As a small flock keeper I rely on online platforms to sell eggs, chicks and adult birds. I have one rooster and don’t want more, but always try to find forever homes for my cockerels, since I don’t eat them.
A few years ago things were humming along smoothly. I made a bit of cash selling eating and hatching eggs, and birds. Folks want to know how much someone might make from a small flock: 2018 was my best year when I made $4000 (before expenses). Admittedly, I worked hard to market my products and was pleased to see a long line for my hatching eggs and a waitlist for the limited number of birds I hatched.
My main means of advertising was on Facebook. Although I’d started to hear rumblings in 2017 that it was starting to pull live animal sales and rehoming posts, at that point I was unaffected. That all came crashing to a halt when they stepped up their enforcement of their policy in 2019. Posts were getting pulled and farm groups were being shut down, without warning.
Their crackdown went to ridiculous lengths: I think their automated algorithm was programmed to spot terms like ‘sale’, ‘$’ and words relating to animals. That meant many unsuspecting, and innocent, folks like me were caught in their net. I had a number of ads that were blocked and received warnings that I had broken their ‘community standards’. You’d think I was selling material suitable for the dark web by they way they responded. What were my crimes? Selling a ‘vintage stuffed toy dog’, a dog crate (with my dog in the photo for scale), a couch (with my cat sitting on it). Other folks had posts pulled that related to ‘horse blanket’, ‘dog bed’ or ‘cat toys’. Sellers try to circumvent the rules by used oblique terms like ‘up for discussion’, ‘future alarm clock’ or ‘future egg layer’, but sometimes even those ads are flagged.
Then I had an ad pulled for a ‘stethoscope’ (deemed medical equipment) and Ivermectin (considered illegal drugs). The latter is an over-the-counter product used to treat worms and mites. My first infraction resulted in a 24-hour block of my account. I appealed and they admitted their error so I was quite surprised when my second infraction for the same ‘crime’ resulted in a three day block. Again I appealed, they said ‘oops, sorry’ (in a roundabout way) so I assumed my record would be wiped clean. Nope, I commented about having Ivermectin I could sell to a fellow chicken keeper and that landed me in the clink for a full week. Again, I appealed (once the block was lifted) and won, but my next misdemeanor will result in a 30-day block from Facebook. Needless to say I took their incompetence seriously and have made sure never to post anything that might be misconstrued as an offense.
That policy, which I assume was intended to curb puppy and kitten mills, has had serious implications for farmers and small flock keepers. My main means of trying to find homes for my birds has shut down completely. Where once I was able to find homes for all my cockerels, and even help other chicken keepers with theirs, has now resulted in some boys ending up in the soup pot. I’ve curtailed the number of chicks I hatch (with broody hens) knowing that rehoming cockerels and advertising pullets will be difficult.
Even when I posted ads on Facebook I also used local online platforms that accepted sales of livestock, such as Craigslist and Kijiji. I spent considerable time crafting what I thought of as snappy Tinder ads, complete with good photos, to catch potential buyers’ eyes. I pounded out a number of them, each specific to hatching eggs, hens or cockerels and started to gain a bit of a following.
Here are excepts from five of my ads looking to rehome cockerels, followed by readers’ feedback.
This is Steve, a funky looking boy looking to grace your homestead with his striking looks, witty conversation and combo of spectacular genetics (he’s a Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben x). He promises to keep you entertained with his barnyard antics and contribute to the elevation of your avian gene pool.
He was hatched by an elementary school class May 1st (read: handled by little kids all day, every day for two weeks), then returned to my farm where he’s been having fun with his hatchmates and the other grow-outs.
I’ve got one rooster (his dad) and would like to move him along. He hasn’t crowed yet, is very friendly, eats out of my hand and if he’s anything like his forebears (I’ve hatched four generations of his relatives) he’ll be a gentle, relatively quiet roo.
These groups are full of folks looking to rehome cockerels in all forms and breeds. There are lots of heartfelt pleas to save their favourite chick – the one they bought as a Georgina that’s now turned out to be a George – from the soup pot. Invariably they are beautiful boys, some even with purebred pedigrees. Day after day these boys appear on adoption parades seeking homes with loving families.
It’s clear that if you want a snazzy cockerel they are a dime a dozen (I’ve even got a few of my own looking for new digs). But how often do you see something just a bit different? Interested in more than just yard art? Something that will make you warm & fuzzy for having saved him from the axe? Well, I’ve got a deal for you.
