can just picture Ruth and the clog....too bad she missed!! I hope you either find a home for the roos or take mandie's suggestion and have them butchered.

Woody said...

A pot full of dumplings...just add rooster.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Rooster meat sure is tasty, I'm just saying...

Carole@Fowl Visions said...

I would be doing the same as you if I ended up with that many roos. I just got rid of one of mine at an auction near us. Why don't you search on the net and see if there are any small animals auctions near you? They don't bring as much as the hens but they help pay for some feed.

Loring Wirbel said...

Venetucci Farms, a community co-op farm in Colorado Springs, always turns excess produce into community events - a gourmet garlic festival, a free pumpkins collection day. Howzabout a rooster-comb beauty contest, you could advertise for it and charge admission for charity purposes? And folks that bet on the winners could keep the roosters or donate them to Potter Park Petting Zoo. Just a thought...

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Roosters are a pain in the patoot aren't they? Too bad they didn't send you a nice Hamburg for your free rare chick, which is what I received. I ended up butchering them all except one which I gave to a coworker. Advertising them on Craigslist is a good way to get rid of the extras. Good luck!

The Scavenger said...

I am coming to you for some of your eggs-pert advice on hens. I have 8 hens,barred rock,red leghorn a buff silkie and a few mixed breeds. My hens have stopped laying for some reason. haven't had an egg in over a month. Feed and coop are the same and nothing has changed but the weather. Any ideas what may have happened? All hens are less that 2years old. Any help would be great.

Chris

P.S. Gave all our roosters away too.

Country Girl said...

I chuckled reading about the clog incident. Don, you know what I'd say. Send them to the butcher shop. They had a good life, you've fed them, time for them to feed you. Just my opinion!;) Myers is much less expensive then Mc Murrays and next time don't get straight run. We only have 1 rooster out of 32 layers and he is rather mild compared to some of the others we've had.

Stiggy said...

Hey there Don.

Roosters can be a royal pain in the rear!

Luckily (?) we only have 1!

As you know, Rhydian has attacked Kane, and recently he's tried to have a go at me, but i swung my boot and he backed down.

Oh by the way mate - we've moved in!

Finally got internet connection too!!

:D

Peter said...

Will you sit down and write down "The Red Door" already Dad? Your writing style is too good and unique to not get that story down on paper. Let's do it, I can help.

farm mom said...

LOL! Sorry about your roo trouble. I LOVE roos. Just love them.....I just don't have the space to keep too many though sadly, or I'd be there to take 'em off your hands. You know, I've noticed that about MCM hatchery too. There's a lots of roos going on. And I ended up with 10 toms out of 11 tukeys this year too. I was really mad about THAT!

jennifer's farmily said...

Holy cow you have a lot of roosters!! We have two (only one was on purpose) with our 18 hens, so I can't imagine having so many!!!

I agree that I couldn't kill a rooster. I'd have to give him away and hope for the best!

Farm Chick Paula said...

You have my sympathy, Don... I know exactly where you're coming from. We had everything around here balanced out pretty good, and then the Little Terrorist went and hatched out 5 more roosters!! Jeez!

Is Ruth playing tag with the rooster, or kickball? LOL

Gwen Buchanan said...

I know I shouldn't be laughing.. but this is a very funny story.. I can't help myself.. I'm still laughin'... Sorry, Don... I mean how unlucky can you get!!! that is a heap of roosters... You know what bees do... they throw the drones out.. but I suppose they are trying to do what nature designed them to do..... they seem like a lively bunch..

I may be tempted to go the dumplin' route myself... good luck...

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, Ruth kicking Bob, I remember one day getting my wife a baby chick for her birthday, thought shed like it, not so much, we had just gotten married and thought we would like something cute, so from then on I stuck to flowers, sorry can't help you out with the roosters.

Ginnie said...

We all have had way too much fun with this post, Don! Everything I know about chicks/hens or roosters I've learned from you, so I can't share any wisdom. I can only laugh at Ruth's clog flying off and your quandary about what to do with your brood. I know you'll figure it out.

Don said...

Hot belly mama: C'mon, you need some good, country noise around your new place!

Don said...

pine pod farm: I like ducks, I have a little pond in the woods, I wonder if they would like that?

Don said...

Sharon: You're right, I wish I had the video camera going.

Ruth did have fine form and looked quite graceful, except when she hopped over to the clog so she wouldn't get her last pair of hole-less socks all grubby. (try hopping with one clog!!)

