Have you ever been faced with too much of a good thing? Last year we purchased two Buff Orpington roosters for our 45 hens (or maybe it was the other way around). Anyway, these two brothers whom we named Howard-the-Coward (because he always ran away and gave up the hen to his brother) and HOCO’s Brother did an outstanding job protecting the hens and fertilizing eggs for incubation.
The first hatch resulted in five more roosters and 10 hens. Within six months, we had five feuding siblings and everyone’s feathers were ruffled. The poor hens were running for their lives trying to get away from them, even taking refuge in my lap when we sat out to watch them in the evening. If they weren’t chasing hens, they were fighting each other.
We initially thought some of them would be as gentle as HOCO and his brother, but that was not the case. After separating them into two different coops, we soon noticed the roosters would even mount the 2-month-old chicks, eventually killing one of them in the process. We soon found one of roosters injured and near death after one of their duels, so we had to take immediate action.
We harvested all the young roos and HOCO, leaving only HOCO’s Brother since he was the most calm and the largest of them. We had read that rooster meat would probably be tough since they were so muscular and brawny, and that turned out to be correct. We slow cooked the first one and the meat was stringy and not so tender. We decided to grind up the meat and turn some of it into sausage. SUCCESS! We included some smoked bacon in the grinder for added juiciness and created some great recipes. We used the sausage in gravies, nachos, pizzas, and chili.
We served the sausage when our family came to visit, and it was devoured as quickly as the fluffy scrambled eggs and cream gravy. Here is the recipe we used:
5 pounds ground rooster meat (no skin)
1 pound bacon, ground with meat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 large cloves fresh garlic. smashed to a paste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped fennel
We also added sharp cheddar cheese to one of the batches and grilled it outdoors. DELICIOUS!
Our experience has relieved our worries about getting too many roosters in the hatch. This solution puts meat in the freezer and calm back in the coop. Roosters will do what they instinctively do, but we couldn’t stand the thought of watching one more battle at the Waterhorn Ranch.