culling roo's

chicken_ingenue(7)June 28, 2006

I don't know if ya'll can answer this question because It might go more to opinion or personal preference.

A friend stopped by today and the conversation of course turned to my hens. Which she remembers havings some when she was a girl. I don't know how we got on this subject but she stated emphatically that you do not eat roosters of any kind, That you Would NEVER cull a rooster. My opinion is that if you are raising them in the back yard you more then likely would not eat them. But that the people processing 100's of pounds of chicken for restaurants and such do not care one way or the other if they are processing a male or female chicken. She said when you go to kentucky fried chicken you don't order rooster legs LOL I said thats because you don't order a hen either you order chicken which covers both sexes. I said what do you think happens with all the hatched roo's you can't keep them all she said god meaning nature automatically sorts that out. I guess she is under the impression that more hens are born then roo's I don't know about that. since the back yard birds hatched around here, in this area, seem to be mostly roo's.

She also thinks that we don't eat bull. that they only process cows. I don't think thats right either. I just can't see that a big company that are processing all this hamburger care whether they are processing males or females. she said you would need to keep the males for breeding I said if 20 females calved and they had 10 of each sex, a small rancher can't keep 10 males you have to seperate them she said they would sell them off and I said yes some but in an areas such as we are in their wouldn't be a big enough market for them. lots of these bulls are being sent to slaughter houses. what else would you do with them.

so what do ya'll think. I haven't done any research on this and know next to nothing this is just my opinion. I welcome all opinions.


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Hummm seems like it's based on the case of beef, hands down steers (cut bulls) chickens whats the diff?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 10:54PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

CI, sounds like your friend doesn't have a clue. I know of a farm that raises Kosher Kings on pasture, they specifically order cockerels because they get bigger and bring more of a price when dressed (since they are payed by the pound). These day old boy chicks are also more expensive for that very reason.

I am very new to the rooster gig, I've found my hatch to be very slanted in the roo really stinks. The one thing that is making it a tiny bit easier is that the roo's can be big bullys. Separating the bulk of them to the meat bird pen has made the rest of the flock much more peaceful.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:45AM
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See what the easy life has done to the Pepsi generation. NOOOOO common sense. Shame, Shame.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 8:11AM
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thanks for the imput. keep it coming. :)


    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 2:11PM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

When buying day-old Cornish X's, we purposely pay a little more for the cockerrels because they grow to butchering size by 6 weeks instead of 8 weeks for the hens. Your friend needs a little educating. Every time she goes to McDonalds, she has a 50/50 chance of eating a roo and she won't be able to tell the difference.

(Most people are amazed to learn that meat chickens only have a life of 6-8 weeks!)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 8:31AM
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Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

What little I know of cattle raising and ranch work is that calves are rounded up, and the males catrated before they are weaned, which makes them into steers.

The steers are later weaned, sent to pasture and fattened for market. So, in effect, your friend is almost right. Bulls aren't sold for meat, steers are. (big grin)

The larger and more tough meat of the Bull is usually ground into processed meat, hot dogs, lunch meat, bologna, that kind of thing.

As for chickens, I always took for granted that the hens went to the egg factory and the rooster went for meat; until I found out that they were two different breeds of chicken.

I wonder if laying breed roosters go to dog food or cat food?

Lymm has hit the nail on the head, most people have no clue where their food comes from. I'm not allowed to "harvest" chicken at our house, my husband won't eat it. He's also was a little weirded out by the thought of eating eggs from the barn. As if a factory egg was "cleaner" than our eggs. Funny thing, now he doesn't like facory eggs at all. But I do wash our eggs, just to make him feel better.

I raise ducks to sell. And I get the most money for the larger drakes, as moscovy drakes grow FAST! (Its a offshoot of the horse hobby, the ducks are pest control. But I'd have several hundred ducks by now if I didn't sell them.) I'm always aware that my Asian customers are going to eat the ducks. Better them than feeding the coyotes or the domestic dogs who kill for sport.

Come to think of it, that IS nature sorting it out, with a little help from our customers!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 10:50AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Your friend is definitely living in a fantasy world all her own. One rooster is all that is needed for an average backyard flock of chickens (i.e. domestic fowl, if we want to be accurate.)

How many bulls does she think are necessary to service a herd of cows? Perhaps she thinks that domestic animals are monogamous, lined up two by two like Noah's creatures entering the Ark.

These days, with IA, only a handful of Holstein bulls are used to service dairy cows cows right across the country. (Scary thought that... imagine the gene pool that results! Nature will eventually sort that one out too... with grim results for dairy farmers and consumers.) I wonder what she thinks happens to all the bull calves born to those dairy cows?

I think your friend must be in denial about the realities of food production. Although why it makes her feel better to think she is only eating females is beyond me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 3:27PM
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Thank you all so much for you input. Don't be too hard on my friend she really is a sweet lady, but it is amazing how little we know about the things we eat everyday. I had never really given it a thought about what sex I was eating, but tend to lean towards the practical. And I just knew big companies don't give a rip when your talking pounds and money. She is getting her ideas from her grandmothers back yard flock, which is preference. I guess she was also under the impression that more females are born then males.

