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!

4 comments on “Pillock

  1. Glenda

    oh, the drama in the chicken coop. Glad you were able to save Pillock.Maybe he knew what was coming and that was why he preferred to live wild.

    1. Z Post author

      Well, the silly boy used to stand outside looking in longingly and he went in of his own accord. But he certainly regretted that.

  2. 63mago

    I’m sorry, somewhere along the way I lost count, how many cockerels do you have now ? I remember Pillock, he was (is ?) the “renegatus” who lived somewhere outside for a time. Hope his feathers will come back.
    Is this avian flue something that travels by air ? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I have no idea about this. I just hate the idea that your beauties get sick.

    1. Z Post author

      You’re right, he was indeed the renegatus. He escaped back in September and lived outside for six months. Including Pillock, there are five cockerels and there are twenty-four hens. His feathers will regrow, he’s not otherwise injured and he’s recovering.

      Avian flu comes every winter, brought in by migrating wild birds. It’s spread by contact and droppings, so free-range birds are particularly at risk. Even if they’re kept indoors, it often happens that small birds get in, attracted by the food and warmth and they can introduce the illness. It is quite contagious and if any birds in a flock get it, they all have to be killed. Winter lockdowns have been imposed for several years now, but it’s going on a long time this year. I’m very anxious that my lovely girls don’t catch it.


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