I reported yesterday on the distressing consequences of a fight between the two cockrels which the younger one, Charlie, appears to have won comprehensively. The older boy, Chalky, suffered quite a beating and lost an eye into the bargain. Having discussed the situation with Eddie, my neighbour and a wise man when it comes to fowl, he suggested keeping an eye on things and separating the beaten scrapper if things became too difficult.
Joared, one of my regular readers, expressed some concern at this policy for reasons I entirely understand. In response, let me say a couple of things. Firstly, I want none of my birds to suffer needlessly. Secondly, the occasional fight is not unexpected, particularly with a younger bird trying to assert his dominance and rights to the hen-chooks. Thirdly, the chooks have the best part of half an acre in which to disperse themselves and they are not confined to a small area within which they can’t avoid each other.
So, to the news from today. I let the chooks out of the coop this morning, but Chalky was not amongst the early risers. I opened the coop up after a while and it was clear that his damaged eyesight was causing him some problems getting out. However, when he did emerge, Charlie set upon him, although not with great violence, but I decided to remove the old boy to safer quarters. I took him and put him in one of the goose pens, complete with food and water, and left him there for the day. When I got back in from my day’s walking, he had gotten himself out and gone down to the lower part of the paddock where he seemed to be getting around rather better than he had 24 hours previously.
I will definitely keep an eye on things, but I don’t think at this stage that de-spurring the boys is the way to go – it won’t stop them fighting and they still have beaks and claws to bring to the party. However, I am open to wiser counsel …