pasture raised chicken, rooster, hen, freedom ranger Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered, “What on earth am I going to do with all these roosters?” If you’ve hatched out chicks, you know that alongside those adorable hens, you often find yourself with an unexpected surplus of roosters. It’s a legit concern! Let’s talk about the world of roosters and the surprising benefits they can bring to your homestead and table.

Unraveling the Mystique of Roosters

Roosters are more than just that crowing alarm clock; they play a crucial role in your flock. Sure, they fertilize eggs like champions, but there’s more to it than that. These fine feathered protectors are your free ranging hens’ first line of defense against predators and their trusty guides to locating the best grub. With that in mind, you can see that roosters are not just a byproduct but an essential asset to your flock’s welfare.

However, too many roosters can lead to some rather chaotic amorous behavior., and let’s be honest, that’s not a pleasant sight. A healthy balance of roosters to hens is about 1 to 10 (or less). So, the burning question is, what can you do when roosters start outnumbering your hens? Buckle up because we’ve got some tasty solutions.

Savoring the Flavor of Roosters

chicken, rooster, pastured poultryYou bet you can eat roosters! Although young roosters may be a tad tougher than a Cornish cross chicken, you can work culinary wonders to make them a delicious and satisfying meal.

Pressure Cooking Perfection: Get ready to experience tender rooster meat by pressure cooking or boiling them. While the grill might lend that smoky flavor, the dry heat can make your bird tougher.  The magic happens with “low and slow” cooking, turning your rooster into a flavorful masterpiece.

The Nutrient Goldmine: What makes young roosters extraordinary? It’s the richness in minerals and fat that delivers that unique flavor. Darker meat is a testament to this nutrient abundance, influenced by breed and age. By the time you’re ready to cull them, these young roosters are primed to give you a remarkably rich and flavorsome chicken dinner.

Now that you’re itching to explore the culinary side of your roosters, let’s dive into some lip-smacking recipes:
  • Rooster Soup Sensation: I generally include the feet when I package a rooster, so the whole thing can go in the stockpot or instapot to make super rich broth. The feet add collagen (think healthy bones, hair, and skin) and flavor in spades to your broth. Remove the bones and meat at the end of the cook time. Take the meat off the bones, dice, and return to the pot. Add any veggies and herbs you like. A rooster can make a rich broth without overwhelming the soup with meat. It’s a nice balance.
  • Pressure-Cooked Chicken Delight: Pressure cooking is a great way to enjoy a full flavor chicken that is also tender to eat. Know that it will be chewier than a store chicken, or even a cornish cross farm chicken. However, that chewiness helps develop your jaw muscles and bone, facial bones and structures, and teeth. All that mastication also ensures that you’ll get all the minerals and vitamins that rooster stored up for you. It’s a pleasurable, gentle workout that tastes good!
  • Chicken and dumplings: Follow the directions for soup, but thicken the broth. Dumplings are basically biscuits steam cooked in the stew. This is a historically fantastic way to enjoy the heritage animal that a rooster is.

chicken, rooster, pastured poultry

Roosters are far from being a homestead liability. They’re a treasured asset that adds flavor, excitement, and protection to your flock. So, embrace your roosters, and savor the delightful meals they can provide. They’re not just a gift; they’re a culinary adventure waiting to happen on your homestead.


Learn how to process your own roosters! Join us in the spring Pastured Poultry and Chicken Processing class or join the Tribe+ website membership and get the full and complete video course for free.