Mean Ole Rooster
By Erin C
I recently shared a joke on Facebook with a friend of mine from work. He had a photo of the original Star Trek up, with some wisecrack about hanging out with Captain Kirk while wearing a red shirt. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the elegantly overacted series, the red shirts were the bit characters that died in an episode. Well, I mentioned that we called our roosters red shirts, for what I believe is a fairly obvious reason. We do raise chickens to eat. His daughter got upset with me though, saying we shouldn’t be killing our chickens, if we don’t want a bunch of roosters, we need to sell them. I just let it go, not wanting to start an online debate about the merits of eating meat or not. The truth is, we don’t name the roosters.
Eventually we will have a rooster that is a good protector, doesn’t mind us in his space too much, and doesn’t abuse our girls. I like to eat chicken, but the first priority around here is the health and happiness of our egg hens. Those girls are royalty. We give them free range of the couple of acres we live on and some oats, and they give us gorgeous tasty eggs. Frankly, Roos, you fellas don’t do much useful stuff. We do want a rooster so we can hatch our own meat birds, but again, the girls come first around here. A couple of our hens are just now starting to lay. I was outside with the chickens the other day and one of the roosters went after one of our hens. Having been around chickens, I understand it can be a little rough when the roosters start mating, but this guy was being a total butthead. Excuse my fifth grade expletive, but what I really called him is not appropriate for this site.
He chased her down, mated her, then proceeded to chase her around the yard, knocking her down a couple of times until finally he had her pinned against the chicken wire fence and beat the heck out of her. He was pecking her and spurring her, standing on her back, just letting her have it. I had already been chasing this stupid rooster around trying to get him to break his focus on kicking her butt, to no avail. When I arrived on the scene I reached down and just picked her right up. She tucked her head under my arm and, not knowing what the heck to do because I was so flustered I took her in the house; my house, not the chicken house. Hubs was right there, having heard the commotion and I described the scene to him. I sat down on the futon with my sweet Kaylee bird and let her calm down and get treats while my husband went out and gently picked up the offending rooster and pulled off his head. Sorry buddy, but you don’t get to beat up my ladies.
We knew we would have to pare down our rooster population; worse than a high school competition for prom king, being the rooster who lived is as simple as being the least roostery rooster. The thing is, for all the people, like my friend’s daughter, who think we are horrible for butchering our own animals, they don’t understand how we do things. This situation left us with a hypothetical quandary; if we sold this rooster, assuming anyone wants one, and he hurts their hens, did we do the right thing? To me, his death was more than justifiable. When we went back out later, the hen that was beaten up got a look-over, and her whole right eye was bruised and swollen. I just can’t imagine keeping any chicken that does that kind of damage to the other birds. So that red shirt met his end, just like in the show.
How do you folks deal with a bully rooster?
Backyard Chicken Tools
What tools do you need to raise and process meat chickens? Killing cones are humane, and promote a complete bleed, scalding tanks, plucking machines facilitate easy feather removal.
Integrating Chickens, Dogs and Cats
Introducing the pets to the chickens has been a little more challenging than originally anticipated.
Keeping Chickens Warm During Winter
Keep chickens warm this winter and prevent illness, frostbite and more with these tips to keep your flock healthy — even in the coldest temps — so you can enjoy fresh eggs all winter long!