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Author Topic: Too many cockerels  (Read 4713 times)


  • Joined Aug 2012
Too many cockerels
« on: December 02, 2012, 11:02:54 pm »
I asked lots of questions this summer about incubating eggs.

Well 8/10 hatched ......and 7 are cockerels .....only 1 hen ......this seems a bit unfair to me. ???

So ....anyone in Northumberland short of a cockerel ....or 2

They are only about 14 weeks so probably not worth eating yet ...and anyway I couldn't do the deed.

Anyone know a good place to get hens oop north ?


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 05:52:07 am »
Hi AnnaB  :wave:  - I'm just over the border in Cumbria

When I wanted to start again with chickens some years ago, a friend gave me a whole brood of ten chicks.  8 turned out to be cockerels... ::)  After they gang-raped and killed one of the two pullets, I found it much easier to pen them up and, when the time came, kill and eat them.

From your other posts, these are Dorkings, are they?  (In other words, they will be big enough to eat if they're kept on...) 

I think you'll have just missed the last of the poultry sales (Longtown's last Rare & Minority Breed was 24th November but it could be worth checking the auction houses near you), so I guess it's check the Country Smallholder Poultry Breeders List, or look at notices in agri merchants - they usually have a good selection in WCF in Hexham, for one place to look if you're near there.  (I know Northumberland's a big county!)  We fetched birds from over Seahouses way one year, but he just does it over the summer, so won't have any now.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 06:07:38 am »
Realistically - there's a much greater demand for hens then there is for cockerels.

We didn't start down the egg hatching route until we are happy with the arrangements in place to dispatch unwanted cockerels.

Be careful about giving them away on Pre-loved or other places where cockerels are picked up for a song and used for fighting.
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better


  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 09:13:46 am »
Far better off in your deep freeze, you'll know where they are then :chook:  Perhaps someone nearby will do the deed for half the meat?

Victorian Farmer

  • Guest
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 11:52:35 am »
next time send me you re address IL send you some sexabul eggs .But if you think that is bad this is Whit happend last week .This time of ya re i get serton fowl in condition and hatch a lot for march sales eney way 2 big hatchis 1 Monday and 1 ,3 days latter 400 chicks hatched  i then looked at them cock after cock bird 270 cock birds a comp;lete disaster as they say only farming.


  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 12:41:23 pm »
I've kept records of all the hatches we've had over the last two years. A few have been dissapointing in terms of male/female ratio and a few have been good, but overall it works out at almost bang on 50% so can't really complain. I usually cull the unwanted cockerels as soon as I can sex them, just keeping the odd one for eating or as an insurance in case we lose one of the breeding males. It can be a bit demoralising when you've hatched 20 chicks and had to cull the majority of them but you've got to think of the feed bill and what you're going to do with them if you grow them on.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 12:43:39 pm by hughesy »


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 02:55:04 pm »
Know that scenario!  Our first every chicks were ALL cockrels.   First hatched ones this year 75% hens, second hatch the other way around .  Its a shame,but inevitable that you will have more cockrels than required - you do need to have a plan.  Wish we were closer and could help hope you get sorted.  PS it IS hard killing and eating them, but it will proabbly be the highest welfare meat you could ever get hold of (Appols if you are vegetarian)...... thats what persuaded me to persivere.  Good luck, Fi :fc:


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 07:16:37 pm »
Thanks everyone.

As an ex-vegetarian I am finding living in the country is changing my views.  I've even stopped naming the chickens.

But this evening the door to the cockerels house had blown shut and they were in or on top of the other house.  Worried in case their dad took offence overnight so moved them.  Much squawking and struggling and I wasn't even trying to wring their necks.  Think I would need to be taught first how to do it properly, or it could be very traumatic all round.

There is a part of me that thinks I should learn .....I used to say I was veggie because I couldn't kill my dinner.  My words coming back to haunt me.

A Dorking breeder has some hens and has offered to take my boys which I may take her up on.

They are quite cute so far but I'm getting fed up cleaning them out and feeding for nil return !

At what age would there be enough meat on them to eat ?  Mum Dorking, dad .......not ....but a fairly big friendly boy.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 07:30:21 pm »
You can eat them at any age AnnaB, just depends on your appetite. Cockerels are statistically 50 -55% of a hatch but we've had hatches of 90% and 20% cockerels. So you can be unlucky. We still name ours and then eat them.

Mrs Snoodles

  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Too many cockerels
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 08:07:58 pm »
Anna, if you want them for meat, see if you can raise them until 20 weeks.  On grower pellets to start with, then for the last few weeks mix in some corn or maize to add a layer of fat on them for roasting.   You can eat them when they are older but they might be a tad tough and best left for a casserole.

Bad luck on your hatch. If it's any consolation we've all been there :(.    I now only hatch large fowl utility birds as at least I know that I have a good use for the boys. 
A tough call for you as a vegetarian though. :hug:



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