Now that Ellie's chicks are several months old, it is becoming apparent that we've got some males on our hands. It looks like four of the five chicks have turned out to be boys!
For now, we're keeping them in a separate coop and run area. We do let them out in the evenings with the main flock for free ranging, and they seem to get along fairly well. The boys' run is attached to the main run, so all of the chickens can see each other all day long.
I had read before that if you keep roosters together without any hens, they will get along and not fight because there is nothing for them to fight over. Usually when roosters squabble, it's because they are each trying to claim rights to the hens. I have seen this with Cam and Roosty in our main flock, so I knew that adding in more boys with the number of hens we have would definitely not work. I know most people would get rid of the roosters (either by giving them away or eating them) but I just can't bring myself to do it.
I have a soft spot in my heart for roosters because typically they are unwanted. The dark side of the backyard chicken craze is that everyone wants hens for their eggs, but no one wants roosters. So at the hatcheries, baby chicks are sexed and the boys are simply disposed of in ways that are far too upsetting for me to mention here. They are thrown away because no one wants them, and it breaks my heart that just because they happened to be born as males they meet such a cruel fate.
So even though it's not economically prudent, and it's not the hatching outcome we had initially hoped for, these boys will have a safe home with us. I will never be known as a typical farmer, and even though sometimes it's hard, I hope I will always stick to my guns and follow my heart. To me, each and every animal I care for is someone, not something, and I will protect and care for them to the best of my ability.