Q & A: concern over hatching cockerels

Chicks in a brooder

Chicks in a brooder - Credit: Archant

Advice on egg hatchings

Question: I have kept a few hybrid hens in my back garden for the past couple of years. I would like to take the next step and hatch a few eggs, either under a broody hen or in an incubator. I think this would be a great educational experience for my two daughters too.

My main concern, and what has kept me from doing this so far, is what to do with the cockerels that hatch. We live in the suburbs so there is no way we could keep them once they reach maturity and I couldn’t kill them myself. What do other people do in a similar situation? Any suggestions gratefully received!

Answer: Terry Beebe says: Yes, it is a great experience hatching your eggs, especially for the very first time, but also be aware that there can be complications during both incubation and hatching and not every chick will survive. I say this because it can upset young people and this needs to be considered.

Yes, it is very difficult to home cockerels as no one wants them, mainly because of the noise. The only safe way is to cull. If you can’t do this yourself then maybe there is a chicken breeder near you who would carry out the task. The other option is to take them to auction and sell them, although they will fetch virtually nothing. In some cases auctions will not take just male birds.