We’ve had a Situation in the hen run. It’s been developing for weeks but it finally came to a head a couple of days ago. The problem is one which everybody who hatches out some darling little fluffy chicks will know well: 50% of them (give or take) will be hens – egg layers, cluckers, dawdlers. And 50% will be cockerels – strutters, crowers, and (if necessary) fighters.
After a few trials and tribulations, we have ended up with 3 cockerels. Wenceslas, who is a pacifist, and obsessive dustbather. He never shows interest in the ladies, though the fact that most of this year’s chicks look exactly like him means that midnight bedroom creeping must go on. Then there’s Pavlova, who was brought in as a stud cockerel when the hens kept laughing at Wenceslas. Pavlova is a white pekin, magnificent, snowy-white (except for the muddy bits) and posturing. He’s got an understanding with Wenceslas, and stands in one corner of the hen run waving his flags and yelling while Wenceslas is deep inside his favourite dustbath far away, presumably crooning love songs to his ladies under his breath.
And then (this is the interesting bit) there is Moomin. He is a lavender pekin, and was given as a present with little blue Mymble, another pekin. He arrived very young and was meant to be a little girl pekin. Only he isn’t, he’s all Boy. He ignores Wenceslas completely but has started to hang around Pavlova making abusive and personal remarks. Pavlova tried rising above it, but when Moomin asked him for the 16th time who he thought he was looking at, Grandad, Pavlova couldn’t bear it any longer and went for the jugular. Moomin put aside his virtual hoodie and Converse trainers and went right back at him, hammer and tongs.
So now everybody (except Wenceslas, who is keeping a low, low profile) is upset. The hens are upset because they don’t like fighting. With the possible exception of Dolly who seemed to be holding the chaps’ coats while they plugged each other and cheering them on – that girl will go far. Pavlova and Moomin are separated and upset and are yelling obscenities at each other from their respective pens. And I like the hens to be happy, and unhappy hens don’t lay eggs.
So when a friend mentioned that the livery yard she keeps her horse at are looking for a bantam cockerel to live there with 3 new wives and provide the stabled horses with something to look at, I got my bid in quick. But which shall it be? The jury is out, but I’ll have to make my mind up asp …