How to Get Rid of Unwanted Roosters

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Roosters by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

What Can You Do With Unwanted Roosters?

Are you wondering what to do with unwanted roosters? Even if you only order pullets, you could end up with a rooster in your flock. Sexing baby chicks at a hatchery isn’t 100% accurate so sometimes a little boy chicken ends up in your pullet order! It may take a few weeks to be sure if you have a pullet or a cockerel. When it’s obvious that you’ve got a roo in the flock, what can you do?

Before ordering pullets, check with the hatchery to see if they offer a refund or credit for cockerels that are shipped in an all pullet order. Some hatcheries guarantee their chick sexing and you may be compensated for unwanted roosters.

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Should You Keep a Rooster?

Some homesteaders choose to keep a cockerel from their batch of chicks. Here are the most common reasons for letting that cockerel grow up and become a handsome rooster:

  • To fertilize eggs for hatching
  • As the flock guardian
  • For a natural ‘alarm clock’
  • They may be very entertaining to watch
  • A rooster will alert his hens to food sources

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When Your Neighbors Aren’t Hate Your Rooster

Not everyone will agree that your handsome rooster and his early morning crowing is a charming way to wake up! So make sure you are allowed to keep a rooster and that your neighbors won’t be upset about the crowing.

Be aware that roosters crow whenever they like. This could be in the middle of the night or all day long. They will often start crowing when a loud sound startles them or if another rooster in the area is considered a threat.

I enjoy hearing my rooster crow, but he’s pretty well behaved. He’ll start crowing pretty early in the morning…around 3 or 4 am. But it isn’t too obnoxious when he’s still shut in the chicken coop.

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I Keep A Rooster in My Flock for Several Reasons

I like having a rooster around to protect the hens. He sounds the alarm when the fox comes around or a hawk flies overhead. I also like knowing that I can put fertile eggs from my hens into an incubator to hatch my own chicks. In addition, our flock of chickens provides entertainment for us while we sit outside. It’s fun to watch the rooster strut his stuff around the ladies!


When You Really Don’t Want Any Roosters

Not everyone wants to deal with a rooster in the flock. They can be noisy and aggressive. Small children and pets might be the object of rooster attacks. Some roosters spend more time harassing their hens instead of protecting them.

If you have an urban or suburban homestead it is unlikely that roosters are allowed in your area. If you are limited to a few hens and no roo, you won’t be able to keep that handsome guy. So what can you do with unwanted roosters?

Ideas for dealing with an unwated rooster:

  • Rehome your rooster to friends or a farm that wants him
  • Offer for sale or free on Craigslist under the farm or free section for your area
  • Sell with a hen as a breeding pair
  • Look for a new home on a local Facebook farm group
  • Post a notice at your local feed store, or ask if they know anyone who wants a rooster
  • Check for chicken rescue groups in your area
  • Find a local 4H group and ask if one of the members would like a rooster
  • Process for meat, or give to someone who will
  • Have your veterinarian euthanize the rooster
  • Do not drop your rooster off on the side of a country road, it would be kinder to kill it

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When You Can’t Bear to Kill Your Rooster

Realistically, if you sell or give a chicken away, you can’t be sure if the new owner will keep it or process it for meat. That goes with the territory of being a homesteader. If you really can’t bear to give your unwanted roosters away to someone who might eat them, look for a farm animal sanctuary or chicken rescue group in your area.

It may not be very comforting to know that when you order pullets, the male chicks are often killed and turned into protein for chicken feed. So that rooster that came with your pullets at least had a little bit longer lifespan.

In my area Craigslist there is a lady who offers to take any unwanted hens or roosters free of charge. Maybe you have someone like that in your area too.

Some Tips for Rehoming Your Rooster

  • Roosters that are aggressive should only be rehomed with a warning to the potential owners.
  • Purebred and fancy breeds are easier to rehome or sell, especially with a hen of the same breed.
  • When posting for sale or free to a good home – include a photo and a ‘lonely rooster looking for love’ ad
  • Be sure to include any information that will improve his odds of rehoming – gentle nature, beautiful plumage, or other desirable characteristics

It could take some time to find a new home, so be patient and keep posting the ad!

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How Nature Deals with Extra Roosters

Undomesticated chickens don’t usually live to a ripe old age. Predators, disease, and lack of proper nutrition are all cause for shorter lifespans. Roosters fight over their flocks and the loser is often ostracized becoming easy prey.

