More se­nior hens can be vul­ner­a­ble to ha­rass­ment from toy boys

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

Q I have a flock of 12 free-range chick­ens that roam in my large garden dur­ing the day. Last year, one of my hens hatched out a brood of five chicks. Two of the chicks turned out to be hens and three are cock­erels. They are all fully grown now, but I am wor­ried about one of my old hens. The young cock­erels used to stay in a group with their two sis­ters, but now they are chas­ing and ha­rass­ing my older hen who is re­ally suf­fer­ing from their un­wanted at­ten­tions. It has re­sulted in her not want­ing to come in at night. Should I keep her in a coop on her own? A Michelle Dunn says: As the days get longer, cock­erels are look­ing to mate. Your cock­erels have prob­a­bly found that the younger hens are too fast for them, but the older one can’t run as fast as they can. Un­for­tu­nately, the three young cock­erels will all be com­pet­ing with each other and they are likely to in­jure your hen as they catch her and try to mate with her. Don’t put her in a coop on her own, though, as she is a free range bird and would be ex­tremely un­happy liv­ing like this. I’m afraid to re­store peace you will have to get rid of at least two of your cock­erels. It seems a shame to lose these beau­ti­ful birds, but it’s the only way to en­sure that your older hens have a good qual­ity of life.

To re­store peace it is some­times nec­es­sary to get rid of cock­erels

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