Road to a Rooster
When we were looking into getting chickens, I knew we didn’t want to breed chickens. Yes you can make some good money selling baby chicks. But then I don’t know what is going to happen to them. They could simply be meat birds, which as a long time vegetarian, doesn’t sit well with me. I wanted to have hens so that we may have eggs from healthy, happy chickens, without all the guilt of factory farms and the like. Plus there is the matter of roosters. If someone only wants hens, what to do with the roosters? They tend to be hard to home as you can’t have too many, and many of them end up on the dinner table. For these reasons, we never saw a reason to get a rooster. We were quite happy with our hens. That is until, our neighbour came for a visit …
Hubby and I were out in the yard building our chicken coop one lovely spring day. Our hens were quickly running out their welcome in their tote in our dining room and we were desperately trying to get it done. Our backyard neighbour saw our coop and came to investigate. Upon hearing that we had hens, he promptly offered us a rooster. It turns out that he purchased 5 chicks from a local farmer and ended up with 3 roosters and 2 hens! This is a huge issue as that is not enough hens to keep that many roosters happy and ultimately they ended up bald on their backs due to an overwhelming amount of sexy time. That in combination with constant rooster wars over the ladies was not ideal. So I went to go see said rooster. Apparently they had a mean one and a nice one and they were willing to give us their nice one, as to not traumatize our kids. This rooster was basically the Fabio of chickens. It was the most stunning chicken I had ever seen. Turns out it was an Adler Silver. So being that it was the most stunning, friendly rooster I had ever seen, I agreed to take him once our hens were of egg laying age.
So we waited and waited and once our hens were mature enough, we went to get our rooster. Unfortunately, we waited a bit too long and they had re-homed him. Winter was coming and they needed to give their hens time to grow their poor back feathers back. At this point, hubby had already had his heart set on getting a rooster. So online he went. We decided on a breed that we liked. Then by sheer luck, a friend of ours stumbled upon a rooster in need of a home, that just happened to be what we were looking for. So we made the long journey to pick up our stud and bring him home. He cock-a-doodle-do’d the entire way home in his tote (much to the dismay of our toddler who was trying to nap). We finally got home and introduced our new beau to his new ladies. We decided being the regal beast he is, and in keeping with our vintage names, to call him Sir Winston. He is a Black Copper Maran and a truly stunning chicken. After a bit of growing pains and a few rumbles, they established their pecking order and the ladies were quick to show Winston the ropes. He fits in quite well and the ladies seem to enjoy his company.
Now why, you might be asking, did we end up with a rooster? Well one main reason is protection. Roosters are known to literally throw themselves toward danger to save their flock. They are the epitome of ride or die. This is crucial for when the girls are out free ranging, they don’t have to be on high alert, because their rooster will inform them of any impending danger. He also tends to be the one to diffuse the danger. No one wants to screw with a rooster.
But Amy, won’t you end up with chicks? the answer is: we could if we wanted. But as long as we do not let the hens incubate the eggs, and put them in the fridge, no chick will grow. This is a relief as ain’t nobody got time for a dozen roosters all over the place. But do the eggs taste different? Well, after much research, fertilized eggs taste the exact same as unfertilized.
So we will have to see how this new adventure goes. We can only hope that we don’t have issues with our new Roo. But time will tell. Have you had experiences with roosters? Good or bad? Please share your story (especially if it is hilarious).