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Author Topic: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS  (Read 6693 times)

ramblerskitchen

  • Joined Nov 2010
LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« on: May 26, 2011, 12:17:22 pm »
Hello, I currently have 20 ex battery hens and am about to obtain 15 more layers (not ex battery).  They are kept in a 300m2 enclosure and I have 2 large poultry houses in the enclosure.  I have been advised to bring in a cockerel to keep them in check?   Is one cockerel going to be enough with 35 hens?  do I have to worry about fertile eggs and not being able to sell my eggs?  This has probably already been covered elsewhere but I am unable to find a post.  Many thanks

cairnhill

  • Joined Dec 2008
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 12:40:02 pm »
If your hens are in a safe enclosure I wouldn't see the need for a cockerel.  Only would suggest a cockerel if free ranging.  Also I think I read somewhere that you are not supposed to "sell" fertile eggs but it seems like nonesense to me. 

Roxy

  • Joined May 2009
  • Peak District
    • festivalcarriages.co.uk
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 02:32:55 pm »
My friend had 6 hens free range, and they would roam off down to the old peoples bungalows down the lane, causng havoc in the gardens.  I gave him a cockerel, and they never went travelling again :)

If you do not want to hatch chicks, and the ex batts will not go broody anyway, then I would not bother with a cockerel - you have no need for one, as they are not able to ramble off.  If you bring in two cockerels who do not know each other, there would be a bloodbath!

I have a large free range flock, and lots of cockerels, and sell the eggs.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 03:07:40 pm »
When I first moved up here I was farming with a female friend.  She had a teenage daughter, so there were just us 3 women on the farm.  Various friends came to help with the move and early days, and it just so happened that all but one were female.  (And the one 'he' was gay, as it happens!)

My farming partner had worked up here in her younger days, so still had some contacts here, one of whom was a now retired farmer.  His nephew, a bachelor and also a farmer, decided to 'take us under his wing' and was tremendously helpful as we found our feet and learned to handle the moorland farm and its hefted flock.

He was visiting one day when the hens had got into the garden and we were shooing them out.  "You'll need a cockerel to look after them", he said.  "They don't need a cockerel!  We don't want to rear any chicks, a cock will just boss them about, bother them with his attentions - and spurs.  They're perfectly happy and safe without a cockerel."  He looked very crestfallen, I never really understood why at the time.

You may have guessed that the nephew is now referred to on here as 'BH'...  no wonder he was disappointed at the vehemence with which the (unknowing and unwitting) object of his affections declared that females needed no male to marshall them and were better off without them!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

little blue

  • Joined Jun 2009
  • Derbyshire
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 08:13:50 pm »
Sally, love your story .... and how true! ;)
Little Blue

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 09:16:52 pm »
If your hens are in a safe enclosure I wouldn't see the need for a cockerel.  Only would suggest a cockerel if free ranging.  Also I think I read somewhere that you are not supposed to "sell" fertile eggs but it seems like nonesense to me. 

According to the last time I read the Defra regs (don't they keep changing them all the time, and their website is worse to find anything on that Waitrose's ;D)  Fertile eggs can be sold as long as they do not have discernable development, and of course you comply with all the other requirements.

All the best
Sue

PS cockerels will sometimes (but not always) step in to sort out quarrels between hens, but unless you intend to breed it probably isn't really worth it, as if a hen goes broody you always risk some of the eggs being kept warm for too long and development starting.  Plus they will crow before daylight - everyone thinks dawn is when cockerels crow, but in fact "cock-crow" is sometime before dawn.
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 01:06:01 am »
Plus they will crow before daylight - everyone thinks dawn is when cockerels crow, but in fact "cock-crow" is sometime before dawn.

In my experience, 'cock-crow' is when the boy thinks it's time he can get him and his girls some food.  In our case, that means whenever he hears my footsteps heading shed-wards across the stackyard...  be it first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night off to check a lamber or a calver...  Luckily we haven't any nearby neighbours and the pig has learned that the cock is over-optimistic, otherwise we'd have her cacophony as well.   ::)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Henstock

  • Joined Jun 2010
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 06:47:39 am »
We always recommend a cockerel to people having hens off us if they are in an area where they can have one!
He will keep the girls together, safe, warning them of danger, and finding them tasty titbits, he will also keep them in order, and who wouldn't want a proud, colourful cockerel strutting around!!!
Ex-bats DO go broody, it is highly infrequent but not impossible, in fact I have one sitting 10 eggs right now!!
It is legal to sell fertilised eggs and cockerels crow at all times of the day and night!!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 09:23:13 am »
... finding them tasty titbits ...

Current boy keeps all the best food for himself, attacking any of his girls who come within range!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 09:29:05 am »
Like all males, you get the caring and unsefish ones and you get the b#####ds. At least with a cockerel you can wring his neck and eat him ;)

northfifeduckling

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Fife
    • North Fife Blog
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 02:21:12 pm »
I am very happy that our pet chicken turned out to be a boy, although he's bl.... noisy! He cares for his girls and is very watchful. And unlike my neighbour I've not lost any of them yet, fingers crossed  :chook: :&>

helskitchen

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Near Huntingdon
Re: LAYING HENS AND COCKERELS
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 09:32:03 pm »
We have one enclosure with just hens and another with hens and a cockerel.  Rooney (named by my son) is lovely, he struts around like he owns the place, looks after the hens and when he takes food out of my hand he then goes and gives it to the whichever hen takes his fancy at the time.  When visitors come he shouts until they are all gathered round him and then stands in front of the gate so strangers can't get in.  We have 18 ex-egg farm hens (not batts) and occasionally they have a go and sitting, but then they get bored and wander off - no chicks as yet!!

 

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