Rooster trouble!
February 2, 2014

It’s Raining Roosters!
By Melanie Berk

One of the most common misconceptions about roosters is that they crow exclusively in the mornings, when in fact they enjoy making themselves heard at all hours of the day. Perhaps the worst time to come into this knowledge is just after bringing home a rooster (or ten). Although an accidental excess of roosters may seem like an episode of a sitcom, it is an unfortunate reality that all too often results in many an unwanted feathered fellow winding up at Nevins Farm’s doorstep. The good news is that with just a little bit of planning, this problem can be avoided, and we’re here to tell you how!

Classroom hatching projects may seem like a fun educational opportunity, but it is easy to overlook the fact that once hatched, all those baby chicks are left without a home. A message of responsible animal care is the last thing being conveyed to students by an ensuing mad scramble to appropriately place the birds, an especially challenging task for the males. In order to avoid this unpleasant situation altogether, we would strongly suggest avoiding undertaking an in-class hatching project in favor of any number of preferable alternatives. Might we suggest a tour or presentation from your friendly local MSPCA humane educator?  We even have simulated hatching systems that can be loaned out to interested teachers!

The second source from which we have recently been receiving a number of animals is from people who find themselves unable to keep the rooster(s) they acquired for a backyard flock. From neighbor’s noise complaints to local ordinances that actually ban their ownership, there is no shortage of reasons for which people end up relinquishing their roosters, yet none which can’t be predicted or avoided from the get-go. With the right planning, local agriculture can be a fantastic thing. If you or someone you know is considering keeping chickens, just follow these simple guidelines to keep the local agriculture initiative more responsible and sustainable:
-Read up on the necessary resources required to adequately care for a flock of chickens to determine how many and of what sex you are both able and willing to keep.
-Check your local ordinances to find out whether it is legal to own roosters in your neighborhood.
-Buy pullets (slightly older) or sex-linked (color demonstrates gender) chickens to ensure the purchase of only females or the amount of roosters you actually want and can have.
-Consult with your neighbors before they have been driven crazy by constant crowing—perhaps they would be willing to invest in some earplugs in exchange for some fresh, local eggs? Regardless, everyone will benefit from having the conversation before a problem is already in place.
-Attend one of the workshops we are hosting for our upcoming lecture series all about the care and keeping of backyard birds!

Like all responsible animal ownership, the key to success is to invest in some basic planning in order to avoid a lot of hassle and draining of resources down the line. Your neighbors, we at Nevins Farm, and most of all, the animals thank you.