Don said...

mandie: I have thought about the butchering, etc., but Ruth and I decided that we can't eat something we have named. I think I'll stop naming animals!!

Don said...

donica: you would have enjoyed the moment, it's forever an outdoor Ruthie image for me

Don said...

woody and Sugarcreek: I agree, and when I was a kid, that is exactly what we did. Grandma's homemade chicken and noodles. I've become too soft in my old age.

Don said...

carole: that's a great idea. I have been scrounging around, but there don't seem to be any around here right now.

I will keep looking

Don said...

loring: that is a very cool idea. I think it could catch on around here. Maybe I'll try it sometime.

Don said...

amy: I wish I had calm roosters like your hamburg. Khan (cuckoo maran, alpha roo) is actually a good rooster. He is gentle and very watchful. It is the other two who are the rapers and pillagers. Bob waits inside and nails all the hens coming in to lay their eggs. I think this is the biggest reason for low egg production.

Don said...

chris: I left some ideas about your hens and their non-egg laying on your blog. I feel bad for you! I know how it feels to have hens that aren't doing wha they are expected to. There is always a good reason. I'm debating on how to "fix" my problem. Good luck with yours.

Let me know what you discover!!

Don said...

Kim: I think you may be right! I don't know if I can eat one that I named, so maybe I'll live and learn from this one. I don't have any problem raising chickens for the butcher, tho. We did 25 this year and I wish I had started another 25 in August like you did.

The only straight run I ordered from Mcmurray wass the cuckoo marans. The other order was what I wanted, (except for the 11 free roos!)

I'll look at Myers. Thanks for the tip! I think I am going to order through my local grainery next time. No shipping!!

Don said...

stiggy: the swinging of the boot seems to be a good lerning experience! I'm concerned about little kids who will be coming around and don't have the big boot!

Your new home looks gret! We're all waiting for a huge "photo phest"

Don said...

pete: let's start writing it over xmas break when you're back from cruisin'

Don said...

farm mom: roos are nice to look at and I like how their crowing makes it feel like a real farm, but I agree, they are too much trouble!

I'm probably going to avoid MCM from now on. I like the idea of getting chicks locally and there is a good hatchery here in Michigan and our local grain mill orders directly from them.

Don said...

jennifer: it isn't always easy to do the "right thing." I'm not always sure what that is when it comes to giving away chickens as I really don't know what I am giving them TO. I know how I treat my animals, but I can't be sure what others do.

No more roos!!

Don said...

paula: I love your little terrorist hen! I think she has subversive thoughts in mind when she hatches out all those roos. I think she intends to run you off the place and take over with her poult militia!

Don said...

gwen: I hope this serves as a good lesson for you as you contemplate chickens in your future! I'll be sure to enjoy all of your chicken antics as well.

:)

Don said...

bob: maybe you misunderstood what your wife REALLY wanted: one of my full-grown roosters! I'll pack one up and ship it right over. When is her birthday, btw?

Don said...

Ginnie: now that you have some cabinet space cleared up with Nicholas' help, maybe one of them can serve as a little indoor rooster, I mean chicken coop!

You won't need an alarm clock any more, and they are great attack roos in case of mysterious security alarm snafus (balloon).
(inside story, sorry everyone)

Sandy said...

I would love to take some of those roosters off your hands, but I don't think they would like the coyotes around these parts!

Don said...

Sandy: If I gave you some roosters, I would also be obligated to include some clogs.

Jo Capper-Sandon said...

Nooooooooo! How many??!! Thats maaaaaad. Glad to hear Ruth is laying down a few rules lol
First light must be so noisy at your place! At least you wont need an alarm clock!

Don said...

jo: presently there are just four crowers, so it isn't THAT noisy. I htink there days are numbered...

chickengirl said...

I know excactly how you feel! Last year, we bought (and got) 14 chicks from different places including the Co-op, breeders, and the free Easter basket chicks. 9 of the 14 ended up being roosters. This year, we still have two of those roosters, we bought a Cochin rooster (as a chick), we bought the one bantam Cochin at the fair, two that we hatched are roos (one JUST crowed this morning!!), and there are still young Silkie chicks who's gender is TBD. So that's a maximum of 8, 9, or even 10. Wow, looks like we have the same problem!!

Don said...

chicken girl: roosters are beautiful and fun to listen to, but they are not good for egg production and happy hens!