What happens to the unwanted rooster?

Published 3:15 pm Friday, November 10, 2017

To the Editor:

Regarding the proposed amendment to allow hens in Washington: If the town decides to allow chickens, I highly recommend roosters also being allowed, for several reasons. First, roosters are delightful! It’s pleasant to watch them with their hens, sharing their food with them and being on the lookout for danger. Their crowing isn’t really any louder than other noises in town.

Second, half of all eggs hatched are roosters. If 10 hens are purchased, either by mail order or at a local farm supply store, what happens to the 10 roosters? They will most likely be killed. Also for the 10 hens purchased, there will almost certainly be one or more roosters in the bunch. Chicks are notoriously hard to sex, so it may be several months before a rooster becomes apparent.

We receive calls and e-mails almost weekly from people who have discovered their hen is actually a rooster. They want us to take him off their hands or find him a home. Sometimes they don’t want him because he doesn’t lay eggs, but more often it’s due to ordinances which ban roosters. Some people are in tears because they’ve become attached to their bird and now cannot keep him. The reality is there aren’t enough rescues, sanctuaries or good homes for all the unwanted roosters. All organizations with which we work are overwhelmed with requests to take roosters, and we just can’t take them all. Is Animal Control prepared for the unwanted and abandoned roosters which will surely come?

If chickens are allowed in a community, both sexes should be allowed, the same as with other species of domestic animal. Roosters aren’t banned in Raleigh, for example, or in some other cities.

Rooster bans only add to the tragedy of displaced animals. Please, if you allow chickens in Washington, let the roosters in too.

Kay Evans
Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary