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Been offered a cockerel and a bantam hen with shed etc for free

(35 Posts)
racmac Thu 05-Nov-09 14:12:14

Anyone think good idea? The hen apparently lays very small eggs but they come with shed etc - owner just wants rid.

We have the room

We also have a Jack Russell puppy?

What do Cockerels do! Do they make lots of noise and will they annoy the neighbours?

Any advice/suggestions?

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 14:15:52

It really depends on where you live. All cockerels crow, some louder than others. In the summer, he will start crowing as early as 4am. Why does the owner want rid? There are often restrictions on keeping cockerels in suburban areas. I have 7 bantam hens, and would love a cockerel, but I live on a new estate, so it's out of the question. Oh, and one cockerel to one hen is not a good ratio. On average, a cockerel needs 7-8 hens in a flock, otherwise the girls get stressed and can be injured. A fertile cockerel is, er, rampant.

racmac Thu 05-Nov-09 14:21:11

We live in a village but we do have a few nieghbours near by - we have just moved in.

Not sure why he wants rid.

We were thinking of getting some more hens

Can cockerels be viscious (sp) i have 3 young children

Im tempted to say wed have the hen and shed but not cockerel but hate the thought of anything nasty happening to the cock

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 14:23:20

Cockerels can be vicious, it all depends on the individual bird. Some are lovely, gentle chaps, but some are very fierce. Do you know what breed he is? And how old he is? How close are your neighbours? Oh, and how big is your garden?

racmac Thu 05-Nov-09 14:27:04

We have neighbours about 30-50 metres away from the garden where they would be kept.

Our garden spans round the house and is probable an acre in total

He is an English Pheasant Fowl cockerel - 12 months old

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 14:35:00

Well, you certainly have room! grin Have you seen him? You should be able to get a rough idea of his temperament if you can get close to him. At 12 months, he's mature enough for his true nature to come through. Some people shut their cockerels away in a 'cockerel box' in a shed until a reasonable hour, so at least the crowing is kept to sociable hours. Can you hear any cockerels where you are? It might be a good indication of how tolerant your neighbours would be. Personally, I love the sound of a crowing bird, but some people loathe it. Before I got my birds, I did call around to my nearest neighbours and inform them, just to gauge their reaction. They were intrigued, and I've had no problems (I do have a very noisy/bossy madam, who bok's a lot hmm)

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 14:38:38

Just looked him up, and he is a very handsome breed envy Old English Phaesant Fowl are also classed as a rare breed, so if you were to hatch chicks you'd be doing your bit to preserve the breed....wink Can you guess what I'd love to do? grin

racmac Thu 05-Nov-09 14:43:43

Where are you - you can come visit!

I dont know anything about keeping chucks so any advice would be great.

Any good books that give the basics to a beginner

There are no chucks round here that i have heard

Hatching chicks sounds like lots of work but great fun for kids

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 14:52:11

Have you been on the Omlet website? It's very good for basic info (although they push their own products pretty forcefully) and I use it quite a bit (less so now that I've been doing it a while, but it was invaluable at the beginning!) There are loads of books out there, but tbh you can get better info online. I adore my girls, they are great characters and quite comical. I have to say, if I was in your situation I would take the cockerel, but make sure that he was kept quiet until 8/9 am. That way, you're much less likely to get complaints. It might be a good thing that there are no other cock's about, as he's less likely to be crowing 'come over 'ere if you think you're 'ard enough!' all day long. I'd go and visit him, see how friendly he is

ABetaDad Thu 05-Nov-09 14:59:32

I got landed with a cockerel and 4 hens and a shed for 'free' recently. The hens lay like machines but the cockerel is noisy and wants to kill me. He also eats a lot and is totally unproductive.

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 15:07:11

Did you ever find out what breed he is, ABetaDad?

ABetaDad Thu 05-Nov-09 15:30:01

He is an Indian Asil.

He looks exactly like this (scroll down to see the big picture at the bottom of the screen).

