Chicken consumption is known to reach high numbers each year. Americans alone are believed to eat 8 billion chickens yearly!
If you look at the numbers, most of those chickens are hens. It can make you ask where the roosters are in those digits. Eventually, you might come to ask the age-old question: can you eat roosters?
Let us find out!
Can You Eat Roosters?
Yes, you can eat roosters. They have almost the same nutritional value as the hens. They are safe to eat.
There is almost the same chance that an egg would be a male or a female chick. The same is not true when it comes to commercial poultry. Roosters and hens don’t have the same chances in the poultry business.
As you might already know, hens rule the commercial poultry world. You usually see hens on shelves and tables. On the other hand, it’s unusual to see roosters in those places.
With all that, roosters are not the most popular choice, but they are still safe to eat.
Why The Lack of Roosters?
There are several reasons why hens are more popular as table birds than roosters. Let’s talk about those factors one by one:
It’s not what you’re thinking. As far as we know, there are no rules stating people can’t eat roosters.
The problem is, roosters could be loud. Because of this, many places don’t allow residents to own one. So, many chicken handlers don’t have a single rooster on their flock.
As you might have guessed, you can’t eat roosters if you don’t have roosters in the first place.
Temperament is an important factor, especially in commercial poultry.
Different breeds have different temperaments. There are chicken breeds that are known to be tame. On the other hand, there are also breeds that are known to be aggressive.
Those statements do not usually apply to the roosters. You can say the males are the exception to this rule. Despite how gentle a breed is, its rooster is still likely to be aggressive.
Many runs only have one or two roosters, if any. That is because roosters are usually not that tolerant of other males.
Sometimes, you can’t just introduce a new male to a flock if there is already a rooster in it. There are some proper steps to be taken.
Additionally, you usually need a larger area for more than one rooster. Roosters could get territorial.
Generally, roosters don’t do well together. On the other hand, hens are more accepting and tolerant of other hens. With that said, it is not surprising to know that many handlers opt for the hens.
It is the same for the big poultry companies. In commercial poultry, thousands of chickens need to live together under one roof.
Now, imagine what would happen if you put thousands of roosters together. There would be big trouble. It’s not a pretty sight. With that picture in mind, it’s easy to see why poultry companies opt to nurture and sell hens instead.
Production is another factor why small and big poultry companies don’t keep roosters.
Hens can lay eggs even without a rooster. On the other hand, roosters can’t do the same. If one is looking for a productive bird, the roosters are not on the top of the list.
You know what they say: nothing good comes easy. Many could disregard the problems we have listed if rooster meat is worth the trouble.
However, that’s the problem. Rooster meat is not worth the struggle for many.
Rooster meat is usually leathery and chewy. It takes a long time to tenderize. It’s not the best kind of meat, especially if you’re looking for something fast and easy to cook.
Additionally, roosters take almost the same time to grow as hens, but they don’t have that much meat in them. With everything into consideration, rooster meat does not seem to be worth the hassle.
If not in quality, then rooster meat might have something to brag in taste, right? Let’s see.
Some say rooster meat has a stronger taste compared to the usual chicken meat we have. Some add that the flavor becomes stronger the older the rooster gets. On the other hand, some say that you won’t be able to taste the difference.
So, is the taste worth it? The chicken community is a little divided on this. It looks like it’s a matter of personal preference.
Why Keep Roosters?
Roosters are not the most productive birds out there. They don’t lay eggs. Also, as you have seen, they are not the best table birds out there.
In addition, they’re usually not tame creatures. It is not common to see a friendly rooster. Many marvels at the sight of it. More often than not, roosters are aggressive, which can pose problems on your land.
Of course, we can’t forget that they’re loud birds too!
By now, you might be wondering why chicken handlers and keepers still keep roosters. The little guys could be a little bit challenging. However, they have some good qualities too.
For one, many handlers choose to keep at least one rooster as an added layer of protection. All that fire is usually because roosters are protective of their flock.
They will sound the alarm if predators are nearby. If you fail to show up and fend off the predator, the rooster would be willing to save the day by sacrificing himself. Hopefully, it doesn’t have to come to that!
If you’re looking forward to hatching and raising some chicks, then you would want to keep at least one rooster. They are needed when it comes to fertilizing eggs. Hens can lay eggs without a rooster, but those eggs will not become chicks without a rooster.
If you’re into poultry shows, then you might also want to consider adding a rooster to your flock. Roosters are flashy and showy, and you want that flair for the show. They make for a great show bird.
Lastly, some handlers like to keep roosters as pets. Not all roosters will become loyal subjects to you. Some will always be wary of you. However, those that somehow become tame will make for a great chicken companion.
If you’re up for some challenge, we think taking in one or two roosters would be worthwhile!
Capons: Valued Male Chickens
A capon is also a rooster, a neutered one, that is. As you can imagine, the process could be painful for the chickens. Unfortunately, it is not banned anywhere in the US.
The process is supposed to improve the meat quality of the rooster. However, there is a tradeoff.
Capons will take a longer time to develop. Also, they will be smaller when you compare them to an average-sized rooster.
In addition, they lose some of the characteristics known to most roosters. They are less active and aggressive. Some keepers tend to like this behavior more.
Is the tradeoff worth it? Well, some say the taste is similar to the meat that hens offer. If that’s the case, it doesn’t seem like the exchange is worth it.
Overall, many value capons for their meat. Given the suffering the chicken will endure, we don’t support it.
Rooster Meat Dishes
Despite not being the best table birds in town, you can still eat roosters. If you have a few too many roosters on your land, then here are some dishes you might want to try:
- Spicy Rooster Gumbo– We hope you like spicy dishes! The spicy rooster gumbo is a recipe you would want to try. Also, you don’t have to keep all that tasty goodness for yourself. This dish is good for up to six servings.
- Coq au Vin– In the mood for something fancy? Maybe you would want to try coq a vin. It literally means rooster in wine. This dish is good for up to four servings.
- Superfluous Rooster with Dumplings– Maybe you want something different, but something simple. Well, we got you! You might want to try out this dish. It could make up about four to six servings.
Rooster meat is not the easiest to cook, but we think these dishes will make the wait and effort worth it.
There you have it! Can you eat roosters? Absolutely.
Roosters are not a usual meat choice in some places of the world, but it is undoubtedly safe to consume.
There are several reasons why roosters are not naturally on grocery shelves and dining tables. They’re not the best meat around, and the trouble doesn’t seem to be worth it for many.
However, that’s not a reason not to keep one or two roosters on your land!
Most roosters are known to be aggressive, but they still have many redeeming qualities. They’re great to have as an extra layer of protection for your hens. Also, you’ll need them if you want to hatch and raise your own chicks!
Overall, if you’re up for a challenge, then a rooster could offer both a fun and rewarding experience and dish!