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Unexpected cockerel - advice please!

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Hi there

I recently bought three pekin bantam growers for my eglu go up. We all thought they were hens until 'Pam' started to develop and is now very clearly a cockerel and is crowing daily. 

While the seller is happy to refund/replace they cannot guarantee they will be able to keep him long term. So I am debating whether to keep the cockerel or rehome (long term). 

To keep him I am aware that we will need to factor in the crowing (not ideal, especially as the coop is next to our home office!) and his size and potential aggression. But my key question is about the welfare of the two hens - is anyone knowledgeable on if this is enough hens to keep with a cockerel as I have read they can suffer from.... errr.... over interest from a cockerel. I let them out daily to free range but I am keen to avoid keeping more than three chickens in the coop given the size.

Also welcome any other factors I should be aware of would be helpful. Also any advice on rehoming also welcome.


thank you for your help, I am in a bit of a dilemma and really appreciate kind advice.



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Well there are some pekin keepers on here so they may be able to give you some breed specific advice, but in general it is not unusual to keep a trio for breeding purposes, although typically the male would be penned separately after the season to give the hens a rest.  However, CT is quite right in that probably it will be down to the individual bird as to whether a trio is a good idea in practice.  As well as hen welfare,I would have thought the biggest potential problem is going to be neighbours and noise, cockerels are very divisive and they tend to crow very early in the morning as soon as there is some light, and some keep going on and off all day long. 

Overall, there is a very good chance you will find it hard to rehome him I'm afraid, as there are always more pekin males around than homes looking for a boy.  If you can rehome him with the breeder, accepting that may not be forever, then you are luckier than most people who won't have that option. On the other hand, if you and your neighbours are OK with the noise, then having a male does add a lot of enjoyment to chicken keeping, you observe a lot more behaviours amongst the birds.  I guess if you kept him and had a Plan B to get a larger house if you felt he needed more hens, then that might be a way forward, although if that wasn't practical, then I might take him back and settle for 3 hens at the moment which is still very rewarding, as they are still very young.

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We inherited a Pekin boy and he was lovely natured but they are all very different I think. He used to sit in the house with the girls to keep them company when egg laying and was never aggressive towards them or me. He was quite vocal but it was quieter and higher pitched than the full sized cockerel I had previously - I think the noise bothered me more than the neighbours which is why I never got another, I was fed up of being woken up a 4am!

I had six girls at the time and they were full sized so he did struggle a bit with their size but he didn't bother them too much. If the noise is ok, are you able to see how it goes for the next 2-3 months and decide whether it will work out with your numbers?

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Worth considering is the difficulty introducing a single hen as a replacement; extremely problematic and my advice would be not to attempt it. A refund, if you take that route, is the best option. Our neighbour 200 metres away has a Dutch Bantam cock has a high pitched crow that wakes me up at 3.30am, whereas our two very large cocks don't start crowing in reply until 7.00am. It is very much 'luck of the draw' with the noise aspect. We have no background noise here to mask any crowing whereas in England the traffic noise was louder than the cockerels, so they went unnoticed (to have a conversation outside you had to shout).

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I  have a few different opinions so as you can see there probably isn’t one right answer.

If it was me I think I’d just wait and see how things play out. I wouldn’t worry about the size or aggression (unless you have small children in which case I have known a pekin be a problem). 

If you have any nearby neighbours you may need to see how they feel about the crowing.

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