Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Too many cockerels

The cockerel situation now needs resolving.

The now-not-so-Littlee cockerels are, presumably, reaching sexual maturity,  as there is there is a lot of stuff going on.  Some of it is serious: Flint, understandably,  is getting more aggressive;   this is mostly manageable, but sometimes he's a little s*d.  Yesterday evening, DH was crouching down offering corn from a pot.  Even Flint came to take some, but then he seemed to suddenly realise what he was doing, and he attacked DH.  DH wasn't ready for it, and actually fell over from his crouching position.  Flint had torn through DH's leather glove,  and DH's hand is really swollen and bruised.

Some of it is actually quite comical: Norman the Orphan has started to copy his dad.  He's still very small,  but he's now trying to fluff up and be the big "I am".  When he does it to the other chickens, they  just peck him on the head. and that stops it.  When he does it to DH, it's usually accompanied by an attempt at a HongKong Phooey chop. DH just scoops Norm up, which puts an end to that.

So, it's obviously time to separate and/or cull the cockerels,  and we've been trying to decide what to do for the best.  We want one cockerel for breeding, that's all.

After a lot of discussion, we've decided that Flint needs to be removed from the equation.  The reason for this is that he is related to Mrs Flint,  and he is the father of all our brown dorkings.     Blue,  the biggest of the silver dorkings, and the one we know is a cockerel,  is not related at all to Mrs Flint of the brown dorkings.  At worst, he may be brother to the other 2 silver dorkings (which may or may not be female),  and so from a breeding point of view,  it's probably best to keep him rather than Flint.

The good news for Flint is that he will not end up in the pot.  A neighbouring farmer, who keeps chickens,  is looking to replace his cockerel,  and has asked if he can have Flint (I'm sure he would have been equally happy to  take  Blue instead,  but we'd already worked out what was best for us rom a new-blood point of view).

We also considered what to do with Mrs Flint.  Would she be "happier" staying with us (without Flint), or would she be "happier" going with him.   In the end, we felt she would be better off staying.  She's used to us,  she will take food from our hands now,  she knows all the other chooks, and she's used to the henhouse.  If we moved her, although she would still have Flint, she'd have to contend with an established flock of girls, a new house,  new feeding regime, etc.

And we're going to introduce ALL the changes in one go,  as I think overall that will be less stress for the chooks (rather than having a series of changes).

So, the Plan that, on D Day:
  • Flint is removed from his paddock and taken to his new home
  • We immediately separate the currently-combined paddocks into two
  • Blue,  Mrs Flint, and all those chooks we believe to be female will be in one pen, with the proper henhouse (the old Flint residence)
  • Norman and the other chooks we believe to be boys will be in the other pen, with the shed house (the old Littlee residence).
This means that Blue and his harem can sort themselves out and establish some sort of order;   and the Boys can continue to have a happy, free range life until they are ready to be culled.








2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great plan. I for sure wouldn't keep any rooster (or hen) who was aggressive or bossy, especially one who caused an injury. I want everyone to live in peace. Hope your DH hand is much better.

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  2. Thanks Callie. His hand is better, the swelling has gone down, but it's still sore from the puncture wounds. We (well, I) don't blame Flint; like I said before, I can understand why he's getting so antsy. I'm much happier knowing he's going to a new home rather than in the pot!

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