The mangey looking feathers are bare skin are typical of the breed. Apparently they are the most vicious fighting cockerels in the world and will not stop until dead. He of course is not used for that purpose. He just lives in my garden crowing in a typical Asil 'four short burst' way at 5.30 a.m. hmm

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 15:37:25

Eek! He looks quite...scary <gulp> I keep fluffy footed pekins and hairy silkies, so he's quite a contrast grin How do you handle him?

nickelbang Thu 05-Nov-09 15:42:12

If you want to take them on.
tell the neighbours first what your plan is and ask them if they would be okay with it.

cocks tend to hate the male of the family as they see him as competition (sorry abetadad: yes, the chicken thinks you're after his bird! grin)

they can be noisy though (even bantams)

you are best advised to have more than 2 hens per cock or they'll get sore backs.
(if you take them on, get at least 2 others as extras)
you'll lvoe getting the eggs, but don't forget if they live with the cock, the eggs will be fertilized and therefore not suitable for vegetarians.

go for it, though! chickens are great!

nickelbang Thu 05-Nov-09 15:42:51

(ps, if you don't want to breed you could always have the cock for dinner...)

racmac Thu 05-Nov-09 15:52:26

Thanks for all your advice - what about the dog? How are they likely to get on - will they get on?

Id like to leave the chucks to wander freely round the house but bit concerned that dog will try to eat them. Would cockerel keep dog in order? or should i just keep them completely separate

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 15:55:56

It really depends on the dog. I know some people who keep hens and a daog and have no problems, but I also know people who's dogs would kill the hens if it could get at them. It might be an idea to expect them to have to be kept seperate, and introduce dog to hens on a lead and see how it reacts. Chickens can be fairly brave, and my girls will chase any cat that gets into the garden, so it's possible that a few sharp pecks on the nose will put your doog off of going anywhere near. Better safe than sorry, though. On the plus side, having a dog will help with the fox issue.

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 15:56:24

Doog?! Dog, obviously wink

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 15:59:43

Here, this is a link to my blog which might give you some insight into hen keeping grin madchickenlady.blogspot.com/

cakeywakeywhizzbangmakey Thu 05-Nov-09 16:04:40

I second nickelbang in checking with the neighbours first, as cockerels can be a noise nuisance.

Depending on the type of area you live (built-up vs in the sticks) and how noisy your cockerel is, you could find yourself being slapped with a noise abatement notice if your neighbours complain to your local environmental health department further down the line.

Sorry to be a killjoy. Chickens sound very exciting!

ABetaDad Thu 05-Nov-09 17:57:57

Chickenshavenolips - how do I handle him?

Well when he attacks he really hurts its just repeated lightning fast strikes with beak-spurs-claws-breast bone. He has armoured feathers and he does not stop. Its like being hit by someone throwing stones from close range.

However, I have discovered he is frightened of the sweeping brush. I never hit him but he is terrified of it when I sweep it towards him along the floor. He runs away.

He is definitely jealous of me with his hens. When I leave the run and close the gate he always crows at the top of his voice and does a sort of victory dance. grin

Chickenshavenolips Thu 05-Nov-09 18:00:30

grin You have discovered his nemesis! I bet he has a well 'ard name wink

BCNSback Thu 05-Nov-09 18:09:45

Don't get a cockrel if your neighbours might object or if you don't want to breed.

they don't just crow in the morning.. they will happily tell you if anyone is about.. or just for the shear hell of it IME.

Ours will happily attack your legs and protect his girls ( which is his job), and it hurts! on the other hand he cuddles up to you if he's in a good mood biscuit.

dog is fine with the chooks.. has tried to flush them a couple of times (she's a sringer cocker cross and works) but the chooks soon put her in her place.

@ abetadad ... that is a very scary looking cock!

ABetaDad Thu 05-Nov-09 18:28:41

Chickenshavenolips - well I have 'called' him quite a few things over the 3 months I have had him but not formally named yet. grin

Actually while I have you and all the chicken experts here I wanted to ask a question that may well be relevant to the OP.

Your fluffy footed pekins and hairy silkies are fantastic birds but how do you keep them clean and dry in wet weather?

I am worried about our hens and cockerel as they have been in the same pen (7 m x 5m) about 18 - 4 months. They came with the house we rented (I am just looking after them) and although they look healthy the pen is just soil and stones and poo and not very nice.

I do let them out on the lawn but just fear their pen is really unhealthy. Am I worrying unecessarily?

ABetaDad Thu 05-Nov-09 18:29:38

That is "18 - 24 months".

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