|Malcolm, a gentlemanly Black Java|
|Malcolm leading his ladies on a foraging run|
But not all Roos are like Malcolm, and not everyone can keep Roosters good or bad. One can always try to use Craigslist to try to find them a new home, but the truth is that most Roos end up as chicken dinner. If you have the heart for it, young Roos make for good eating--they are tender and delicious, no matter how bad they may have been alive. Today was the day we needed to downsize, after putting it off for a while. I raised 6 Black Javas recently and 4 were roosters, only one of which was of sufficient quality to consider adding to my breeding program. And I had one beautiful Roo that has gotten aggressive of late, treating the other rooster and the hens in his flock badly. So today my husband and son reduced our flock size by 4. Although culling birds for any reason is not a happy event, it can be done humanely and quickly, reducing stress to both the bird and question and the rest of the flock. There is a great deal of advice online about how to do this, so I won't belabor the point here. The bright spot in the experience is that I know we have created a more peaceful and natural environment for our birds (whose natural hierarchy includes only one or two Roos for 3-10 hens), and we have some VERY local, free-ranged, compassionately raised, sustainably harvested meat in the freezer, and we'll practice gratitude as we consume it over the next days and weeks.