Today was a gorgeous sunny day, feeling very spring-like if cold. I spent the morning pootling about bagging a few roadside squares near Clachan and went back into the office in the afternoon, so that some colleagues could get away early to go to Edinburgh for the weekend. Very quiet, and managed to get a lot of messages cleared from my desk before the fray recommences on Monday.
Back home this evening to find both of the cockrels with blood streaming down their necks, obviously the consequence of a fight between themselves. I’d noticed that Charlie’s spurs were beginning to grow recently and Chalky has a fine set about three centimetres long. Clearly they had been going at each other’s head and their combs were scarlet with blood, although the worst of the bleeding seemed to have stopped. Charlie was lording it about up by the coop with the girls, but old Chalky was down at the bottom of the paddock in the rough ground. When I went down to see that he was not too badly hurt, he started stumbling into clumps of reeds and it became clear that he had taken some damage in the encounter. I managed to catch him quite easily (although he screamed his head off at the indignity) and I could see that his left eye had been ripped and he was now monocular. The blood on his white feathers was very apparent at a distance. He seemed to be otherwise okay, if one can say that of a newly-blinded bird, and I returned him to the proximity of the coop.
Speaking to Eddie next door later on, he said that some of his cockrels had been fighting as well and that this was the way they sorted out the order of precedence amongst themselves. Provided that the loser wasn’t taking too much of a beating (in which case remove to safer quarters for the interim) it was okay to let them get on with it. I suspect that other chookers may have different views, but I tend to agree with the general principle that, if this is what cockrels do, there’s not much I can do to prevent it when two are sharing the same space.
Mind you, all this over display of testosterone seems to have had a beneficial result for the girl-chooks; we had three eggs today, more than we’ve had for a couple of months on a single day. Spring is definitely in the air.