The plight of cockerels has been something we have highlighted before on our Facebook. Around this time of year schools /nurseries run hatching projects and the result of these tend to be a large number of cockerels that nobody is willing to home. Places like Lucky Hens in Wigan have devoted their space to homing cockerels – but even then the demand far outweighs the space availabe. Sadly, a lot of cokerels are abandoned are killed as a result.

Hatching eggs is a primary cause of unwanted cockerels because you can’t tell what sex you are going to get. A high percentage of every batch hatched will be cockerels.

At Every Feather we get between 10 – 20 calls a week at this time of year about abandoned and unwanted cockerels. Often they are found wandering around roads or estates after being left to fend for themselves. That was the case with William.

William was reported to us about 18 months ago by a resident of Over Hulton. He was roaming their garden looking for food. They were quite happy for him to be there but sadly had two large dogs who weren’t. We went to try and catch him but were easily evaded by a cockerel who could run a lot faster and was hyper aware of our presence.

Nobody reported William to us for a while after that. Then we read on the local forum that he was wandering down one of the dog walking areas. We went to see if we could find him but sadly he had already gone.

Fast forward six months and we saw another post on the local forum about a cockerel that had set up residence in a garden on Newbrook Road. He spent the day on the decking where they provided food and water, yes he crowed but nobody seemed to mind – the only problem was that they wanted to clean up the decking and he wouldn’t let them near.

We managed to catch William this time – a net and some serious running around. He came back to our house while we looked for a new home. We already have Dixie – a little old man of a cockerel who resides in our back garden and acts as a guard dog protecting my chickens. A temporary home was made in our shed while I asked around everyone I knew for a home – sadly anyone willing to take cockerels gets as many requests to take more as we do. Everywhere was full.

This weekend William finally went off to a lovely new home – a place where he will have as much space to roam as he likes and some lovely ladies too.

So why don’t people like cockerels? Well there are two reasons that I usually come across:

They Crow! Cockerels tend to crow for a number of reasons. My cockerel Dixie usually does it when he senses danger or someone he doesn’t know close to his ladies. It’s a warning for them. Depending on the type of cockerel the noise can differ in pitch and decibel. Alot of locals love the sound – we are lucky enough to live in a semi-rural area with fields and farms so it’s much more welcome than noise from traffic. In comparison the sound of a cockerel crowing can be much less intrusive than the constrant thrum of a hot tub for example. However, in a built up area it could easily cause an issue.

Aggression! Cockerels can get aggressive to humans. I have had a few requests to rehome cockerels that have suddenly started attacking their owners. It’s usually the inherent protectiveness in the bird that causes it – they see everything as a threat to them or the hens they live with. They can have sharp spurs on the backs of their legs which can do real damage so.

With Lockdown I had hoped that we wouldn’t come across as many hatching projects this year – however, alot of people seem to have run them at home. Before taking part in hatchings please consider what will happen to the birds once they grow – they don’t stay chicks for long.

I personally love cockerels. Dixie has character and quite the flare for the dramatic when I catch him each night to take him inside. If you happen to be looking to adopt your own handsome fellow then check out the adoption page run by Lucky Hens in Wigan for a list of those looking for homes x

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