Rehoming a rooster....the why's and how's

So you need to get rid of a rooster, right? It's a very common issue actually. It's not about what you need to do, it's about why you need to do it and how you go about it. You don't want your rooster to end up in the wrong hands, but we might not agree on whose hands those are! First, let's talk about the 'why' in re-homing your rooster, then we'll talk about how you can rehome the rooster.

1) I'm not allowed to have roosters
2) I have too many roosters
3) He beats up other roosters, flogs my child, and chases the dog.
4) He gets beat up by the other roosters

Finding a new home for a rooster

That's pretty easy, right? Now let's get onto the 'how', however many of these solutions depend on the 'why' for their answer. 

Rehoming a rooster

1) I'm not allowed to have roosters:
The backyard chicken movement is sweeping the nation, moving beyond the farm to the suburban backyard. Most suburbs don't allow roosters because of the noise. One of your cute little chicks isn't laying eggs and suddenly started crowing! What to do? 

This is probably still a cockerel, which is probably the easiest to deal with. First, take an absolutely adorable picture, then post him for free. You have several choices here: 
  • Craigslist (farm & garden section)
  • Freecycle 
  • Chicken forums like Backyard Chickens buy~sell~trade section.
  • Put an ad up at the feed shop, food co-op etc. 
  • Take him to an auction or chicken swap.
  • List him for free on local Facebook groups.
  • You could try calling the local 4H group. They may know a member willing to take a rooster, especially if it's a fancy breed....particularly if it's good quality. Let's admit it, most of us that insist on hatching our own eggs order very good stock and what kid doesn't want a started winner? Work your angles here!
This rooster is young, so your chances of finding him a forever home are pretty good. Not many people would get a young non-meat chicken to grow out for meat. It's not cost effective. This is by far the easiest time to get rid of a roo, when their still young and cute!

Rooster. Black and white striped feathers

2) I have too many roosters:
This kind of depends on the age. You can use all the methods in #1 especially if it's still a cockerel. If it's a full grown rooster it gets a little tougher. First you need to come to terms with the fact that you really can't control what happens once he leaves your hands. 

I know you probably want a forever home for him, but people will bluff and straight lie to get what they want. I've seen it happen and it's heartbreaking. 

If you can't stand the thought that your extra rooster might become soup, then you're best bet is to search your friend network very carefully and try to find him a home. If he's not aggressive, make sure you mention that too! 

3) He beats up other roosters:
This is where it gets sticky. I'm sure that none of us have our heads in the sand. We all know that cockfighting still goes on. Just cause it's illegal doesn't mean a thing to these guys. You have to remember the big NFL dog fighting scandal right? Same thing with roosters. So the biggest No No is do NOT advertise it as a mean rooster. 

I didn't say to lie....follow me here....I'm all for full disclosure. I would never lie, in fact my ads are often so honest they're hilarious! But I wouldn't put the roosters attitude problem out there on the internet for all to see either. You'll have to tell a potential owner this in person, on the phone etc. 

You may not want this rooster, you may not care if he becomes dinner and that's fine. Just please don't put him out there for a cockfighting ring. Nothing deserves to die like that. 

However you do need to let it be known to potential owners that this guy has a bit of an aggression issue. A mean rooster is not going to miraculously reform and sneaking your problem into someone else's yard is just wrong. This is definitely a 'tread lightly' situation.

You could take him to auction. That's sort of a buyer beware situation anyway. Just remember that adult roo's could end up anywhere from an auction. Your best bet is to give him to someone who knows how to butcher or do it yourself. 

A "free rooster for butchering" ad at the farmers market will probably get you a few calls. If you find a willing butcher then definitely keep their number, you might need it again.

Beautiful rust and black rooster crowing

4) He gets beat up by the other roosters:
Ahhh, the other side of the coin. More than likely this guy will mature nicely in a home with his own flock. Again, I believe in full don't want him moving into a situation where he gets beat up by the current rooster. 

You're a little safer advertising this guy on the net although he still could end up in the soup pot

Work your network: advertise on FB, Tweet to your friends, post in your farm groups. I also like Freecycle for full grown bantams. Bantys don't often end up as stew. 

If your rooster happens to be a rare breed or show quality you can post him on places like the BYC forum or other chicken/homesteading sites. If there is a forum dedicated to that breed and you're willing to ship you might even be able to find a forever home for a mean rooster if he has stellar genetics. It's worth a try! 

I've kept a rooster pen for awhile, which is sort of a bachelor pad for roosters and it can work out well if you want to hang on to a few extra roosters till you figure out what to do with them. The fighting tends to stop when they don't have any hens around!

I'm sure there are other methods and reasons I missed, so if you know of one be sure to leave me a comment!  Good luck!


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re-homing a roo


  1. I actually did this with a hen I bought. Big mistake- she was really aggressive. After 2 weeks of trying to work with her I sold her for $10.00 on craigslist. One of my hens is starting down that path. If I can't settle here down, when I get new chicks, she's off too. I don't want her hurting my new young pullets. I just listed the old one as "needs more room, likes to be the queen bird" :)

    1. See, now the original owner probably knew this and just didn't tel you....that's why I'm all for full disclosure. It's not like anyone has a hard time selling a laying hen, right? Would have saved you some grief!


  2. Good ideas and cautionary advice. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks again Lisa for all your valuable info. I live in a suburb where I am not supposed to have hens. I used to have a rooster we dubbed as "crazy" due to the way he was acting at a very young age. He turned out to be very loud and aggressive. Before we set up a separate run in the fenced back yard, he commandeered the yard and would attack all of us daring to get into his territory... He would start crowing and waking up the neighborhood at 3 am. We got that letter from the homeowner association... we were lucky to have a friend in the countryside who accepted to take him in. He is very protective of the hundreds of chicken and other fowls he raises. He still has to keep crazy separated from every other bird except on hen who is now shacking with our rooster. He also still attacks my friend and his wife if they give him a chance.

    1. That crowing at 3 am will always get the HOAs attention! Wow, that rooster does sound a bit crazy! Sometimes they're just like that, but it's awesome that you rehomed him to a farm. Hopefully he calms down with age.


  4. Replies
    1. I often do. However some chicken keepers live in the suburbs where they can't just butcher a chicken in their backyard. Still others just don't want to. I'm all about providing options!

      Have a great day,

  5. Someone sold me a couple of hens and begged me to take a big rooster with them. Said he was gentle. I lived in the country and had lots of birds at the time. The minute I got him home he began to attack me and anyone else that came close. I quarantined him for a week and after he went with the hens he started attacking us when we gathered eggs! Vicious attacks aiming for our heads. It was crazy. I called the owner and asked them to take him back. They weren’t interested. I brought him back anyway and tossed him over their fence! Good riddance. Definitely misrepresented this guys temperament. Never did business with or heard from them again.

    1. Wow, that was horrible of them! I would have been irate. Sometimes a chicken can get defensive in a new environment, but if he really was gentle he would have settled down shortly. It's totally unfair to push a problem rooster on to someone else...sorry you went through that! I am kinda of giggling thinking of them being all smug for getting rid of him and walking outside and he's like "I'm baaaccckkk!" lol