Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The world keeps turning

I don't like not having a cockerel with the Allotmenteers.  There are a lot of them, all different ages,  and they need keeping in check.   A good cockerel looks out for his Ladies,  keeps watch for predators,  and stops any bullying.  There is still a hen pecking order, but the cockerel will usually stop it getting out of claw.

Camilla, number 11 out of 12 in the pecking order,  had been sticking close to Henry for some weeks,  and was right by his side for the last couple of days.  I'm worried that she'll get more pecked on than usual.  Souxsie Sioux, our smallest and oldest chook is number 12, and I think she'll suffer a bit too.

This time of year there are quite a lot of cockerels available, mant free to good home.   I thought about what I wanted:    a dual purpose breedd;  one that had been well handled; and a cockerel that had a chance of being good with us.     Oh, and something quickly.

 I did a local search, and found a lot of bantam cockerels, and cockerels from egg laying breeds.  Not so many dual purpose boys.    I then found an ad for a Vorwerk boy, 9 weeks old.   What a fab idea!  We could bring him home to the garden for a few weeks (until he started to crow), and we could get him used to us and used to being handled.  Perfect.

We retrieved the spare coop, which was a bit of a feat since DH has only one working arm at the mo.   We set it up, and I drove off to collect the lucky chap.    He's a little cutie pops.   We set him up in sight of the Garden Girls so he wouldn't feel too lonely.   Gloria escaped, and took an instant dislike to the interloper, and tried to peck him. 

As I watched him, I realised that he was going to have to be about 18 weeks old before I could try introducing him to the Girls at the allotment,  and 9 weeks was a long time for him to be "on his own".     I set about investigating getting a couple of similarly aged girls to grow on with him.

That was also harder than I expected.  I wanted to source locally,  I wanted something the right age,  and this time I wanted egg layers not dual purpose.   Once again, I found plenty of bantams.   I also found birds I didn't want: exchequer leghorns (I love leghorns,  but I still miss Lotti, my exchequer);  legbars (never again after that cow Milly) etc .

I found a chap who was selling 2 11 week old "legcanas" (Leghorn/Araucana cross).   I said "yes", and paid over the odds for them.  

The 3 of them are doing OK together at the moment,  I expect we'll see some jostling for position in the next few days.  That would happen even with hatchmates.

Small Person isn't here this week, and that's a shame. She would be a great asset to get them used to being handled!