How to Raise Male Chickens to Eat

Roosters are rarely raised for meat.
Roosters are rarely raised for meat. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Male chickens, or roosters, are not often raised for meat in the same way that hens, or female chickens, are. The social organization demands that the roosters are constantly fighting to become the leader, and the presence of roosters in a pen can be disturbing to the hens. The male roosters grow to be quite large and lean with little edible meat. They are edible upon lengthy cooking. Castrating the rooster when young however, leads to a large, meaty bird that is referred to as capon.

Check with your local government regarding the laws of keeping roosters or cockerels -- cockerels are young male chickens up to a year old. Some towns do not allow it due to their noisy nature.

Contact your veterinarian if you wish to keep your cockerels as capon. The chick will need to be castrated quite young, around several weeks of age. It is illegal to castrate cockerels in some areas so be sure to check your local and national laws. It may be legal in some areas to keep capon but not cockerel or roosters.

Construct a chicken pen and house for your male and female chickens to live together. If you have roosters, consider constructing a separate closed area for them as they can get aggressive and you may not wish to have fertilized eggs. Capon cannot fertilize eggs and are much less aggressive, and therefore less distressing to the chickens. Make sure the coop is strong enough to keep out preying wildlife.

Feed the capon, cockerels and roosters the same you would feed similarly aged but non-laying hens. There are a variety of forms chick food comes in -- mash, pellets and crumbles. Chicks may need heat lamps until fully feathered at four weeks. Chicken scratch is a treat to feed them and ground corn keeps them warm in winter.

Keep water available in the coop at all times for your capon, cockerels and roosters.

Close up your male and female chickens inside the house at night to reduce potential harm and aid their sleeping habits.

Decide on the butchering process for your capon, cockerel or roosters. Capon is generally slaughtered within a year. Cockerel and rooster are tougher and can be butchered whenever you choose. You can either butcher them yourself, take them to a veterinarian to be put down, or bring them to a slaughterhouse to have them prepared for you.

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