Good-bye, Opal!

Opal is a rooster. No crowing yet, but just look at this bird.

I don’t keep roosters here. I don’t need my hens bred. I don’t need the rooster to protect them while free-ranging because I do that. They have a peaceful life with nary a pecking order issue without a rooster’s dominance. Nope, don’t need a roo.

This morning I tucked Opal into a pet carrier. The Gems breathed a sigh of relief.

Is he gone yet? asked Agatha.

Lucky for this boy, I happen to have a neighbor who does want a rooster.

Check out your new home, Opal!

Thirty pullets, acres to roam, and a big barn to sleep in.

Oh, did I mention the ducks?

Don’t worry. You’ll get used to them.


  1. Figured he was and that he was going to another home. I just hope Opie doesn’t turn mean. Sounds like he was starting to try and mate with the other young pullets. And with 30 hens, he will have his hands full !!!

    • PS I amight be wrong on this but was Opie a Delware or Light Sussex ? And don’t Delware roosters usually make nice roosters ? I just hope your neighbor will be able to convince Opie that he is a betta rooster and that he isn’t suppose to attack humans.

  2. Opal may never weigh more than he does now. Thirty hens is going to wear that poor boy out! ;-)

  3. We had two Easter chicks (Fluff and Squeek) when I was about 10. Both turned out to be roosters and went to a farm. Roosters can be a little scary. My mother decided that was the end of chickens. So, I live vicariously through yours! Agatha sure is gorgeous!

  4. We think we may have a roo too. Funny story. I got three chicks, one day old. Let each of my grandchildren pick one to call their very own. They named their chicks. My grandson Noah, who just turned 4, named his chick “Ham.” I said, “Noah, Ham? Ham for a girl chicken?” He said, ” NO Gamma…Ham is a boy!!!! ” We laughed, and Ham it was. Now, 12 weeks later, Ham is strutting around like a Roo, and making some very Rooish noises. He/she has tall tail feathers, and is very protective of the girls in his/her pen. We are not sure yet though, as there is no cock a doodle dooing as of yet. Recently while on a cruise, my husband was reading something about the Bible and discovered that Ham is the son of Noah!!! Now Ham is making ROO like noises, and showing tall tail feathers, and acting like a Roo!! He/she is a Light Brahma, and is big anyways. But wouldn’t that just beat all if Ham is indeed a Roo!! My husband says that there is NO WAY we are getting rid of him. I say…oh yes we are!!!

  5. How did you figure out it was a “he” ? Are the spurs developing ? It must be hard to tell. Anyway, I am glad Agatha can relax now. Might better hold her since she is in training to be the next Tillie !

  6. I’m pretty sure that our Fluffy, Opal’s spit image and about the same age, is also a rooster. In defense of Delaware roosters, I must say that my Prince Delaware is the most caring rooster I’ve ever known. He’s going on 4 years old and he and his friend, Prince Orpington, get along well. Prince Delaware is unique among my many, many roosters over the years. When treats (apple cores, table scraps, etc.)arrive in the chicken yard, Prince Delaware makes the same noises a hen does to call her chicks and then stands by while the hens eat whatever it is. He only eats after all 8 hens have at least had a taste. He even lets Prince Orpington go ahead of him!

    I know that I’ve got at least 2 more roos among the Ameraucanas-they’re harder to tell since they have “pea” combs. I’ve heard at least one attempted crow from the lot but wasn’t close enough to tell who it was from. Time will tell, it always does!

    Looks like Opal ended up a winner anyway!

  7. hou’d you find a home for opal the roo? I’ve a 8 week old white leghorn that has turned out to be a roo and need him to go.

  8. Hawley, I’m glad you asked. Opal is one lucky boy. I found a home for the rooster because I happen to have friends with chickens who happen to have 10-week old pullets. They like keeping a rooster around because the hens free-range. Very few people have my luck! I wish that the hatcheries wouldn’t include that “free” chick. It’s always a rooster, and it can be a real problem.

    Your question lets me get on my soap box. PLEASE, if you have roosters and can’t keep them, do not leave them, uninvited on a farmer’s front yard. A friend has that happen all the time. Your rooster could introduce disease to the farmer’s flock. Your rooster could tangle with her established flock and cause injuries and stress. I can assure you that your rooster won’t find a good home. The farmer I know takes the unwanted roosters to the livestock auction.