It’s best not to get too attached to your chickens so that dealing with an unwanted rooster (or old laying hens) isn’t as difficult. Make sure children in the family know from the beginning what will happen to chickens you can’t keep.

How do you deal with unwanted roosters? Do you cull them from the flock or give them away?

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How to Get Rid of Unwanted Roosters by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre...When a #Rooster is a nuisance or just isn't needed you may need to #Rehome or #Butcher it.

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11 Comments on “How to Get Rid of Unwanted Roosters

  1. Except for a Banty hen my mother had when I was very little (oh,let’s say 65 years ago) I’ve never had chickens. Now it would be very difficult because of our float cabin home and our frequent travels. – Margy

  2. I’d really love to know the best way to dispatch a rooster gone mean. This involved catching him and then dispatching as humanely as possible and as far from his harem so that the death doesn’t traumatize the hens. He was born May 2018. He is mean towards me and is also mean to his harem now. (He leaves his two immature offspring alone, and for the moment isn’t going after the two recently-broody hens of late). BUT -he has got to GO.

    I have a replacement cockerel in mind for him, but of course he’s got to be in a stewpot (or freezer) before I can bring the new guy on board.

    Does netting work? Are there other ideas? How to dispatch when he’s got spurs and a really good beak?

    1. Hi!
      I’m sorry I didn’t see your question sooner.
      I had a Tom turkey that was very problematic and had to process him to prevent injury to my flock and to me. It wasn’t fun. I threw a tarp over him to catch him. I had an old feed bag with a hole cut in one of the bottom corners. After catching him in the tarp, I was able to grab a hold of his legs with one hand (through the tarp to help protect me). Then, with the tarp still wrapped around his body to keep him from flapping his wings, I took the feed bag and put him in it head first. I pulled his head out through the hole in the bottom corner…all the while still holding his legs with one hand. Then I was able to pull the tarp away as the feed bag replaced it to hold him in control.

      None of this was easy! But it kept him from spurring me or flapping his powerful wings in my face. Once I had him in the feed bag with his head sticking out the hole in the bottom, I was able to hold him by his legs with one hand (on my chopping block) and I decapitated him with my hatchet.

      I think you could do the same thing with a rooster and it should be easier just because of the size of the bird. Once the tarp was over the turkey he calmed down quite a bit. I would suggest having someone help you with this task!

    1. Hi Suzan…it’s a tough situation. I really don’t like processing them for meat, but there are a lot of unwanted roosters around us. I hope you find a new home for him!

  3. I had 3 roosters head off for “Freezer Camp” today. I didn’t raise meat chickens this year so these 3 will help with dinner for a few meals this winter. I do still have 2 bantam roosters that I am keeping. I almost always do keep a rooster on hand for the reasons mentioned above. I needed to downsize my flock for winter and put some meat in the freezer. As your post mentions if someone can not bear the thought of rooster stew there are plenty of opportunities to rehome a rooster. I hate seeing posts about them being found dumped because someone found out they had a rooster instead of a pullet. Great resourceful tips here for anyone looking for help with their roosters.

    1. Hi Laurie,
      I love having a rooster and hearing them crow! I have 3 right now and will need to downsize too. Bantams would be fun to have. 🙂

      So true, I hate to see people dumping any animal…they may think the creature has the ability to survive on their own, but they usually don’t. 🙁

  4. We have 5 roosters all sharing over 30 hens! Surprisingly they get along well. It does mean that we have a ton of mixed breeds running around because roosters aren’t picky when it comes to breeding preferences. We do keep our polish chickens and our silkies separate though. However, great tips for those not wanting one.

    1. Hi Annie!
      I have 3 roosters and 16 hens right now…I’m trying to decide who should go. Normally I would butcher the extras. But I have a beautiful Columbian Laced Wyandotte rooster and hen, that I’d like to keep. And I have 4 White Leghorn hens and 1 rooster…so I’d like to keep him. And a mixed breed who seems like the strongest ally against the predators. It’s a tough choice!

      I’m glad that your roosters are getting along. When you have a large flock it helps to keep the peace amongst the roosters!
      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Me personally I would choose between the Wyandotte and Leghorn.Look for the best personality.

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