First Fight

Ever since all the hens and cockerels have been together in the bottom half of the garden I’ve been thinking how lovely it was that despite seven cockerels to five hens there hadn’t been any serious battles.

Until today.

It was all started by the remains of  a pot of creme fraiche. The chickens love yoghurt so I thought this might be a little treat, however, they all scrambled to get at it and a fight broke out between two of the cockerels – a real battle, not just a bit of posturing and feather fluffing, but real pecking, jumping, no holds barred combat.

Typically the other boys went off to watch, leaving the hens to polish off the cream in peace.

But I had to intervene.

Both cocks were bleeding but the one who had ‘given in’ was being chased mercilessly by the aggressor. He dashed into the chickenhouse and I shut the door before ‘topcock’ managed to follow. This also gave me the chance to grab him and put him in a pen on his own to cool off.

Later, at teatime I fed him separately but he obviously wasn’t a happy bunny so I took pity on him and let him loose.

Big mistake: he started chasing the same cockerel all over again and this time, his victim didn’t turn round to fight back – he just ran and ran.

It wasn’t so easy to catch the culprit a second time. I had to wait until the one being chased ran past me and then pounce on his attacker. Then it was back in the cooler with him!

He will have to stay there on his own unless his behaviour improves but I fear he may have started a trend.

He was obviously the leader as at bedtime the others were a bit lost without him and needed a great deal of persuasion to go into their house to bed.  Meanwhile,  he was jumping up and down and crowing in his prison.

Is this the end of a peace in chickenland?

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18 Responses to “First Fight”

  1. Pat Says:

    I know nothing but I always thought there had to be just the one cock who ruled the roost. Sounds quite scary.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Yes Pat, I think that is how it should be but when you buy eight dear little ‘poussins’ you take a risk. I think the chap who sold them had already ‘sexed and sorted’ them but he led me to believe it was impossible to tell at that age. Caveat Emptor! If ever I buy more poultry it will be adults.

  2. bretonne Says:

    It’s not just the cocks – I had to swap 2 bullies who were terrorising the weakest hens, the 2nd biggest bully took over the top bully’s role, so she had to go too. The two nice replacements got bullied by all of the rest but I refused to give in and separate them and after a week they ere all getting on ok.
    I’m afraid Thuggy is for the pot!

    • sablonneuse Says:

      yes, you’re right, our first bully is being fattened for the pot. I have a volunteer from the village who keeps chickens herself and has promised that she can dispatch them quickly and painlessly. After watching that fight it has cerainly hardened my heart regarding eating him. Trouble is the others will probably start fighting sooner or later.

  3. Vagabonde Says:

    When we had chickens we had 3 cockerels. We had to give two away as they were constantly fighting, then we gave all the chicken away too as our daughters had grown up and we did not eat too many eggs. We also could not get the courage to eat our chickens…

    • sablonneuse Says:

      There’s no way I could think of eating our lovely poules pondeuses. They are so sweet natured and they all have names. They’re like family pets!

  4. Little old me Says:

    It’s like having kids!!

  5. guyana gyal Says:

    Wooooo hooo, fight, fight, fight. And the wretch inside is CROWING! HAHAHA.

    🙂

    Bake him, bar-b-cue him.

    Oh man, he really sounds like a bully.

  6. Hayden Says:

    how classic! GG told me I must come and read this, and she was right. Good story.

    and a good thing you stopped them. If they get to the point of bloodshed, it often ends in cannibalism, or so I’m told. Disagreeable creatures when the balance is upset.

    and yes, the person who sold them was – well – ehrm – ‘wrong.’ Did he know or not? Who knows? But you can buy chickens from any hatchery and specify sex – at 1 day old. You pay a bit more than for a “straight run” – which is supposed to just be a random grab of birds, and assumed to be about equal male /female.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Hello Hayden and thank you for your comment. I was definitely taken in wasn’t I? The chap assured me it was too soon to sex them and I fell for it!

      Oh well, you live and learn.

  7. Lesa Says:

    Hi, the chicken hatcheries have persons who specialize in sexing day old chicks and are usually always right – but it is very difficult for most people to tell the difference between the boys and girls when they are young. So I’d bet the seller of your chickens didn’t know. Usually, you only want one cockerel for every 10 – 12 hens, so I’d watch the cockerels and pick one or two that are gentle when mating the hens, aren’t aggressive toward you, and find food/offer food to the hens. I’d keep the best gentleman roo and have all the rest dispatched for the pot. That’s just me though – we currently have 28 and plan to keep the hens, but keep only the two nicest roosters – it’s the pot for the rest.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Thank you for commenting, Lesa. I’ve been looking out for a ‘polite, gentle, cockerel’ but they all seem rather selfish when it comes to food. None of them has been unkind to the hens but they certainly don’t offer them food!

  8. Z Says:

    I’m afraid they will all fight. And if you want healthy chicks, you should eat the weaker ones. Sorry to say this, but if each time you perceive a cock as a bully so punish it by killing it, you’ll be left with the poor runt at the end to lead the flock – and then the hens will be more likely to squabble among themselves too.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Yes, I agree, Zoe but I think the one in ‘prison’ is rather too aggressive. The others are developing a pecking order and I’m warching carefully for the best character combined with a bit of strength and ‘leadership’.

  9. Susie Vereker Says:

    Sounds a wonderful sight, you chasing around the hen coop!

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