We’ve got too many chickens !

This young cock has just lost a fightThis boy got beaten up by a band of roaming youngsters that I call the red bunch and as he was walking away with his head down I started taking photographs of him and he suddenly perked up and strode along proudly as though to show me that he was non the worse for his humiliation.

The culprits were a large group of young red cockerels who are now at sexual maturity and are a pain in the whotsit – not just because they’re fighting with all the other young cocks but also they’ve started to gang up on the girls and the poor things have to walk the gauntlet before being allowed into the chicken shed to roost for the night.

That's the spirit !Anyone who has kept chickens will know what I mean – I almost feel like throwing something at them when they start their antics and the girls are becoming nervous and scatty and if this goes on any longer they’ll go off the lay, their backs will lose their feathers and some of them may be tempted to sleep outside and risk an encounter with Mr Fox.

Young cockerels almost ready for the potIt’s been a real joy all summer to see this year’s chicks grow up. A high proportion of them are bright orange with a few blacks and a couple of pure whites. All of them are in great condition, bright eyed and constantly on the move.

The garden has been brought alive by the flashing past of dozens of orange chicks running when they hear the feeder being filled up. But I counted the chickens this morning and there are fifty and an awful lot of them are young males. I’ll try to find homes for the best cockerels – normally my neighbours are interested if they need to change their stock – but sadly, it’s not worth feeding them all winter and the time has come to cull them and get them into the freezer.


14 thoughts on “We’ve got too many chickens !

  1. As always, I love your posts and your photos.

  2. Thanks !

    Now that the knitting for Christmas is almost coming to an end I should have a bit more time to do more photos and writing. I haven't visited your blog for ages – but I will soon.

    Have a lovely time during the holidays.

    Irene x

  3. So many human parallels.

    Such wonderful photos.


  4. I never knew how I would find the strength to kill a chicken until our roosters started being big enough to bully the hens (and our pets). I won't say I enjoyed the experience, but their mob mentality certainly helped me accept that it was time.

  5. Anonymous

    You are back posting, what a joy!!!

    Best regards,


  6. Yes, it makes it easier to cull them when they're being obnoxious. I love their colours. You always take lovely photos.

  7. When my 4 hens scratch up all my plants I often think of you saying that you have about 50 roaming around your place. I didn't know how you managed to grow anything! Now I know 🙂

  8. Angie Moore

    Yes I know how you feel – our hens hatched 42 chicks this year – I didn't use the incubator at all and now we are eating a lot of chicken!!! Nothing beats a home grown Coq au Vin 🙂

  9. I've been struggling with this very issue. I'd love to keep chickens myself, for the fresh eggs and organic meat, but could I ever actually "process" them? The stronger possibility is that I'd I end up overrun with expensive poultry pets. Your post provides a fresh perspective.

    Btw, am I the only one waiting for the La Ferme de Sourrou cookbook? Your canning section was FANTASTIC.

  10. Great work with the young roo's… when our hens have had enough of the youngsters we have Rooster Day. once calm has been restored to the barnyard – and the roos have gone to The Pot – we know we've done the right thing.

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  12. Try sticking small hen-houses, 4 -6 birds big, on 6 foot-poles, with a thin twiggy branch for access. And eat/process/sell the excess cocks.

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