Roosters. Nine to ten of them. Adults. Too adult.
Here’s the deal on roosters.
They are totally useless for anything except: 1) serving as some protection for the hens (although when the raccoon massacred ours, the rooster couldn’t stop him- they can’t see at night), 2) serving as sperm donors, and 3) crowing, which is either annoying as hell or music depending on your viewpoint (I vote for music).
I am pro-rooster. We have one. We had two, but dispatched the older one about two months ago.
A flock of hens needs one rooster for about every 10 hens.
What you see pictured there are enough roosters for about 100 hens.
Any fewer hens than that and the roosters will start to fight because somebody is going to get left out when it comes to mating. Any more hens, and the roosters will exhaust themselves (literally).
We once kept too many young roosters for too long. It was ignorance on our part. We knew the potential dangers, but didn’t understand how young they can be when the fighting starts. And our chickens are one of the most docile dual-purpose breeds around. I never want to watch a young rooster being ripped apart by the older rooster ever again.
We separated them all immediately and put the excess roos in the freezer/canner the next day.
In addition to that, roosters have some sort of nasty habits. They can be very calm and sweet when they are young. The older they get, the crankier they get, and the “cockier” they behave. They see human beings as a challenge to their authority and they guard their hens with vigor.
And they are equipped by nature with the means to inflict injury. They grow spurs on their legs.
Like that. The pointy thing. It is needle sharp. And a rooster knows how to use those. They fly at you and fling their legs up, and stab you.
If you’re an adult or older child, you get spurred in the leg. It’s a deep puncture wound and becomes infected very easily. The rooster has been walking around in the dirt and that’s what is all over the spur.
If you’re a young child, it’s much more dangerous. You can get spurred in the face or as a worst case scenario, in the eye.
Roosters and young children are not a good mix. Having too many roosters just exacerbates the situation.
[I have recently been informed about a really cool method of removing spurs safely. If you’d like to know about it, contact me.]
And thinking you’re going to eat the excess roosters is, well, a sort of pipe dream.
When you buy chicken at the store, you’re getting very young chicken, maybe 7 or 8 weeks, max. When we incubate chicks here, we end up with about half cockerels and have to butcher them. They do not gain weight like the hybrid chickens that are raised by the industry, so it takes longer to get them to any size. We typically keep them about three months, maybe a bit longer.
It’s a trade-off. The older they get, the more they weigh and the more meat we get. However, they also get tougher. So we’ve found by trial and error that 12-15 weeks works out fine for us.
Grown roosters (and old hens) are tough as shoe leather. You have to either slow cook them or pressure cook them. I use them as dog food.
At any rate, this is not an example of “homesteading.” This is an example of newbie “homesteaders” who need to spend less time on Facebook and more time reading about raising poultry.