Friday, April 24, 2015

Homesteading like a Jerk: How to Pick a Rooster

The average urban homesteader/hobby farmer wants chickens for one thing....fresh eggs. Now don't get me wrong, there are a few out there who raise chickens for meat purposes, and some out there (like me) who try and pick dual-purpose breeds, but most chicken keepers I know are hard-core egg enthusiasts. Ovumators. Calcium aficionados.

And we all know what you need to get eggs......a hen. That's right. No rooster necessary. As a matter of fact, roosters are somewhat irritating to the hen-hoarding chicken keeper because roosters tend to be very overprotective of their flock....including the eggs. Nobody wants to get gouged when collecting eggs. Plus roos like to get their freaky deeky on with your hens and it ain't a gentle, smooth jazz scenario. It can stress a hen out to be around all that testosterone.

So what's a girl to do?

Well, thankfully, there are these incredible and rare chicken experts called chicken sexers. These badasses can take a peek inside a chick's vent (or cloaca) and determine whether or not that chick will grow up to be a hen or a rooster. Of course, most sexers and hatcheries will tell you the sexing methods we use today are only about 80% effective, but still. Pretty awesome to have resources like that. We can essentially pick-and-choose our backyard gals. And pullets (female chicks) are in high demand - we have an assortment of options to choose from.

But....what if you, like me, prefer to homestead like a jerk? What if instead of supplying your hens with a comfortable, stress-free lifestyle, you'd rather have them beaten up by an edgy rooster? We have all these resources available to help us choose hens, but where are the rooster-choosing resources? Where are the "cockerel" bins at the feed store? Well, don't worry. If you prefer mauled hands/arms/children and broody hens over a peace-filled, egg-saturated backyard, I'm your girl. Just call me the rooster-picking guru.

Step 1:
Make sure you absolutely cannot have roosters in your area. True jerks know when to break the law and prefer to do it whenever possible, even if the fees are insane and the neighbors own rifles.

Step 2:
Build a coop that can only hold the precise number of chicks you initially buy. This way, when your rooster knocks up the rest of the flock, those sweet little additions have absolutely nowhere to live.

Step 3:
Ignore everything the chicken books tell you and pick out the chunkiest, most active little chick at the feed store. Make sure it's the biggest chick you can find. Realize a huge chick equates to a healthy appetite and nothing more.

Step 4:
Decide that feminism exists in the chicken world and bypass gender stereotypes when naming your chicks. Name your big, plump, active little chick something creative and, hmmm, I don't know, Gandalf.

Step 5:
Greet your flock every day, all day with, "Hello girls!" and "How are my pretty ladies?" Complement your chick on her big feet and incredibly unique clucking noises.

Step 6:
Decide your chick's chest-led strut is just her way of modeling her pristine, ever-reddening comb and waddles. Tell her how beautiful she is and how she truly is the leader of the flock.

Step 7:
Make your kids fall in love with your chick and coddle her like a wee lil' baby every chance they get. The bonding element is what we're hoping to tap into here....a real, true bonding moment between your kids and the animal.

Step 8:
Refuse to believe any of those "quacks" on the chicken-keeping forums. Your girl is just healthy and a little large, that's all. Doesn't matter if she herds the flock like a crazed shepherd or that she occasionally attacks her own reflection in the water bottle. These are all just signs of her spunky, feminine nature. All homesteading jerks know that.

Step 9: Be proud when you hear that first cuk-COWR! All your jerk work paid off and she's finally learned her war cry!

Congratulations! You should now officially have a rooster. You can thank me later.

Have a great weekend all and as always, thank you so much for reading!


  1. Oh Oh! My grandma had chickens on our family farm when I was growing up. Only hens though - no roosters. I asked my Grandma why a few times and she said she used to have them, but couldn't stand their cock-a-doodlin' at the break of dawn. There might have been other reasons like the ones you mentioned above that she didn't share. Every few years she would buy a new batch of laying hens - I was never privy to what happened to the ones that were replaced. Maybe she traded them in. Doubt it though. I probably don't want to know.

    Interesting turn of events. Bet you didn't think you'd ever own a rooster...

    1. It is so true - they are so, so loud. It's not like in the movies where they crow once or twice to wake the barn and then they stop....they keep crowing throughout the day and it is the most obnoxious thing ever! She prolly culled them! I will eventually be eating Gandalf - once he hits around 16-18 weeks and becomes more aggressive/liable to fertilize eggs, I will need to make him into chicken dinner and bone broth. Facts of life and all that noise....but gosh I hope I have the guts when it comes down to it! HA and no.....never thought this would EVER be me.

  2. Chicken Sexers? THIS is your realize that right? Is that chicken/hen/rooster thing like in your house? I am seriously laughing so hard I had to have my husband read what you are doing. You need a reality show too while your at it...Homesteading for Jerks. I'll produce it and pitch for you.

    1. HAHAHA Thanks, girl! Yes, the baby roo is in my house. They are all in my basement in a box - and I am only a few days away from moving them outside permanently. They make so much dust, it's insane! HAHAH Glad to hear your husband was participating in my little adventures, too - and I would obvs be honored to have you as my Epic Fail Homesteading reality show producer! HAHAHA

  3. The neighborhood where my family lived in Malaysia had plenty of chickens and a few roosters roaming around. Between the roosters and the morning call to prayer from the local mosque, there is no sleeping in. Which was fine by me as I love mornings. :) Hope things go well when you decide to make him into chicken dinner. Angel was very traumatized the first time he ever butchered a chicken as a teenager.

    1. HAHA I bet! They are so - SO loud. I grew up in an apartment complex and never had any animals around so this is a whole new experience for me. I had no idea they were as loud and aggressive as they are! I am also totally nervous about Gandalf dinner. I've never culled a chicken before but I love the movie Avatar and I'm hoping I can channel my inner huntress so I can make a swift, respectful kill. HA!