I wheeled the sacks of chicken feed down the path and left them outside the greenhouse, while I went in to throw the chickens some handfuls of mealworms, so that they wouldn’t be near the door when I opened it wide enough to get the barrow in. Looking round to check none of them was still by the door, I saw Pillock in the corner, looking unhappy. So, once I had got the corn in, I threw him some and had a good look. Poor boy had been set upon by one of the other roosters and had lost feathers from his neck. No blood and he didn’t seem injured, he started eating until he was chased away by one of his fellow cockerels. He slunk in the henhouse and was followed, so had to come out again. I picked him up, he didn’t resist. Not hurt, just very subdued and afraid. It’s so lucky I went in when I did, he wouldn’t have survived another attack and Wink and I are fond of him.
So for now, he’s living in Wink’s small conservatory. I’ll get Wince to help me move Rose’s chicken run and he can live there with two or three wives. He’s recovered his bounce and it’s not sunny in the mornings at present, so he isn’t too hot.
It’s a risk, of course, when you have more than one cockerel, but they are reasonably well behaved normally. I can’t catch them anyway, they’re not as tame as the girls. Much as I like to have fully free-range hens, I can’t stop them laying away and returning with chicks, so they have to have their big run and be shut up at night. Not that they’re out at all for now, there are still outbreaks of avian flu and poultry must be kept indoors. I know there are people who ignore this, I’ve seen chickens outside, but I don’t want to either break the law or risk my nice little bantams catching the disease. I couldn’t help Pillock being outside in the winter, I couldn’t catch him. But he’d been a month indoors with no trouble, though the more dominant cockerels keep the others waiting for food and try to keep them away from the girls. Anyway, Wink loves him and is looking forward to having her own pet chickens. We’re turning her into a countrywoman!