|Great Cockerel but too big and loud.|
The Trouble with Hens
We acquired eight hens three years back. The eight became seven when one sadly passed away. However, we are fond of our hens and they lay eggs daily except when going through a seasonal moult. We have four ducks too, one of which is a drake. The ducks lay eggs too.
They all used to live in the chicken coup together, but one of the hens became a very dominant matriarch and took a dislike to Polo, the white Aylesbury drake. The matriarch started to henpeck him and then all the other hens followed suit and ganged up on the drake.
It was obvious that the drake was getting traumatised and we had to take him out of the coup with the female ducks and build a new compound for the duck house in the other corner of our garden. We also allowed the ducks free range to wander the garden. Within days, Polo was more relaxed and feeling so much better.
For a while, all went well and the problem with the ducks was solved and remains so to this day. However, the matriarch hen then took a dislike to one of the hens. Again, she started henpecking and the followers joined in. We had to remove one chicken coup and put it in the duck compound. The victimised chicken now wanders the garden with the ducks. She is fine and seems happy.
Who will the matriarch hen start on next? If we get rid of her, will another hen take up the position in her stead? I sometimes joke with my wife. Those chickens have a plan of a great escape, like in the Chicken Run movie. They are henpecking a way out for the big get out one day.
As we came out of our local supermarket, there was a man collecting for an animal charity centre for rehoming animals. We decided to donate and he gave us brochures of the sanctuary close by near Huntingdon. A few days later we decided to pay a visit.
As we wandered around we saw some smashing cockerels. Carole told me that with one such bird in the coop, the hens would become easier to manage and the matriarch would be put in her place. It was a wonderful notion but these grand cockerels were just too loud with the 'cockle doodle doing.'
I loved it, but I'm sure some of my neighbours would be rather angry at being woken up at the crack of dawn. I get up at that time anyway, but the rest of the road would not like it.
Our house is semi-rural and there is farm field across the roads to us. We do have neighbours either side, however, and it would not be fair to keep such a load cockerel.
|Dusty could be the man we're looking for.|
Then my heart leapt at the sight of a little Bantam cockerel. A small breed of chicken. He was in the coup with Rhode Island Red hens who dwarfed him. I was surprised by this and spoke with the volunteer who was attending the chicken coups. She said he was a surly little fellow who was the boss. He stood his ground with all the rescued hens and brought harmony among them. He was no different to the big cockerels and was good with his cockle doodle doing too.
He still did the morning call but his noise was not half as bad or loud as the bigger cockerels. We spoke to the lady about our hens and the matriarch and she said, if we wanted, we could give him a trial period.
We are now in the process of trying to adopt Dusty, the little Bantam cockerel with small man syndrome. We hope he will put his manly ways to good use with our hens and their matriarchal boss. He is short with wonderful long hair that goes over his feet like black spats. Let's hope he makes the matriarch know that he wears the spats.