Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Oops I bought a cockerel ???  (Read 653 times)

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« on: October 02, 2020, 01:05:00 pm »
(sorry to the other forum member 'oops-I-bought-a-sheep)

I think I may have a a problem in my little flock. I now have 2 standard sized girls [black tail and a speckled] and recently added a young bantam cockerel [ sussex/ araucanaa cross] and 3 POL bantams (Sussex / Buff orpington).
The poor cockerel has been bottom of the flock for a while but slowly gaining in confidence amongst the 'girls'. However this morning one of my POL 'hens' reared up to him, chest bumping and neck feathers out feet forward, The POL's have produced few eggs so I do not know they are all laying.
Do 'hens' behave like this or is it a definite second cockerel. The POLs are about 18/19 weeks old

  None of the birds are crowing

cans

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 01:22:08 pm »
Photos?

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 01:26:27 pm »
I have separated them and a bit loathe to put them back to take a pic. Also not sure I have the knowhow take a pic and put it on this forum.
If I describe it as both birds stretching to the highest with their neck feathers sticking out all round, puffing their chests out and bumping and both lunging with feet forward that about sums it up. it certainly wasnt playful!
The 'POL' was seeking out the cockerel and confronting it.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 01:34:52 pm »
Hens can change sex.  I had a hen that was laying and she started acting like a cockerel, including crowing early hours and mounting the other hens. I left her a few weeks but she never laid again so she was given away.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 02:14:39 pm »
Hens can change sex.  .

Really?? Oh heck

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2020, 02:32:44 pm »
Check the vents of your POLs to see who is in lay and who isn't (pick them up after dark when they are roosting - don't stress them by trying to catch them in daylight). Cockerel vents are small and "tight". Hens in lay have larger looser openings, often pink and moist. In a bantam the pin bones (hard bony bits either side of vent) will  be about 2 fingers width apart if in lay, basically wide enough for an egg to pass between. If you have a hen that appears to not be laying then ID it with a leg ring and  continue to observe it over the next week or so. It may just be a feisty hen. Hens can happily square up to cockerels especially if the males are young and inexperienced.

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2020, 02:49:11 pm »
Thanks Richmond. That is really helpful advice.I have separated the suspect into a separate enclosure within the run so he is in sight of and 'with' the others. I will see if 'she' produces anything. Having checked with the supplier they are a little older than my original post and should be about 24 weeks old now. I will check the others over tonight. Thank you. (The cockerel is young too).

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2020, 03:38:44 pm »
Another thing you can do is to hold a piece of card or paper underneath their neck feathers. Cockerels tend to have long, thin, stiff-ish neck feathers, whereas hens have shorter, rounded and a bit softer feathers.


I don't think I'd have separated them though. We always have young cockerels running with the rest of the flock, and any fighting is usually short-lived (provided they have space to run away). We only get rid of excess cockerels once it's really obvious what sex they are.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2020, 03:51:43 pm »
I wouldn't have separated them either if it was just a 'scurmish' as you describe.


We have lots of hens that will stand up to cockerels in the way that you describe, particularly if the cockerels are young birds or of a smaller breed than they are.


The hens are just saying .... 'i don't fancy your chances!'.

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2020, 04:30:17 pm »
Hens can change sex.  I had a hen that was laying and she started acting like a cockerel, including crowing early hours and mounting the other hens. I left her a few weeks but she never laid again so she was given away.
Yes its actually quite common in older hens!
If their ovaries get damaged they might start developing more testosterone etc
They will never be fertile males but wont lay any eggs either.
Its common amongst pheasants too. They would start developing male colouring.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2020, 05:28:33 pm »
Hens can change sex.  I had a hen that was laying and she started acting like a cockerel, including crowing early hours and mounting the other hens. I left her a few weeks but she never laid again so she was given away.
Yes its actually quite common in older hens!
If their ovaries get damaged they might start developing more testosterone etc
They will never be fertile males but wont lay any eggs either.
Its common amongst pheasants too. They would start developing male colouring.
and ducks - I've had two that changed from being male to female and started laying eggs.  Had curly tales and didn't have the usual female quack.  I was about to give them away when they started laying  :roflanim:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2020, 05:47:40 pm »
Hens can change sex.  I had a hen that was laying and she started acting like a cockerel, including crowing early hours and mounting the other hens. I left her a few weeks but she never laid again so she was given away.
Yes its actually quite common in older hens!
If their ovaries get damaged they might start developing more testosterone etc
They will never be fertile males but wont lay any eggs either.
Its common amongst pheasants too. They would start developing male colouring.
and ducks - I've had two that changed from being male to female and started laying eggs.  Had curly tales and didn't have the usual female quack.  I was about to give them away when they started laying  :roflanim:
Wow! How did that happen i wonder?
I had a very aggressive hen once. I told her (literally lol) that if you behave like thisntowards other hens i eill eat you tomorrow!
What did she do next? She went broody the very next day! She was fantastic mother to ducklings that she hatched lol
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2020, 06:26:19 pm »
Sounds like your hen was just having a go at him, just like they’ll fight viciously at intruders they can have a right go at young males who are getting hormonal when the hen isn’t having any of it.


Our neighbours had an emergency yesterday and I had to move their hens in a run next to mine (not in with but immediately next to mine, safely separated behind very strong mesh), you should have seen the neck feathers and chest puffing!

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2020, 07:05:41 pm »
I will pop them together again when they are all asleep and check them as suggested.  Thanks all.

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: Oops I bought a cockerel ???
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2020, 08:16:20 pm »
Well I examined the bantam hens by torch light and they all seem to be the same (!) so all back in together.
Thanks for advice all

 

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