More senior hens can be vulnerable to harassment from toy boys
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