A plea to anyone considering backyard chickens

spontaneous

I haven’t been around for awhile, but felt this was important to add for anyone living in a hen only town.

Chicks are cute. They’re beyond cute.  They’re freaking adorable.  I totally get why people want to buy chicks, plus if hand raised they’ll be super friendly.  But if you want to raise your chickens from chicks PLEASE purchase a sex linked breed, those are sexed to nearly 99% accuracy upon hatching.  Many breeds can only be sexed to 90% accuracy, so even with small orders you still run the risk of getting a soon to be homeless rooster.

If you want a fancy breed (and there are some really cool chickens out there) then PLEASE buy them as pullets, not day old chicks. I know they’re not as cute, I know they’re harder to tame, they may be harder to find.  But as a gangly teen you’ll know you’re getting a hen and not a rooster.

I recently adopted a rooster because I’m a sucker for a sob story.  But my one little guy doesn’t do much to make a dent in the HUNDREDS of roosters needing homes.  Too many towns don’t allow roosters (though personally I think my guy’s crowing is less annoying than the neighbor’s barking dog) and when people buy chicks and accidentally get a cockerel they have no choice but to attempt to rehome him. No one wants a rooster, so if lucky he ends up in a sanctuary.  If unlucky he ends up dumped somewhere to fend for himself.


Morganna

Now you have me thinking. I've been looking in Sussex County. I bet I could rescue a whole squad of rosters. Trying to get the courage to move to a more isolated area. I love chickens and had a great childhood experience vacationing on an egg farm before factory farming was the norm. Have a silly picture of me with a chicken on my head. She was the family pet of the folks who owned the farm, because she had a deformed beak. And yes, chicks are adorable. But roosters especially the red ones are gorgeous.


spontaneous

Mine is a speckled Sussex.  Absolutely gorgeous.  

ETA: My husband wanted to name him Cluck Norris.  But every time I pick him up I pet him and tell him what a pretty boy he is, so I decided his name should be Pretty Boy Floyd




Morganna

bigben just reminded me that roosters fight with each other so I couldn't rescue a whole crew but if I sell and move there, I'm in for a rooster. Made me think of...


spontaneous

I’ve been told that less aggressive roosters can peacefully coexist.  Looking at some of the pictures of roosters in sanctuaries they seemed to have multiple together.  Others, like Old English Game, absolutely cannot be kept together.  Hell, even Old English Game hens are labeled “not for beginners” because of how flighty and aggressive they can be


conandrob240

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.


hauscat

It’s a boy! Chicken owners face a dilemma when hens turn out to be roosters.

The unexpected rooster is a conundrum many backyard chicken owners confront because of a simple fact: It is nearly impossible to tell a chicken’s sex until it is weeks, even months old. Hatcheries employ professional “sexers” who make the call after scrutinizing newborns’ downy wings and nether regions, but most companies guarantee that they’ll be right only 90 percent of the time. That means some owners who believe they bought hens end up with roosters. And problems.

The discovery can set up a clash between urban and suburban flock-keepers’ bucolic ideals — a touch of rural charm, the promise of fresh eggs — and the hard realities of local ordinances. It also can set off a hard scramble to find the rooster alternative accommodations....

“It’s really tough, because most of the roosters out there are going to be put down,” Forstner said.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/06/19/its-a-boy-chicken-owners-face-a-dilemma-when-hens-turn-out-to-be-roosters/%3foutputType=amp


sprout

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

The "Raising of Chickens" code indicates that roosters are not permitted:

https://ecode360.com/15585924


Scully

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

 For starters roosters are not allowed in Maplewood no chance plus they ARE talking about rural areas NOT urban...


spontaneous

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

 Either you didn’t read my post, or you didn’t understand the point I was trying to make


conandrob240

spontaneous said:

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

 Either you didn’t read my post, or you didn’t understand the point I was trying to make

 Or both


spontaneous

conandrob240 said:

spontaneous said:

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

 Either you didn’t read my post, or you didn’t understand the point I was trying to make

 Or both

 Then why the **** would you even comment


sbenois

I know that I was against the ordinance a few years ago...but I am seriously thinking about getting some chickens!


spontaneous

Pretty Boy Floyd, and a close up of his tail.  He’s still young, but he already loves to strut his stuff  oh oh

This guy was found wandering Hackettstown at about 4 weeks of age.  Someone (other chickens?  a mean human? they don’t know) had plucked out all of his tail feathers.

He hates being on a leash, but I keep trying since we don’t free range after a hawk killed one of our girls last fall.  He hates being picked up.  The first few days when I picked him up his hackle feathers would all go up.  He still doesn’t want to be picked up, but he no longer raises his hackles so I think he at least no longer sees me as a threat.  Once I’m holding him he calms down immediately and will sit on my lap and allow me to pet him.  He happily eats out of my hand if sitting on my lap.

We don’t know his original story before four weeks, so he may not have been a case of a mis-sexed chick.  But with many breeds it does happen, and the number of roosters looking for homes attest to that.  One sanctuary has over 200 roosters looking for homes.  Apparently if you don’t have any hens then you can keep roosters together because they’re not competing for the ladies, which is good for the sanctuary since they don’t need separate pens for all those birds.

