Our cockerels

July and August sun had been scorching with many hours spent indoors hiding from the heat. The crack of dawn was pleasantly cooler and the evenings on the balcony at sunset could have been great if it had not been for the mosquitoes.

Then September was here. The Autumn crocuses appeared in front of the kitchen, gracious little dancers in yellow frocks, and disappeared just as fast, leaving the earth as barren as before around the lonicera.

October here has not been that different from June nor July except that by now we’re praying for the rain daily. Even though it’s obviously worrying we have enjoyed our lunches on the balcony. Yesterday 2nd day in November was no exception. Our three magnificent 5-months old cockerels were prancing around the place advertising their availabilities to the ladies but not bothered at all by their two missing girls. The previous day the girls had joined the other two in the coop by the ewes. They didn’t seem bothered with this new arrangement meaning no pesky cockerels fighting for them.

Our cockerels live close to the house and hopefully safer from the foxes. They love to groom themselves on the mat of our doorstep. They love to poop there too! Yes, your poop is good for the garden but please!!!!

 The girls are in their coop for now and will be freed once another coop is built in Dini’s field for the cockerels. It will be company for the ram and plenty of space for all.

It will be so great for the girls to be back in the woodland during the day where they belong.

It will be great also to have a poop-free mat.

Meanwhile two-days-old chirping little chicks are feeding in Solo’s old box by the window in the living room. When I got another hen for our lonely one last month, I was given 3 eggs that I put in the incubator straight away…. I continue to be fascinated by the fact that these little ones were created in just 21 days….and are absolutely perfect in every way.

Monday the 7th November

Trauma yesterday: a couple of hungry hunting dogs appeared in our yard and chased our beautiful cockerels. Geoff saw them from the kitchen window and rushed out shouting. They ran away but unfortunately not without a mouthful of feathers.

Looking around only Cockertwo was to be found crouching, terrified, in the undergrowth below the house. No cockerfire. No cockerlate.

I called the hunting warden and the president of the hunting here and both said they had heard about those dogs over the last few days but they also said those dogs were not from around here and therefore there was nothing they could do.

When I called for Cockertwo to come out of the bush, Cockerfire came running from the direction of the garden. Phew! What a relief! Two out of three were safe. The obvious question that sprang to mind was how were we going to be able to keep them safe from now on?

We had moved them closer to the house in the three little room shed a few feet away from the house to make it more difficult for foxes but it had not been of any use with these wandering dogs…

I couldn’t see Cokerlate anywhere. The bunches of feathers laying here and there and all around were unmistakably recognisable. Oh dear…How sad….

Tuesday the 8th November

Such a wonderful surprise this morning. I got up at 6am and went to the grain shed with a torch to fetch some bottles. It was cheese making day today. As I got to the grain room, I felt a soft presence against my leg and as I looked down, here was Cockerlate! The poor thing was in a terrible state. No tail left, standing still and shaking. I gently carried him to the coop next door and left him there with his mates. As I rushed to Amedee’s farm for my milk I was praying for my cockerel. Please, please let it be alright.

Wednesday 9th

Cockerlate was out of the coop today. He is limping and hopping slowly on one leg to get around but mostly he is standing still or seating. I will see how he is tomorrow and if there is a need to take him to the vet.

Thursday 10th

He is now perching at night and venturing further away from the safety of his coop during the day trying to follow Cockertwo and Cockerfire. He is not very successful at that but he is trying. Today he spent a lot of time grooming and getting his feathers in order. Geoff’s worry is that he got some bacteria from the dog’s bite and won’t survive….

November 25th

All cockerels are well. Cockerlate is definitely looking better. His feathers are growing back and it is lovely to know that he’s made it.

Cockerlate got his name when we finally got he was a male. For ages it was touch and go: is it a male? Is it a female?

The other two were very definitely males really early on. The biggest one was named Cockertwo as he is our second head-of-the pack cockerel. When he was born, he was a very big chick. His feathers are jet black on his back and a soft grey on his underside. His collar is a mixture of black and gold feathers and so are his shoulder blades. He is magnificent and he knows it. He is the boss.

Cokefire’s feathers are also black and grey except for bright shades of orange flames on his wings.

Camille said they will fight but they don’t. They know their rank.

The chicks by the window are growing so fast but nothing can distinguish them such that we can take a guess at their gender. Could be 3 girls, or 3 boys! Ha! Ha!

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