A poultry adventure: What to do with two roosters

Published 9:39 am Sunday, April 7, 2024

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The verdict is in. After months of speculation, we have determined that Fred is a rooster.

The teenaged chicken my granddaughter Caroline named Fred was first thought to be a pullet. We measured wing feathers and observed tail feathers, vacillating between the idea that Fred was a hen chick before wondering if she (now he) was a young rooster.

But, after noticing Fred’s pronounced waddle, I asked a wise chicken-raising friend who advised me how to tell for certain: check for spurs.

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As it happens, Fred is not a hen with four toes and a pronounced waddle (or beard). He is, in fact, a slim and lanky teenaged rooster.

While I am relieved to have solved the mystery we call Fred, I have to ask, “What does one do with two roosters?”

Amateur poultry farmers have suggested I find Fred a new home. But as a first-time chicken grandmother, I cannot bring myself to do it.

His daddy, Chanticleer, has become a bit protective of his small family. He eyes me warily and follows me around the coop during feeding and egg collection. Chanti has also charged me on occasion, when his fatherly instincts kicked in and I stepped a little too close to his favorite hen wife, Perty.

And, in spite of the fact that some urge me to consider Chanti for the stew pot, I have noticed him patiently teaching his son the art of herding hens. Just last week, Fred watched his father wrangle the hens into the henhouse just before dark. I have not seen him practice this yet but am waiting anxiously to see how his five mother hens will react.

Several backyard poultry farmers indicate the time will come when Chanti and Fred will vie for top chicken. If it does, I will have to look for a new home for one of them. As of yet, I do not have the stomach for boiling one into broth, although I may change my mind if Chanti comes at me with spurs out again.

I invite local experts to weigh in and let me know what to do with a second rooster. We may be looking to find him a wife and a coop of his own soon.