Here we go again. Our latest batch of chickens are maturing now and we are starting to get some new layers coming on. We also have at least a dozen adolescent roosters. This is boy trouble, plain and simple. Our flock of 25 came through the winter with just 2 rooster and the ratio was right on. Jethro is king, but a noble one. He protects them and makes sure all the ladies get their fair share of food. All the hens seem to have a crush on him. Enough said. Elvis, the other rooster, is a little guy who has no problem playing second fiddle to Jethro and has his own following.
Adolescent roosters are all you can imagine and more. The goal, of course, is to let these guys get big enough to harvest and then tuck them in the freezer for winter meals. And it works great. The last from the past summer is defrosted in the fridge right now. The problem is the gap of time between the rooster’s being too obnoxious to the hens (and sometimes us) and when they are of enough size to process. We have had to shut one of the stalls and turn it into the “time out” room for bad boys. We don’t generally name the chickens except for a few who have distinguished themselves—Jethro, Elvis, Trouble, Little Blackie and White Pants. The first one who went in the time out room however will forever in my mind be called Brute. He is a sex-crazed little devil without any sense of decorum. People are generally surprised to find out that not all roosters are created equal. A good rooster will win the hens’ affections, not be a serial rapist.
We need to build a chicken tractor for these guys ASAP. For their quality of life and for the the best meat possible, our trouble-making roosters need to be outside in the fresh air and grass–not in a “time out” barn stall. Our goal all along has been producing the best quality protein while providing the best and most natural life for the birds.
The new guys are not all a bad lot. Some of them seem to have some real potential. The hard part will be deciding who to keep.