Caponizing a Rooster

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

“Will caponizing a rooster stop it from crowing?” ~ Mark Heinz

Hi Mark, thanks for the question. In short, the answer is “No”.

If you’re interested in a detailed post about keeping roosters quiet, see…

Vol 1: Issue: 2 – Wednesday 3rd December 2008 of this newsletter.

One idea for keeping a rooster from crowing that I failed to mention in that issue is this; place your rooster in a low cage at night. In this way, you may be able to keep him quiet in the morning because he can’t stretch his neck to crow. Obviously you wouldn’t want to keep him caged like this for the whole of the day, so he’ll still crow during the day.

If your concern is waking the neighbors in the morning, this might be worth a try.

So then what exactly is caponizing and what is the purpose of it?

Caponizing, the process of removing the rooster’s testes, is an invasive surgery and not something to be taken lightly.

Unlike most mammals in which the testes are located externally, the rooster hides his in his abdominal cavity.

Caponizing is usually done when the rooster is between 2 and 4 weeks. At this age, the testes are no bigger than a large piece of grain.

After withholding food and water for at least 12 hours, the intestines settle away from the testes, making them easier to identify.

Although the procedure can be done on older birds, younger birds have less adverse effects.

This procedure should not be undertaken by an inexperienced individual and for that reason, I’m not going to include detailed instructions. If you can locate someone who is experienced and is willing to teach you how to do it, by all means learn how if that is your desire.

The problem is finding someone who still knows how.

You see, caponizing used to be commonplace. The purpose for this procedure is that once the rooster has been caponized, it grows to be 8-10 pounds in just 16 weeks. The meat is wonderfully tender and flavorful.

With the introduction and popularity of Cornish cross breeds, caponizing is rare.

Also, it is my understanding that it is illegal in some parts of the world so that’s something you’ll need to check into if you are interested in learning how to caponize.

If it is legal in your part of the world, it can be hard to find a veterinarian to perform the procedure.

Besides, if you’ve got to pay a vet bill, it would probably be cost prohibitive. You might as well just buy a capon in a specialty market.

If you’re serious about caponizing your roosters, your best bet is to find an old-timer with the wisdom, experience and willingness to show you how.

So the next time you’re in a nice restaurant and see capon on the menu you’ll understand what that rooster went through to get to the table.

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