Cock­erel ‘dance’ is an over­ture to hens

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

Q I re­cently bought a young cock­erel to go with my flock of five Light Sus­sex pul­lets. When he gets close to the hens the cock­erel does this odd bit of be­haviour — he ex­tends one wing down to his feet and scut­tles side­ways a few steps to­wards the hen, mak­ing an odd groan­ing noise as he does it. The hens don’t know what to make of it and nei­ther do I. Is this be­haviour nor­mal and, if so, what does it mean?

A Michelle Dunn says: Good news — not only is this be­haviour en­tirely nor­mal, it means that your cock­erel is a nicely brought up young man with good man­ners. A cock­erel has two ways of mat­ing with hens. He ei­ther takes a run up and launches straight in, or he asks nicely. This bit of be­haviour you have de­scribed is known as the ‘courtship dance’ and is the cock­erel equiv­a­lent of din­ner and flow­ers. He drops one wing down and cir­cles the hen, of­ten hop­ping slightly on one leg. If she is will­ing, she will crouch down and in­vite him aboard. If not, she will run away. Your new cock­erel is mak­ing po­lite over­tures to your hens and it sounds as though he will be an as­set to your flock.

The cock­erel may hop on one leg dur­ing his courtship rou­tine

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