Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Our crowing hen

You expect a cockerel to crow. Unfortunately our cockerel died last year so I was a bit surprised to hear what I thought was a cockerel crowing on my allotment this morning when I arrived to open the henhouses and feed the goats. There is a cockerel on the neighbouring allotment and he normally crows away in the morning, but I could see him through the hedge in his own run. And then I saw my cream legbar hen crowing away in the middle of my allotment. She is the only one of our hens who does not roost in a henhouse. Each night she heads into the same ivy covered tree where she is safe from foxes and kept dry by the canopy of ivy. So she is always wandering around when I arrive to open up the henhouses. She seemed to have developed the voice of a cockerel, though it was a bit croaky and not as loud as the neighbouring bird.

We looked up the possible causes. We found 2. One is a hormone imbalance. The other is an absence of a cockerel in the flock. If it is the former, I'm not sure if we have a solution. The bird herself is in fine health - she needs to be just to be able to fly every night into the tree. If lack of cockerel is the issue, that could be solved soon. Our 10 exchequer leghorn eggs are due to hatch this weekend. And we will be keeping at least one of the cockerels from this batch.

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