When hatching eggs the harsh reality is approximately 50% of hatched chicks will be cockerels. If you are very lucky a lot less but possibly a great deal more.
If being raised for the table cockerels aren't a problem but if the hatch is from a laying strain more often than not the cockerels will be 'unwanted'. The only responsible course of action is to dispatch them humanely, quickly, without causing stress to the chicks involved or to those remaining.
This is our first year in such a situation. Before we have only raised a few chicks at a time and luckily last year only had 2 cockerels, which we raised for the table. This year however we are hatching on a slightly larger scale and are building towards raising two, possibly three good quality breeding flocks. Time, space and finance now have to come into the equation and all the cockerels hatched so far from the Welsummer birds have to go.
The Welsummer chicks are now 4+ weeks old and I am fairly confident which are cockerels. At the weekend we are planning to move the 'incubator' chicks into an outside run along with the broody's chicks. By then the cockerels will be quite distinguishable and the fate of all decided.