I have read that neutering a rooster "used" to be common practice. I love all our chicks and would like to keep them all, including the roosters. Has anyone looked into or had this done recently? I am not sure if the local Vets would be up to the task. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
It used to be done with a jacknife and a hook. The farmer would go in through the side of the chicken, just under the wing, then reach through the incision with the hook and pull out the testicles and connecting tubes. Ouch. It was commonly done to cause the chicken to grow larger. I know there are vets who do it, my girlfriend has a turkey that someone had nutered. It will not nessisarily keep the rooster from crowing and if you have caponized roosters with intact roosters, the intact ones will probably beat the crap out of them while trying to "breed" with them.
Thanks for your input! So, I guess I am going to pull out the "old yellow pages" and start calling my local vet clinics tomorrow. Hmmmmm, should be interesting, "ummm, doctor, we have a lady on line 2 that wants to neuter her rooster. what should I tell her?" I can hear it now, but it will be worth it. I have three roosters that I would like to keep as pet's with my other hens. I will post what I find out, just in case there is someone else out there...just like me! :)
I would prefer to have non-fertilized eggs at this point. I have also read that neutered roosters become fairly lethargic and since I have four...the lazier the better. I certainly don't want to risk their lives, so I am checking with the local rural vets in the area. The five hens and four roosters are pets.
You could always separate the roosters from the hens in the case that the vet won't do it. Lots of people keep roos/hens in separate pens until they decide to breed. I've heard it's much less stressful on them and the males feel much less inclined to fight or compete depending on breed I imagine that could be true. I don't know if that would work with the game fowl breeds as males are known as scrappers.
If you freerange your flock a rooster can be a help in keeping the girls safe by offering protection and warning of danger. Hens tend to spend a great deal of time picking and scratching and not watching what is coming up on them until it's too late. But that is only my opinion.
It is perfectly safe to eat a fertilized egg and if you collect eggs daily and refrigerate you may not ever realize they were fertile. At most all you would see is a tiny red spot that looks like a blood vessel. I only say that because there are ppl who do not realize you can eat fertile eggs.
A lot of people, in fact probably most of them on this site , consider their flock to be pets versus livestock/farm animals and try to make arrangements to keep them all safely. How old are your birds??
You know, I'm not sure that red spot even has to do with fertilization. I've seen it even when there are no roos around.
I reread my post and I meant to say" no vets around HERE" I haven't actually done a study on vets in MN! Lol!
My big concern is cost/mortality. I haven't had good luck bringing my chickens to vets, as there are no chicken vets in my area and even the "exotic vets" who do birds and reptiles are surprised to see a hen. They always want to do a million test and it ends up being several hundred dollars and the chicken usually dies! I have had better luck researching it myself and treating them here.
Now, I know that you can't perform surgery at your house. Neutering is hard in roos because the boy bits are internal. Have you noticed that cockerels are not aptly named? They don't have that part! So they will have to anesthetize the bird and I guess that is pretty dangerous in terms of % mortality.
So... I really wish you luck and i hope it works out for you. I would love to hear some success in that area. I know I've given up out here and concentrated on really keeping my roos docile by handling, and collecting eggs every day.
Thank you all for your help, support, and comedic humor. :) I did speak with a local vet, who also has chickens for pets. He pretty much said the same thing you have all shared with me. However, he did mention that I really need to be careful with five hens and four roos. He said he has seen cases where the hens have actually lost feathers on their necks and backs, from the aggressive behavior of the roos. I am sure this does NOT apply to all, but it is definately a concern. I like the idea of one roo protecting the girls, so they can do their favorite thing...eat! I have one last resource that I am going to look into. The University of Minnesota has a raptor center and they, obviously, specialize in birds of ALL varieties. If neutering a roo can be done in Minnesota, safely, then I will find a way!!! :) As a side note; Henrietta chose our farm. She walked up the driveway as proud as can be. We fell in love with her immediately and started feeding her, she hasn't left since. When she started "clucking" a local chicken farmer provided us with 10 eggs (3 different breeds) nine of the 10 eggs hatched on 6.22.07, so the chicks are still "babies". However, in payment to the chicken farmer, we may give him the roosters. I will update as soon as I know more. Thanks for the support and I look forward to hearing from you!!! :)
carrie jo, your vet brought up interesting point about the ratio of roosters to hens, something i have been thinking about posting here to ask anyway- i have only 2 roosters, and the younger one is locked away from the hens for that very reason, they would both be locked up if i could catch the older one! he is a big 'dominecker' and seems to have a preferred 'harem' of about 8 hens of the 30 or so i have. he is really hard on these hens, the feather loss is extreme! one of them, a buff cochin, has to be kept away from him to try to give her a chance to heal up and grow out some new feathers,which seems unfair to her, but she is really getting what i consider abused by him. any ideas? i have been sorely tempted to just shoot him! he is much larger than some of these hens, some of them being very small (aracaunas, white faced black spanish, white rocks, etc)
anyone want a couple of rooster pets?
You can catch him if you wait until dark when he is roosting. Take a small flashlight. They don't like to budge after dark so it is a lot easie !!!
Because a male hangs on during the mating process feather loss is to be expected. His "favorites" who receive the most of his attentions would have the most feather loss. They sell little saddles to put on your females to help with stuff like that...lol, I think it's a little funny looking myself.
Better to catch him at night and put him in a pen separate from them for a couple weeks so the gals get a break. If you truly have no desire to breed him or hatch eggs then I personally would send him to freezer camp as he would probably make great chicken and dumplings. You could put an ad in the local paper free rooster, or even craig's list or freecycle for your area would probably work well.
Well, just thought I would bring this neutering issue full circle. After EXTENSIVE research, which includes a crazy amount of telephone calls, it is true...you can not get a roo neutered in Minnesota...safely. There are few folks willing to try, but could not promise survival. With that said, the chicken farmer who was kind enough to provide us with the eggs when we needed them, took the four roos. It made us sad to see them go, but we justified it by saying it was the best for our girls. Anyway, the farmer said he would be happy to provide us with eggs in the future, when the girls start clucking, in exchange he will take the roos off our hands.
Anyway, thank you all for your input and patience with my one hundred and one questions!
Quotes from Sears instructions:
"PRACTICE ON A DEAD BIRD FIRST ... This will give you the hang of the work better than all the reading you can do."
"Birds are just right for caponizing, as a rule, from six weeks to three months old.
LEGHORNS, ANCONAS, and MEDITERRANEANS, should weigh about one pound.
ROCKS, WYANDOTTES, REDS, and other AMERICANS, are right when they weigh one pound and a half to two pounds
BRAHMAS, COCHINS, ORPINGTONS, and all ASIATICS, should be caponized when they weigh from one and a half pounds to three pounds."
Stromberg's is in MN, so perhaps (if you get roosters in the future) they could refer you to someone who is producing capon's for sale. Or that bird farmer you know could become persuaded to try his hand at raising capons. Although it doesn't sound like they would be much good for "protecting" your hens once they become docile and lethargic.