We invariably have several cockerels for sale whatever the time of year. They are £15 each. The breeds we currently have are
- Swedish Flower Hen Cockerels uncrested various colours youngsters hatched May 2022
- Ixworth cockerels hatched May 2022
- Swedish Flower cockerels hatched May 2022
- Salmon Faverolles cockerels – currently none available.
These roosters are what we have left from our breeding program. We handle them regularly so consequently, they are mild mannered and accepting of human interaction. All are hatched May 2022 so are still quite young. The younger boys might therefore be a better fit in a much younger flock. Please note that we never pass on any unruly or bad tempered cockerels. That is dirty pool as far as we are concerned.
Cockerels make a beautiful and valuable addition to a flock of hens because they excel as an early warning sign of danger. They will protect their flock of hens with vigour against any predator and very often with their lives. The boys also find food for the flock and will very happily provide fertility for the eggs when they are laid. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it – right?
It is always better to match the hen breed size with a similar sized cockerel. Something like a Cochin for instance is better suited to the large breed sizes like Cochin, Orpington or indeed another Brahma. You don’t need to get the same breed of cockerel as your hens, however, unless you want to do breeding for pure breeds.
Please note that we do not sell our boys for the table or for any other purpose than to accompany a flock of hens.
All our cockerels are categorised as large fowl and large fowl heavy. They will not be suitable for bantam sized hens to avoid a squashing event.
Examples of some of our Breeds in cockerel form
The gallery above is a small selection of what we may have available at various times. Most are youngsters and don’t have proper tails yet as the hens they are with are finding them irresistible. Boys also feather up more slowly than the hens and almost always have a bare back and rather stumpy tail. These are the last feathers to make an appearance. Cockerels don’t show their true finery until they are at least 6 months old and even later in some breeds like Cochin.
All the boys we have are £15 each which reflects the amount of care and socialisation we have given to them as they grow. It also contributes to their feed and bedding costs. Selling the boys too cheaply also means that they could more likely become prey to those who might wish to do them harm or worst still use them for illegal fighting or baiting.
The benefits of having a cockerel
Many people will tell you that a cockerel will prevent any hens have too much of a fight for the pecking order because he becomes top dog. This is not really accurate. Cockerels have 3 functions, 1. to find food, 2 to protect the flock, 3 to make more chickens. They are not really good at breaking up fights. What they do do is to make sure that the hens feel safe because they can leave the protection duties to the boy. A flock without a guardian has to do all the work themselves so they are always on high alert to detect any danger. The hens form the pecking order amongst themselves. A head chicken is always a hen. Cockerels form their own hierarchy amongst the males. Just like humans, many males like to portray that they are in charge, but the reality is often a different story.
Warnings and advisory about Cockerels
Cockerels are a very protective creature. As far as they are concerned, the hens belong to them, and them alone. They will take any perceived threat very seriously. A cockerel in attack mode will attack out of the blue with apparently no warning. Learn to understand their behaviour and more often than not they will not feel the need to feel defensive because of you. Adult Cock birds have VERY sharp spurs which will slice through wellingtons with ease. We would advise against allowing any children to be around any cockerels. Cockerels in attack mode can do some serious and potentially life-changing damage to a child.
Warnings to consider with cockerel behaviour
- Making any loud noises or shouting around a cock bird will dramatically increase his alert level and can cause him to lash out.
- He is more likely to be in a more alert state in peak breeding season which is Spring and Summer.
- Don’t bend over facing onto a cockerel. This is a direct threat posture.
- Always listen to his noises. If he is making a deep murmur with 3 syllables then he is definitely warning you. Stand still and don’t look him in the eye. Bop bop bop bop bop noises are generally good noises.
- Always watch his body language. If he raises his shoulder or his neck hackles, or pacing back and forth – be wary.
- Always look sideways to a bird. Looking straight in the eyes is a sign of a direct challenge.
- Don’t allow noisy children to run around these birds. An attack on a child could cause serious injury or blindness.
- If you try to pick up any uncooperative hen, he will see that as a challenge.
- When the light is fading, he is on very high alert. He cannot see very well in poor light and will instinctively react if he feels insecure.
- Despite all of the above, you may get very little warning so get to know your bird.
There are many schools of thought on how to build a good relationship with a cockerel. We find that as we handle them at least twice a day then they accept the interaction and don’t see us as a threat. Handle them respectfully and kindly as they need to trust you. Abuse that trust and you won’t generally be able to recover the situation. You only have to get it wrong once and they don’t forgive or forget.
Noise nuisance and Cockerels
A cock-a-doodle-doo can be issued at random hours of the night if they hear a noise outside the coop. They do like to join in with the dawn chorus. Crowing and singing at dawn is common with all birds and at random intervals during the day. If they can hear another cock they will have crowing competitions which can go on for some time. The cockerel who has uttered the last word is the most powerful so there is a lot riding on it as far as they are concerned. This has to be considered if you are within earshot of neighbours.
It is a total myth that cockerels need to stretch their heads and cannot crow if head height is restricted. Keeping them in absolute darkness won’t stop them either. Putting a cover over your coop will block ventilation holes which is obviously bad for their health. They know the time regardless of whether they can see daylight or not. They have acute hearing which means they can hear the dawn chorus which is an irresistible signal to them to join in and have a good old sing song. Cock birds in common with all other birds will have a little “natter” at dusk as the flock settles down for the night.
Facts about noise
In consultation with a noise engineer I gained the following nugget of information. “Sound is like water” if there is a hole, sound will escape. This means you would have to make your coop airtight to avoid noise escaping. Impossible right? Airtight and living creatures is not really a good mix.
A possible workaround to reduce Cockerel Noise
We bring all our cockerels in overnight into their own boxes so they don’t wake the neighbourhood. They go back out after 8am. This can work well for you as it did for us for many years. If you want to keep a cockerel in a built up area you need to be prepared to do some work. Environmental Health can make you get rid of the birds if they cause upset between the hours of 11pm and 8am or also if they cause a noise nuisance during the day. Noise nuisance of cockerels is measured by the local authorities in each area. Each authority tends to have their own definition of what their rules are, and which constitutes a noise nuisance so be aware of your obligations.
Cockerel noise is something which is a bone of contention. In an urban or rural setting, we are exposed on a daily basis, to dogs barking, children screeching and wailing, emergency sirens, cows mooing, house and car alarms ringing, motorbikes revving their engines, car radios blaring out, traffic noise, factories hissing, couples arguing, drunks staggering and yelling, dawn chorus, seagulls mewing, crows and jackdaws cawing, football fans chanting and church bells ringing. Despite all this, none of these loud events are thought of by the powers that be to be worthy of prosecution, yet cockerels are. We have been encouraged to learn that France has been enlightened enough to decree that cockerels are allowed to have their say without the fear of an enforced death sentence. Good for them!
It should be noted that you do NOT need a cockerel for your hens to lay eggs. Hens will still lay eggs even if they have never seen a cockerel in their entire lives. There are many many cockerels needing homes due to the fact that they are noisy and they fight if there is another boy in the vicinity. If you are able to give a cockerel a safe and secure home then please do.