When I first found this site, their was a post about a women in her 90's that had lived on farms or in rural areas most of her life and didn't know you could get eggs from hens without roosters.

Thanks Again


    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 6:32PM
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chicken -ingenue Why defend your friend ? It just spreads ingnorance

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 11:51PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

There are lots of people who are sweet as can be but haven't got a clue; As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
Alot of people are ignorant about our food, alot of people are ignorant about alot of things infact, I blame the school systems, they were too nonexistant in too many places for too long, and we ended up with a surplus of ignorance and a deficite of smarts.
A question, to quell my own ignorance, how do they get the baby meat chickens? don't they have to keep some of them around to lay eggs , like one out of 50 or so.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 3:27AM
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giventake, I "defend" her because she is my friend ;)
Their's plenty of stuff I don't know, and sometimes she sets me straight L.

As for baby meat chickens, I haven't researched this or anything. but is it possible that the people raising them set so many of the babies aside. I would think that the companies raising meat chickens are raising them by the hundreds.

I was told the other day that egg production chickens when they no longer produce are just killed an thrown into a big hole. I would think they could have been sold to processing plants. I wonder why the waste. I wouldn't think that it was because they are tough and old because most of the chicken we eat is ground up for strips and nuggets and such.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:27AM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

As for "setting aside baby meat chickens", I don't understand the question. Setting aside for what? Meat chickens are usually Cornish Crosses that are bred to grow very quickly and are large breasted. Because they grow so fast, their legs won't support their weight for much more than 8 weeks. Also they are prone to heart attacks because of their weight.

We raise 200 in each batch and sometimes get straight run (males and females) and sometimes get just the males which run about ten cents more per chick. This variety of chicken is for meat only and not for eggs or pets -- unless you want a pet for a very short period of time.

Then there are combination meat and egg birds that are good for either. If raising for eggs, the roos are usually put into the stew pot at about 12 weeks or whenever it is clear that it is a roo. More than one rooster to 10 hens is plenty. Stressed out hens are not very good layers so you don't want roosters constantly jumping the same chickens!

A old hen that no longer produces enough eggs probably wouldn't be worth the trouble of butchering for the little meat that is left on her IMHO. By the time she is that old, you are probably attached to her and might want to let her live out her lifespan of 10-15 years scratching up and fertilizing your garden.

It might be fun to take your friend and visit a chicken farm some time. (A free range, organic farm would be the best and you would both see chickens that are happy and active doing what chickens are supposed to do.)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 1:39PM
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I find this post funny. I am a USDA meat inspector-chicken slaughter plant. Let me clear some misconceptions= both males and females are slaughtered. Those teeny rock cornish hens? Those are the regular females of the fryers/broilers slaughtered at 4 weeks old. Keep them 2 more weeks and they are fryers, add 2 more weks and they are broilers.
SOME, but not all old breeders end up in our food chain= hens become that "whole canned chicken" or canned chicken meat. The roosters become baby food. The industry as a whole is too complex to even try to explain here. Ah yes, another thing...if it doesnt pass inspection for human food, it's not good enough for dog or cat food either. They can be processed and added to chicken/hog/cattle feed.
SOME of the old laying hens become the chicken in chicken goes on and on. One thing is for sure, there is very little waste.
Hope I cleared some misconceptions.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 2:03AM
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kimberlee(z5 IN)

To answer Brendan's question: To get Cornish Rocks, Cornish Crosses, King Crosses or whatever (fast growing/butchered young for the food industry or your freezer) you do not breed and hatch Cornish Cross eggs. They are too heavy to live long enough to even lay eggs let alone fertilize them. These chickens are a result of breeding White Cornish chickens and White Rock (or whatever) chickens. The crossbred that results is not bred with each other to make more.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 3:41PM
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Your friend is just mistaken. She seems to have taken our modern terminology and confused it. Hens and roosters are both chicken. Beef is both bull (or steer) and cows.

On a farm, you use everything. Young roosters are fyers or broilers, old hens are canned or ground into dog food (they are pretty tough), and the bones are ground and mixed with the litter in the hen house to fertilize the garden.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 11:32AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)


If I don't cull the roosters, then my neighbors would probably do it for me! Chicken soup cures crowing, garanteed!

The pig hunters around here definitely prefer female pigs (sows) for eating since they say the boars taste gamey. However, I think that may have more to do with the slaughtering process than the animal since if it is bled out properly, it won't be gamey at all. Last night's pork roast was boar roast and it didn't taste any different than sow roast to me!

Did you ask your friend about capons? Those are chickens that at least started out male.

We probably don't eat that many bulls since generally the males left intact are used for breeding and allowed to get older. For lunch I'm having some 14 year old steer steak and although the flavor is good, it is a very chewy steak. The steer was owned by vegetarians and used as a lawn mower, I don't know who else would keep a steer for that long. He was a brown swiss, too, so maybe all the male milk cows are gelded and sold to vegetarians as lawn mowers?

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:32PM
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