Eric is not a shining example of male beauty but in time his true plumage will emerge. He’s my first chick with a crossbeak; so mild I didn’t notice it until recently. He’s managed just fine and will continue to do so. He’s not so symmetrical to be viewed as conventionally handsome, but his wonky beak does make him endearing.
Why settle for Brad Pitt when you could have Lyle Lovett instead? Don’t be so superficial – look beneath his slightly flawed exterior to the sweet guy he is.
If you can offer him a forever home that would make both of us happy (especially him).
Four brothers from Alpha Chi Ken fraternity are looking to hook up with some cute sorority chicks. These guys all share the same dad – an Appenzeller Spitzhauben/Polish/Easter Egger x. Their mothers are mostly the same cross.
One of them is frizzled; at least two of them carry the blue egg gene, including the barred guy who is half Crested Cream Legbar. They are not interested in travel; your Clucka Clucka Pi sorority house must be local.
PM me expressing your interest – as per FB rules, do NOT post here. The only comments allowed are posts to say how spectacularly handsome they are.
Looking for some eye candy to spruce up your flock?
Something that both dazzles the eye and challenges your linguistic skills?
What do I mean by that? This striking cockerel is covered in polka dots and has a tongue twister of a breed name to boot: Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben.
Well, really he’s a cross: dad is Striking Simon (SS Appenzeller x SL Polish) and his mum is an Easter Egger (he came from a blue egg). He combines the Appenzeller colours and crest with the muffs of his Ameraucana ancestors. He’s got the green legs of an EE and might carry the blue egg gene.
YSC (young, single cock) tall, dark & handsome seeking polyamorous relationship with as many chicks as possible. I’m open-minded like my dad: he likes them big and small, fancy and plain, purebred and barnyard mix. We’re more about the experience than the window dressing.
I, on the other hand, am a bit of a looker but I try not to let it go to my head. I’m also a cockerel of substance. I like meditation, contemplating life’s mysteries and our place in the grand scheme of things. I’m into fitness and keep my body trim by doing laps around the yard and watching my diet.
I enjoy long walks, foraging, rolling in the dirt, preening, sunbathing, & chillin’ in the grass with my peeps.
I’m looking for some sweet hens who’d like to share furtive looks over the water trough, appreciate being brought treats and cavorting with a young ‘un who can show her a good time. I’m not much of a dancer yet, and haven’t started to crow, but I’m confident given time I will do you proud.
I come from superior genetics and am looking to start a family some day. My dad, Simon, comes from a long line of stunners. His great-granddad was a Silver Laced Polish. His mother is a Silver Spangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben. Thrown into the mix are Easter Egger genes. Granddad Thomas came from an olive egg.
I am mixed race and do both bloodlines proud. I’ve got the funky crest of both my Polish (who are actually from The Netherlands, not Poland) and Appenzeller Spitzhauben (who are Swiss) relatives. I’m sporting the muffs and beard of my Ameraucana ancestors. The crest and muffs are dominant genes so our littles will probably end up with them too.
If you think you’d like me to join your flock (not soup pot), then shoot my owner an email to set up an intro date. If our owners think we’re a good match I’d be happy to head your harem.
I just have to say – I love your post. I feel like I just read a Tinder profile for a rooster. Hoping he finds a great home that loves him as much as you obviously do.
I’m going to end up bringing home another rooster if you keep these ads up.
You had me at tall dark and handsome. You, my friend, are as funny as he is. Nicely done.
I laughed out loud at your wonderful ad! You should run a dating service.
I have to say that was the best sales pitch I have ever read. It was great! Love it!
I just love your posts! I would dearly love to take any of the roos you’ve had posted – the handsome ones and the Lyle Lovett – just because of the way you describe them. Sadly I’m in the city, so no roos allowed.
If you are not a writer you should start. You would make a fortune writing ads for singles on dating websites. Thanks, I enjoyed the read.
We’re not raising chickens, but I have to say your ad was amazing! My husband and I had a good laugh. Good luck Mr. Cockerel getting your own true harem.
Howdy, my wife was making salad while I perused the various ads when I happened upon yours. Woohoo! I had a blast turning on my “radio announcer” voice and reading your ad out loud to her. Good fun. We don’t have chickens but if we ever decide to we will certainly come to you first. Thanks for a fun, entertaining read.
All kidding aside, I think I’ve demonstrated if you need to rehome your superfluous boys put a little bit of thought and energy into marketing them. I’m happy to say that most of the boys featured found forever homes; sadly, Eric met his demise when he fell prey to a hawk.
All photos Bitchin’ Chickens. Featured illustration: Sholto Walker