Rust Bird on top of our van.
Rusty Bird on top of our van

The chickens are a big part of our life. These birds came to us at the end of September 2013 very, very thirsty, hungry and small.  It was a spur of the moment decision that led us to rescue them and we had every hope they would be hens. Remember on another page I said how life never quite goes according to plan. Well…they have all turned out to be fellas and we had seven roosters.

They are roughly one year and ten months and when I look back at photos of how small they were I’m amazed by how much they have grown. Now most people will think roosters are notorious for being cantankerous, noisy and on occasion plain nasty. Well I have to say these boys are nothing like that…at least not to us. They are on occasion like that between themselves and it was for these reasons we took the agonizing decision to re-home three of them about a year ago.  It was to give them all breathing space and it was important to put them somewhere they would be valued and looked after. I ended up finding a place for them at a petting farm where they could run around and the owner assured me they would have some hens. With a huge amount of sadness we took them to South Lincolnshire to their new home last year. As for the other four life is more settled the occasional fracas breaks out but that’s usually when someone forgets his place in the pecking order and upsets someone else or someone gets up on the wrong side of the coop. Usually it’s a minor incident. On the whole they live peacefully together with no major upset and the noise…well there’s not much I can do about that. It is the countryside after all and they don’t crow constantly all day.

Tiny birds
Tiny birds
Just look at us now! Chocolate Orpington.
Just look at us now

When we first found out they were cockerels I confess my heart sank a little at first. I initially considered selling them and even put a notice up in our local feed merchants. After hearing and reading all the stories about how awful cockerels can be I thought they would be a lot of trouble and there is the other obvious reason they won’t produce any eggs. Over the months I have been subject to the usual nonsense from people who think they mean well by telling me I should kill them and eat them. I think you have to be a particular type of person to be that brutal to kill something just because it happens to be male. I am not that sort of person. I didn’t rescue these guys just to get rid of them because they don’t fit in with other people’s expectations. Killing them is also not as simple as it sounds.

It would seem, so I’m told it’s OK to keep seven hens but not seven cockerels. But, I’ve never listened much to other people’s opinions or tried to please them, I always make my own decisions and know my own mind.

Why do I need to get rid of them to please others, just because of a lack of eggs?

Delta, (Monster Bird)
Delphie who became Delta or monster bird as we call him. He’s the fella in charge.

As the months have passed I have become quite attached to these fellas. They are a bit like unruly teenagers on occasion and they bicker a little but we all do that don’t we. They are very friendly birds, they have the run of the orchard when they are not in their pen and they like to hang about on the fences. If we go outside they come running to us and follow us about all over the place and as odd as it sounds they talk to us in they own chicken like way, they have different sounds to mean different things. I made a point of talking to them from when they were young so they know the sound of our voices. They don’t mind being stroked and they will allow you to pick them up for a short while. I’m certain they enjoy being in our company, they will come and hang out with you jumping up onto a fence if your resting on one to see if you’ve got a treat at which point they will also sit down and snooze with one eye open.

Rusty. Aren't I a handsome fella! Buff Sussex
Aren’t I a handsome fella!

We or should I say I always wanted to keep chickens. These birds are not hens and I hope we can get some hens in the future but for now these guys are very entertaining and are here to stay. They keep us amused with their antics and they have become our pets just like other people might have a dog or a cat. Soppy I know…I’ve always had a fondness for birds they hold a special place in my heart and our garden is full of them. The wild birds get fed every day all year round.

It just so happens we (or I as they are definitely my birds I’m told and I do all the caring for them) have four cockerels who are pleasant fellas, who are doted on and cared for to the best of our ability.