To repeat my original point:  Sex linked breeds are much easier to sex immediately after hatching. Males will be one color, females another.  Instances of mis-labeled sex link breeds are much rarer than normal breeds.  I’m not saying it will never happen, but it is much less likely to.  If you want a chick, and can’t have a rooster, please buy a sex link.

If you want a breed that is not sex linked, please do you research, almost all of them can only be sexed to 90% accuracy, buying one of these chicks gives you a 1 in 10 chance of getting a rooster.  If you want one of these breeds, and absolutely cannot have a rooster, please try and find a place that sells them as pullets, not day old chicks.

Another point I forgot to mention in my first post.  Some chick companies will add “males for warmth” in an order of chicks.  For example, you buy three chicks, and ten arrive in your box.  This is the three females you ordered plus seven males added to keep them warm.  The company I ordered my chicks from used a heat pack instead of male chicks, but not every place does that.  Read the fine print, and make sure your mail order company doesn’t do this. 



NoraCharles

He is a pretty boy.


mulemom

Indeed he is pretty!  Wonder if he escaped from the livestock auction in Hackettstown?


Morganna

Wow, is he handsome! Thanks for sharing his picture and story. 


Morganna

So South Orange doesn't allow roosters?  Hmm.

Can you share where the sanctuary is?


spontaneous

Barnyard Sanctuary in Warren Co is one that has a lot of roosters.  I know there are a few others that I can’t remember off the top of my head, I’ll try to look them up tomorrow.  If you look on petfinder you can also find roosters in need of homes.


hauscat

spontaneous said:

Pretty Boy Floyd, and a close up of his tail.  He’s still young, but he already loves to strut his stuff 
oh oh

This guy was found wandering Hackettstown at about 4 weeks of age.  Someone (other chickens?  a mean human? they don’t know) had plucked out all of his tail feathers.

He hates being on a leash, but I keep trying since we don’t free range after a hawk killed one of our girls last fall.  He hates being picked up.  The first few days when I picked him up his hackle feathers would all go up.  He still doesn’t want to be picked up, but he no longer raises his hackles so I think he at least no longer sees me as a threat.  Once I’m holding him he calms down immediately and will sit on my lap and allow me to pet him.  He happily eats out of my hand if sitting on my lap.

We don’t know his original story before four weeks, so he may not have been a case of a mis-sexed chick.  But with many breeds it does happen, and the number of roosters looking for homes attest to that.  One sanctuary has over 200 roosters looking for homes.  Apparently if you don’t have any hens then you can keep roosters together because they’re not competing for the ladies, which is good for the sanctuary since they don’t need separate pens for all those birds.

To repeat my original point:  Sex linked breeds are much easier to sex immediately after hatching. Males will be one color, females another.  Instances of mis-labeled sex link breeds are much rarer than normal breeds.  I’m not saying it will never happen, but it is much less likely to.  If you want a chick, and can’t have a rooster, please buy a sex link.

If you want a breed that is not sex linked, please do you research, almost all of them can only be sexed to 90% accuracy, buying one of these chicks gives you a 1 in 10 chance of getting a rooster.  If you want one of these breeds, and absolutely cannot have a rooster, please try and find a place that sells them as pullets, not day old chicks.

Another point I forgot to mention in my first post.  Some chick companies will add “males for warmth” in an order of chicks.  For example, you buy three chicks, and ten arrive in your box.  This is the three females you ordered plus seven males added to keep them warm.  The company I ordered my chicks from used a heat pack instead of male chicks, but not every place does that.  Read the fine print, and make sure your mail order company doesn’t do this. 


 Males for warmth instead of a heat pack? How horrid. I’m learning so much from this thread. 


RealityForAll

sprout said:

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

The "Raising of Chickens" code indicates that roosters are not permitted:

https://ecode360.com/15585924

 What if the rooster identifies as other-than-a-rooster?


max_weisenfeld

Please excuse my ignorance, but would raising capons be an option? 

Not trying to start a fight here, just thinking about the way we raise cats and dogs.

ETA I wrote my comment before the previous post was up...


spontaneous

RealityForAll said:

sprout said:

conandrob240 said:

I’ve got a plea- if you live in a town like SO or Maplewood or similar and have the typical tiny plot of land, please don’t get a rooster. At all.

The "Raising of Chickens" code indicates that roosters are not permitted:

https://ecode360.com/15585924

 What if the rooster identifies as other-than-a-rooster?

 Actually, hens only have one working ovary.  If anything happens to that ovary your hen will then start taking on characteristics of a rooster.  Also, crowing hens aren’t common, but they’re not entirely unheard of either.


spontaneous

max_weisenfeld said:

Please excuse my ignorance, but would raising capons be an option? 

Not trying to start a fight here, just thinking about the way we raise cats and dogs.

ETA I wrote my comment before the previous post was up...

 I don’t know where you are, but I looked up the Maplewood ordinance and in addition to forbidding roosters they also specify that only hens are allowed, so Maplewood residents wouldn’t be able to use the capon loophole.  If you’re in another town then check how the ordinance is worded, you might actually be in the clear




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