Neutering is performed on many mammals that humans keep as a pet, like cats or dogs. There are many reasons for neutering an animal, such as preventing testicular cancer, reducing the desire to roam, or other problems.
The benefits of neutering a pet are clear, but can neutering also be performed on chickens? Can you neuter a rooster? You can neuter a rooster, and it brings lots of benefits for the owners.
Can you neuter a rooster?
Neutering can be done on roosters. It is done to increase the quality of the chicken meat. Furthermore, the procedure of neutering is a relatively small surgeon, and without anesthetic.
What is neutering?
Neutering a rooster, also known as caponizing, creates a result that is called a capon. A gelding is a caponized horse, a steer is a caponized male cow, and a caponized rooster is called a capon.
Back then when most people raised their chickens, caponizing was quite a common practice. A capon’s meat is much tender compared to a rooster’s meat, which is very pungent and stringy.
Increasing the meat quality is also one of the reasons for caponizing a cow and turning it into a steer.
To find a way around fattening hens in the past, the Romans have invented neutering. Castrated or neutered roosters will grow to be fatter than normal roosters. They can also be 2 times plumper than normal.
Farmers usually have their roosters caponized so that they can put the capons to good use. While it is recommended to only keep 1 rooster in a flock to keep the peace, capons can stay together without fighting.
Capons are also more preferred than hens. Hens’ meats tend to be quite lean since they are all laying hens, whereas capons’ meat is more plentiful and tender.
Further reading: Can a rooster lay eggs?
How to caponize a rooster?
You need to have the roosters caponized before they enter puberty. The “Easy-On” Caponizing Set instruction book recommended that caponizing should be performed when the chickens’ ages range from 6 weeks to 3 months.
A rooster’s testicles are near the back and high up on its body. It only takes a minor surgical procedure to caponize a rooster. Traditionally, it is performed without anesthetic.
Alternatively, large-scale commercial capon producers usually choose chemical methods instead.
The method involves inserting an estrogen implant under a male baby chicken’s skin. The estrogen will suppress the male chick’s natural testosterone, without having to remove the chicks’ testicles.
However, both methods of caponizing have their own con:
- For the surgical method, it is considered by many people to be inhumane
- For the chemical method, the meat is potentially unsafe for humans to consume since the unnaturally large amount of estrogen is present in the meat.
How will a rooster react after being caponized?
Once the testicles of the rooster are completely removed, his demeanor will change completely.
- He won’t mate with the hens.
- He won’t crow.
- Will gain more weight than before if milk and porridge are fed.
- He won’t become aggressive.
What are the benefits of having a capon?
Even if you try to buy pre-sexed chicks, there is still a chance that you will end up with a male chick by accident. With that being said, a male chick is still a cute animal.
Roosters can do a lot of things for your flock. They are beautiful and entertaining, and they can protect the flock by warning about the predators or even have good fights with them.
But, roosters can sometimes be very aggressive. But even worse, they crow all the time, and they do it loudly. As a result, some places have made the law of only hens allowed.
That is one of the situations where you would want to caponize a rooster. Just like pets like cats and dogs, the rooster’s behavior is determined by his hormones. So by removing the testicles, there won’t be any hormone.
Caponizing a rooster can reduce its no obnoxious rooster behavior. Compared to a normal rooster, a caponized rooster is a much more docile and calm animal in your flock, thus it could be more tolerable to its owner.
Can an older rooster be caponized?
Neutering an old rooster may not be as effective as with a younger one. It is still less likely to fight and crow but only to some extent. Also, there would be a risk of cutting the wrong organs which leads to the rooster bleeding to death.
Is it possible to tame the rooster behavior without resorting to neutering?
If you want to control the conflict and the aggressiveness between chickens, you can try to let the roosters go around in large areas and give each rooster its own flock of hens, its own feed, and water.
A rooster showing up by itself looking for food, water, and hens is highly in trouble. But if the same rooster goes with its own hens, water, and feed, it can avoid the conflict as long as it won’t mate with hens from the other flock.
However, this solution won’t solve the problems of the rooster crowing loudly and often. So if you live in a place where the law is applied, you should consider neutering your roosters.
So, can you neuter a rooster? You can, and you should neuter a rooster if you want the benefits like no more crowing, no more aggressiveness, and their meat will turn out tender and more plentiful.
When you have your roosters caponized, make sure to do it while the chicks are 6 weeks to 3 months old. Caponizing an old rooster can risk cutting the wrong organs and leading to bleeding and death.
If you want to control the roosters’ behavior without using caponizing, you should try to provide the best condition for your roosters, like their own food, water, and flocks of hens.
Image credits – Photo by Rachel Lees, Strauss Western, Sharavanan Raja on Unsplash