I said when we first got chickens that I'd never get a rooster, because I was afraid of all the noise he may make. And now I'm eating my words. With the continued unease in our economy, plus the fact that I've been unable to source a reasonably-priced provider for pastured chicken meat, I decided to look a little closer to home for a solution. And when a friend posted on her blog how she needed to offload a rooster or two... the answer seemed obvious.
Pretty Boy, a Buckeye/buff Orpington cross, will be coming home to roost on Monday night. None of the girls have started laying yet, but two of them are really close. Their combs are bright red, and their wattles get bigger every day. I expect eggs within a month.
We currently have three breeds of chickens. Buff Orpingtons and Australorps are considered a dual-purpose breed. The grow fairly quickly, are heavy-bodied, and are excellent layers of brown eggs. The Easter Eggers lay green eggs, and are fairly slim. They are geared more for egg production than meat, but since their eggs are green, I will be able to easily remove them from underneath a broody hen. Or if we hatch in an incubator, I'll select only brown eggs unless we need to replace a layer. I'm hoping to raise a few birds next year for our own consumption. I'm not sure yet if I'll do the processing myself; I don't have a good spot outdoors for butchering and cleaning production-line fashion. But if not, we have a processor nearby who charges $7 per bird. Even adding in feed costs, I estimate each bird would cost about $12 and dress out at 4 - 5 lbs. And for organic (getting new, organic feed soon!), truly free-range, pastured chicken, a price of less than $4 per pound is unheard of.
I'm still not certain about the noise issue... But he can't possibly be noisier than our neighbor's 6 beagles.