Many of my hens live to a great age and attain a certain ‘you can’t touch me I’m a very old hen’ attitude. This means that they will lay an egg once a month (but only if they feel like it), will deliberately walk up to and peck any dog innocently asleep on the lawn, and will only take their dust baths in the middle of my one remaining flower bed. Cockerels, however, live life at a faster pace and don’t tend to be with us for so long. But my goodness they leave their mark behind them. Raffles, for example, had tight feathers, long legs and enormous orange eyes and left behind him a generation who were as mad a bucket of frogs, the sort of hen who would rush about screaming and shedding feathers if a slug ventured into the hen run. After Raffles came Rocky, who combined great placidity with a pair of magnificent feathery trousers. Rocky’s children all had trousers too, and if they found a slug they ate it. Other cockerels came and went, leaving behind offspring who might lay blue eggs perhaps, or only come in pastel shades. Our penultimate cockerel was a Mottled Pekin called Snork. All Snork’s chicks were born spotted as a domino and so circular in shape that you couldn’t tell front from back until they started walking. I mourned Snork sincerely when he died, he was a sweet character and (unique among his kind) never attacked anything. Here I should give a dishonourable mention to Jack the Ripper, a cockerel so violent that I had to pay danger money to anybody who agreed to hen sit when we were away on holiday. Recently I was given our current cockerel Wenceslas, a Polish Frizzle. Frizzles appear to have been stuck backwards in a wind tunnel, every feather blown inside-out, and to add to Wenceslas’ visual impact he has a magnificent pom-pom hairdo. His first chicks are now teenagers and came with outrageous feathery fascinators ‘factory fitted’. I’ve called them Beatrice and Eugenie. His second batch of chicks are promising well, and every one of them has a beehive or punk or mullet hairdo. This time round, thanks to Wenceslas, we are going for Big Hair.