    • One suggestion when ordering from a hatchery, place your order over the phone. Stress to them you do not want the free chick. I do this when I order or combine an order with a chicken buddy and I have always had them comply to my request.

  9. You are very lucky that you found a good home for him. I had to find homes for 2 last year and fortunately I was able to. I have an Americauna rooster to keep my hens safe(r) because they go all over our 5 acres. With empty fields on 3 sides, predators took a few of my girls before I brought Toby home. Sometimes I don’t like having him, but mostly he’s a good boy. He loves when I step outside with treats because he gets all the credit with his girls (well, he likes to believe that) and won’t eat until they’re finished. One reason I didn’t hatch out our own this year was because I didn’t want to find homes for more roos. And also the reason 4 of my new chicklets are Sex Links…takes the guessing out of it.

  10. Thank goodness Opal/Opie has a home. We all did worry, you know… Growing up with chickens we had two kinds: layers and fryers!

  11. I got 8 new chicks this spring and 5 out of 8 were roosters. I thought that I would keep one, but he was after 2 of my girls all the time. He really upset their serenity and the girls and me were glad to see him go. I even traded one rooster for a 4 week old blue Marans pullet. I was in denial about her being a rooster until she/he started going after the girls again. He never crowed, and had the comb and waddles of a rooster, but the body of a hen. He had to go too. My girls say, Thank God, no more roosters.

    • Brenda, I stopped hatching my own chicks in 2005 after many years of having a closed flock. That last year I set a hen (Buff Orpington) on 15 eggs. Eleven hatched. Seven of them were roosters. I still have one of the hens but the next time I ordered 15 pullets (and 2 roosters) and that’s the only way to go. The straight run Ameraucanas (7 of them) + one Delaware and one Ancona were an instance of BaBa indulging grandsons. I’ve mostly had at least one and usually two roosters in my 50 or so years of off-and-on chicken-keeping–I just like to hear them crow in the morning!

  12. Yay for Opal! So happy to see that you found him a new home. Wow! He is a lucky boy :)

    • Yes, but as Ken from Missouri says, he’ll be tired out. A nice harem for a rooster is six to nine hens, not thirty!

  13. Good for you… Finding a nice home for your roo. Even if he is chased/tormented by a pair of ducks… Ha! Ha! Brie and I face a similar situation with our Black Copper Maran, “Victor/Victoria,” but Brie wants to wait for him to crow before sending him packing. :)

    • Marans are a gorgeous rare breed in demand these days. I hope you know someone who want “V” for their flock!

  14. So bummed that you had to say goodbye to Opal but so stoked on what a great new pad he has! ducks will certainly help keep him in line :) and Agatha is truly a gorgeous girl. what a happy farm!

  15. Sounds like Opie got the best place to live for an unwanted roo. I got 3 bantam peeps at the feed store this spring and all three were roosters. Talk about your bad odds. For some reason, this feed store will take back rooster chicks, though, so I took them down and warranteed them. They were especially pleased to see my d’uccle boyo. I was then able to buy 2 8-week-old pullets at a poultry swap. Such a relief to have the sex thing pre-sorted. In the future, I may forego the pleasure of raising peeps for the relief of not having to worry about cockerelization.

    • I am not suprised they wanted your d’uccle rooster back. They are quite pretty. I prefer the serama myself.

  16. Your photos & description of Agatha, by the way, have put Speckled Sussex hens on my list of next new pullets, a year or two down the road. What a cutie!

  17. Terry,
    You mentioned in the Scratch and Peck blog that you were trying something new for messy bottoms. Any luck? My Big Girl could use help. Your sugestions are always so helpful!

  18. Well, we all knew it, didn’t we? Just a matter of time before Opal/Opie had to go. So glad you found him a nice happy farm to live on – even though he’ll have to learn to pace himself! I’m sorry to learn you won’t have a Delaware now. I think they’re beautiful. There’s always next time.

  19. Thanks so much for posting this! This is my first year with chickens and I ordered all pullets from MyPetChicken. They came through like champs-no roosters (and no extra chick)! Then I lost my head and picked up straight run bantams from my local feed store. I ended up with more than 50% roosters and I have to say, I don’t like them! Thanks for reminding me that it is okay not to like them and that the flock is better off without them. :)

  20. A great post, very amusing especially all the comments. I bet Opal never thought he would be so talked about.