While many times the baby chicks you brought home will grow into wonderful laying hens, roosters happen too! The easiest way to avoid getting roosters is to buy sex-linked chicks. This means that the sex of the bird is linked to the color of it's feathers, so it's very easy to identify the difference between males and females. Of course, many of the unique and heritage breeds are more difficult to sex at an early age, so now you're stuck reading this article.
Don't despair though. If you are able to keep your rooster, you'll find that they can be wonderful additions to your flock. At our farm, you will notice that our roosters are quite friendly and we have never had any issues having them in our coop, even with children and parents coming through the area on a daily basis. Roosters help keep the flock hierarchy in place and reduce flock stress. They will also help defend the hens from predators and other danger, meaning less chance of losing birds to raccoons or other animals (everything eats chicken!).
Now I realize that not everyone can keep roosters, whether it is for the noisy crowing or the fact that it is illegal in many urban and suburban areas. If this is the case, you do have other options for re-homing your bird.
- Advertise your rooster for free on a place like Craigslist. There are often people looking specifically for roosters of particular breed or type. Be sure to advertise to the outlying communities as the rooster rules are different outside city limits. If you want to weed out people who may eat the rooster, you can add a $20 "adoption" fee.
- Hawthorne Farm, Woodinville (roosters on property eventually are food for the staff; they only eat what they can grow, and roosters will have a very happy home until the end). (425)286-5640
- Monroe Co-Op takes roosters based on available space (caged), and sell as first come first served. (360)794-4663
- We do have a community board you can post on, or you can post on our Facebook page. We have had good success with both options for people who don't want their rooster to end up in a soup pot.
- If you live outside the city limits you may grow your bird for meat, which is an excellent option for us urban farmers.