Chickens

Selling Cockerels

I knew from the moment they were born that my boys would grow up and leave me – my cockerels, of course.  Out of the seventeen eggs hatched this year, I ended up with seven pullets and ten cockerels: 2 Specked Sussex cockerels, 2 Welsummer, 2 Easter Egger, 3 Silver Ameraucana, and 1 Wheaton Ameraucana.

As you know, one of my Speckled Sussex boys found a home through the Virginia Farm Classifieds in Estaline Valley just behind my ridge with a nice flock of Speckled Sussex ladies.  Brutus, the blue/red Easter Egger cockerel, found a home with some friendly ZZ-Top-type fellows where he would have a mixed flock of hens to live with.  He found his home when I took him to the poultry sale at Expoland last month.

Taking the boys to the show, I am always concerned that they will be used in illegal cockfighting or made into soup.  To hedge against this, I charge $5 for boys, hoping that this will discourage the eaters and cockfighters because so many roosters can be found for free on Craigslist and similar places.  I also clearly state “not for food or sport” on my sign.  Lastly, I talk to everyone who comes up to my booth.  When someone offers to buy a cockerel, I ask about the flock they are going to if they have not already offered such information.  So far, I believe my luck has held.

Because the show begins at seven and is an hour from my home, I get ready the night before.  I pack:

  • my cage prepared with litter or newspaper
  • a sheet to cover the cage in the car
  • food
  • a bowl
  • a water bottle and holder
  • hand sanitizer
  • moist wipes
  • paper towels
  • plastic shopping bags
  • chicken-sized cardboard boxes, if I have them
  • a chair
  • a folding table
  • a book to read
  • water and a snack for me
  • a sign listing the types of birds, their price, and “not for food or sport”
  • handouts with my email address, website, and brief explanations of the breeds

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The morning of the show, I carry the cage into the coop before I let the flock out for the day, leaving my trunk open.  With everyone still a bit sleepy and contained, I put the travelers into the cage and then let the rest of the flock out.  I carry them down to the car, slide them in, and cover the cage with the sheet.  As I drive, they lie down and make little noises occasionally, but cope quite well.

When I arrive, I see the long line of cars pulled in at the show and pull in myself at the end.  I get out, open my trunk, and start setting up.  I’ve learned that the birds sell better when people can see them well, but I don’t want to set the cage on the ground: I want to limit their exposure to the other birds, so I put up a folding table and set the cage on top.  I tape up my sign and get out my chair.  The woman who runs the sale comes by to collect the $5 fee.  I filled out a form with my name, address, and contact information the first time, but now I can just tell her my name.

When the boys poop and it is a bit smelly, I clean up with paper towels or wipes, put the mess in a plastic bag, and sanitize my hands.  Every hour or so, I give them a handful of food and put in the waterer.  I take the waterer out after about ten minutes because, with nothing else to do, they will just drink and drink, which isn’t really good for them and makes for a lot of watery poop.

I find that it’s best not to read too much; you have to engage with people as they come by and make them feel welcome: welcome to ask questions about the birds, welcome to look, and welcome to come back later.  I even lift my sunglasses to make better eye contact.  I was nervous about talking to so many people, but now I find that I really enjoy it.

I was very successful at the poultry sale two weeks ago.  I found great homes for my two Welsummer boys and my blue (gray) Easter Egger cockerel.  I sold every bird that I brought and ended up buying two little pullets to bring home in their place (more about them later).  I am currently deciding which boys to hold onto through the winter, and I will definitely be going to the sale again with some of the Ameraucana boys at the next sale on September 17th.

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2 thoughts on “Selling Cockerels

  1. Pingback: Easter Hatch 2012 and New Breeds « Scratch Cradle

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