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DorisandAggie

to Cockerel or not to Cockerel

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I have two lovely friendly hybrid girls who I adore and I’m tempted to rehome a cockerel...is this a good idea? I have an Eglu Classic with a walk in run.

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Do you live in a suburban or rural area? The first thing I'd consider is neighbours but also what's your reasoning for wanting one?

We hatch most years and cockerels are very noisy, sometimes crowing at 4am in summer. We had a few at home over Christmas, one which was crowing at 6am on Christmas Day, despite it still being pretty dark! :roll:

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We were given our first cockerel about 18 months ago when a neighbour hatched too many boys.  Positives - he has a lovely temperament, he's good fun too watch when he makes sure his ladies eat before he does.  Negatives - in the summer he can start crowing at 4.00 in the morning, he has 11 hybrid ladies to himself but he definitely has his favourites and 2 in particular refuse to come out of their house because he pesters them so much.  Because of this I'm not sure I'd get another as I feel quite guilty that they had peace and quiet before he arrived!  I'm sure others will have had different experiences to us though.

Edited by sarahjayne

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I can’t advise I’ll just give my recent experience. We kept a bantam araucana we hatched in June because he was a bit ‘wonky’ so we didn’t really feel we could even give him to anyone else. He was a lovely little chap - very friendly, and was just starting to get to grips with the 9 hens here. But we live in a suburban area surrounded by near neighbours, and like Lewis’ cockerels, despite it still being completely dark he was crowing at around 6am. So just before Christmas he went to live with my mum who is out in the countryside. She has 4 hybrid hens who are all much bigger than him, and much to his disappointment they pretty much just ignore all his advances 😭 but I think despite his he’s happy there with them and sees he as his girls 🤣

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Whilst rehoming a cockerel is a nice thing to do, I'm not sure your two girls will like it. It is nice to have a proper flock, but there are lots of downsides. Noise has already been mentioned and there is a real risk of injury to the hens. Coupled with the extra feed, extra mess and the effect of reducing the run size per bird I'd say don't do it.

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Much as I love cockerals, as I think they do make a flock complete as the hens express more of their natural behaviours around a male, its not something most of us can do, unless you are properly rural, because of the noise issue.   Its just not fair on neighbours, as cockerals will make a noise which is loud, piercing, carries and goes on a bit, very early in the morning as well as throughout the day.  Although some people welcome the sounds of the birds, in my experience those who object will make their objections known very strongly and can be very unpleasant.  Its a shame we don't live in France like Beantree as I understand there is/going to be a new law protecting the sounds of the countryside, brought about in part by a woman who kept a cockeral and new neighbours complained!  I live in Portugal and anybody would be laughed out of the hamlet if they tried complaining (although to be fair, there are only 8 of us).

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As someone who has always kept a cockerel as part of my flock, and in a semi-rural area, you might expect me to have a different opinion to the others, but I’d also say no.

At the moment I actually have two cockerels in a flock of 11 birds, my main boy, who we hatched in 2017, is lovely and also surprisingly quiet for the most part. We’ve never had any trouble with him and no complaints from our neighbours. BUT, our newest edition, from a hatch in 2020 is already big and loud. While currently subservient to Patrick, and generally quite timid, he has recently “come of age” and as well as being loud is now making numerous advances on the girls, who are currently unable to escape his attentions because of being restricted to our (quite big) Walk-in-Run. I’m sure we will have trouble between Patrick and Merlot come the spring, at which point Merlot will be leaving us. 

Pictures below. Merlot (the new boy) is the Black Araucana. Patrick, our resident boy, is a Pekin/Orpington cross!

Andrew

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Edited by atsw

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I am not nearly as experienced as all of the above peeps but I'd say no, too! Noise issue for sure in a suburban area. Also you only have two girls and they would probably be 'overwhelmed' by his attentions so not really fair on them.

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