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When incubating and hatching out eggs whats the percentage of boys/girls? does it always differ? What do you do with the roostes? does everyone just keep a few roostes all all of them? isnt it hard to give away roosters?
We typically get a 50/50 split. The roosters are always a problem for us.
The first batch of chicks we had (15yrs ago now) produced 2 roos & 2 hens.
I kept them all. The next year, the two little ones drove off or killed the
father rooster. They just won't tolerate a competitors once they get older.
This summer I had a batch of 5 bantum chicks. 2 roos/3 hens. Those were
the meanest nastiest roosters I've ever had! The mother was a "Jap" and the
father a bantum cochin. One of the roosters bloodied his father and so we
got rid of him. The next day the other roo was attaching his father. So he's
gone now too. Usually they don't get this feisty until their 2nd year.
I used to be able to give them away at the Agway store (where I get my
feed) but they stopped taking them a few years ago. I finally found a
mennonite family who will butcher them for me. They make good chicken
noodle soup but typically are a little old by the time I figure out who's a roo
and schedule their "visit" so a little tough for roasting.
I think most folks who raise chicks end up butchering their roosters but we'll see
what other responses you get.
We bought some supposed to be Americana chicks from a lady. Three were roosters. When they were about 4 or 5 lbs, I listed them on Craig's List. Gone in a couple hours for $5 each. Same with old hens, $3 each. Lots of ethnic people love to butcher their own poultry, so mostly that's who buys them.
I don't hatch any chicks; I buy day old pullets. Even so I end up with some roosters. So far I have had no trouble with them: 2 Minorcas, one Partridge Rock. My flock free ranges and I have found that a few roosters help prevent losses to hawks as they are much more alert than the hens and sound the alarm.
My way, is not a good way. Mine are in large wire dog crates in a horse shed. One of my intentions was to keep them and breed them. It seems that now that I want them to breed, some are too old or are uninterested.
Guess I am collecting them. So far, I have fifteen. I feed and water them and enjoy them.
If things work out, I'll eventually have pens where they can have more freedom. Still, if my plan was to breed them, what in the world am I going to do with the other roosters that might be born? Already I am running out of room in this shed.
The shed, it is really a horse stall, is very study and covered with tin. It has an extra large opening for the door and part of the roof came off, so they get plenty of fresh air and some sunshine, but not too much. They get ample food and water and have each other for company. In fact, I have not lost a single rooster out there, but I've lost a lot of hens here at my house, free ranging in the backyard.
Obviously I have no clue what to do with roosters.
I remember about five years ago when I bought my first chickens, and bought the standard poultry book. Storey's I think it is. It said, putting them in cages is okay. They are only chickens after all.
Since mine are silkies and have the black flesh, I'm not real interested in eating them. However, some of the Vietnamese in Amarillo probably would be. They are considered a delicacy.
It would be really nice if the city of Amarillo would allow backyard chickens. So far, their animal control just doesn't seem to want to deal with any added problems they might cause. Lazy people if you ask me. They have their little city all tied up nice and neat and don't want any chickens messing it up. Well, I'll tell you what, chickens don't bark and they don't go into other people's yards and poop either. Chickens give you beautiful healthy eggs, and are so entertaining. I can testify though, that they will flat demolish your grass.
Thanks for the responses. I think it'll be hard to even give roosters away here, so if i dont want them i'd have to butcher them. So far ive been buying chickens old enough to be sexed and only getting girls but little baby chicks are sooooo cute.hehe!
Hatchery chicks are sold "sexed" at one day old. Most of them promise 90% accuracy. If you want to be sure to get only pullets, you can buy one of the sex-linked hybrids which can be sorted by color at hatching.
I found a gentleman who raises free range organic chickens for the local organic co-op and he took the roosters that came with my pullet order. It took a bit of looking, but it was worth it. The local 4-H group put me onto him...
We usually order 25 chicks straight-run and put the roosters in the freezer. The last few years, though, the roosters have seemed unusually aggressive, so this time we're just ordering a smaller number of pullets, no cockerels.
We typically have butchered the roosters out at about four months, but regardless of the variety we never seem to get a finished bird that's more than two to three and a half pounds.
We do have a chicken plucker which makes dressing them out a lot easier. We also leave the carcasses in the refrigerator for about three days before freezing them, to allow the muscles to relax. That makes a tenderer chicken. We sprinkle the chicken with coarse or kosher salt before packaging it, and then when I thaw prior to cooking I remove the chicken from the plastic wrapping and place it in a cooler filled with water, so that it is brining as it thaws. Before we did those things our chickens were really tough and weren't good for much except soup cooked all day in a crockpot. Now they still have more texture than supermarket chickens but they're much more tender than they used to be.
I have eaten roos that were 3 years old that were free ranging around the place. I made gravy on them in my pressure cooker. They were fine. Great big boys too. I don't have a plucker and I refuse to pluck one by hand so I sacrifice the wings and skin the bird. I only do one at a time. I catch them, tie their wings down with a hay string and chop their heads off. Then I hang them from a low limb in a tree and skin and clean them. Works out fine. I haven't had any to butcher in a while but I may buy a few from TSC. They have the big boilers this year.
I would miss the flavor of the skin, Cajun. We have traffic cones with the tops removed, and we place them upside down between two sawhorses and insert the chickens, head first, in those. Then we slit their throats. We do two at a time; DH does the butchering and mans the plucker, and I do the eviscerating and finishing.
We use a large canning kettle over a gas burner. Using a jelly thermometer to keep tabs on the temperature we scald chickens for two minutes at 145°, ducks one and a half minutes at 200°, and geese eight minutes at 150°. Those are the times and temperatures that seem to work best for us. Then we put them in the plucker.
Lots of duck hunters I know keep a big pot of wax for plucking. They melt the wax over a crawfish boiler and dunk the ducks in the wax until they are coated. With a string tied on them they toss the ducks in the water to harden the wax. When they peel off the wax all the feathers come right out.
Not messy at all. They tie the duck on a string, dip it up and down in the hot wax and let it drip over the pot. When it quits dripping they put it in the water and let it harden. Then they just crack the wax and peel it off like a shell. Quick and easy. I wouldn't recommend burning them. Peyew! LOL