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How to get Rid of a Rooster When It’s Not Wanted

rhode island red rooster

What To Do With a Rooster When It’s Not Wanted

Raising backyard hens is a joy. Unfortunately, the rooster component may not be as enjoyable for many folks. Some might even say they’re a necessary evil and that at times they can be a nightmare. However, this is not to say that it’s impossible to find or raise a rooster that is as pleasant and loveable as your hens. Because it is entirely possible to do just that. 

The reality is, however, that there are situations where you’re just no longer able to keep a rooster and you might be wondering about your options. 

You’re not alone. In this post, I’m going to go over some of the options that you have in the unfortunate event that you need to know how to get rid of a rooster.

When You Might End Up with Unwanted Roosters

young colorful rooster

Example #1

When your hens are free-range, there is always the chance that a hen goes broody and decides she’s going to hide her nest far away from the humans that snatch her eggs away on a daily basis. She is no dummy. She knows if she lays her eggs in the nesting box, they will become omelets.

Let’s say she finds a place amidst the hay bales, 20 rows from the front of the stack, and nestles herself down for the 21-day long haul. She has effectively slipped under the radar and gloats as her chicks start to hatch. 

Suddenly, this rogue hen makes her proud appearance with her dozen fluffy babies in tow. Unfortunately, half of them are males. Your rooster population just increased by 600%.

Your homegrown roosters may be pleasant enough as they pass through puberty. When you suddenly have 7 roosters competing to see who can crow the loudest at 4 AM, your feelings of, “Maybe having a few extra roosters around is not so bad,” may drastically change. You need to make a decision on how to dispatch these birds.

In addition, can you imagine mating season with half a dozen roosters and a dozen hens? If you thought drunken frat boys were bad, watch an overabundance of rooster around a small number of hens. You will quickly change your mind about having a few extra roosters around. 

Example #2

rooster crowing at sunrise

You may also get a young rooster for your flock, choosing him for his beauty or a desire to do your own breed-mixing. When you get this rooster home and he gets established, he may actually be a demon disguised as a rooster. 

There are stories about when good roosters go bad. They suddenly become aggressive and attack the hens viscously, tearing out their feathers when they attempt to mate. Even worse, is when they turn on people. Their talons can do damage, especially if they attack other pets or children. 

This is a case where you need to get rid of that rooster. There are plenty of roosters with good temperaments. There is no good reason to keep a rooster with a bad personality. You have several options on what to do with this “bad egg”.

What To Do With An Unwanted Rooster

rooster on porch hand rail

Depending on your level of homesteading, you have several options for getting rid of an unwanted rooster. If you are raising chickens simply for the eggs and not for consumption, your options are one fewer. If you are not opposed to eating your poultry, the first choice is the most obvious.

Can You Eat A Rooster?

Yes, you can absolutely eat a rooster. How you eat your rooster will depend on the age and the variety. Some breeds of roosters make better table quality meat than others. If the rooster is old and tough from ranging, the best way to utilize him is to make chicken stock. The dark meat makes some of the best and strongest stock you will ever taste.

Another use for older, tough roosters is to make sausage. You will need to grind the meat more than once to make it less chewy. Mixed with some pork or fatty beef, then adding fresh garlic and herbs, you will have some outstanding sausage. If you are interested in a great rooster sausage recipe, you can find one on

If the rooster is younger, you can make it into a regular chicken roast, fried chicken, or use it for stew meat.

Do Animal Shelters Take Roosters?

rooster being held at a shelter

Unfortunately, when you order chickens through the mail or as young chicks, since sex is difficult to determine when the birds are young, you might end up with males when you only ordered females. This trend has led to hundreds of roosters being delivered to people who don’t want them.

According to the Human Society, roosters are not allowed within most city limits. They are noisy and can disturb neighbors. If you are opposed to recycling your rooster in the form of dinner and you have ordered females but ended up with a few males, you may be wondering if you can donate them to an animal shelter. 

rooster crowing

Most animal shelters will take chickens but are limited in the number of males they can take. You can call your local shelter but chances are they will not have room for your rooster since this is such a common problem.

Animals shelters encourage those who would like to raise a few backyard chickens to consider adoption. You can be sure you get hens and not roosters and make more room in the shelters for other birds.

Sources to Get Rid of an Unwanted Rooster

Try and be a realist if you are serious about getting rid of a rooster. People do eat chickens and your last resort may be giving the rooster to a farmer. It’s best not to ask questions about his fate if you don’t want to know. Pass him along, smile, and thank the kind person for taking the bird off your hands. Keep in mind that there are several options for getting rid of an unwanted rooster.

  • Search your area for farms. Contact the farms and ask if they would like a free rooster.
  • Contact local bird sanctuaries, pet adoption centers, or if your rooster is docile, petting zoos. 
  • Put an ad on Craig’s list. Be sure to list the breed and a picture. If your rooster is a popular variety, you may be able to sell him to someone interested in that breed.
  • Hang a picture ad along with your contact information at your local farm or feed store. Advertise if you are looking to sell or giving away free to a good home.
  • Join a Facebook group or look for a breed organization for the variety of rooster you are looking to rehome. They may have resources to help you relocate your rooster.

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