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More building work has been required in a hurry.  Two of the most recent batch of chickens have suddenly put on a growth spurt and it’s very obvious that they aren’t hens, they’re cocks.  This gives us two problems. First – they are called Red and Vera – and while Red is more than happy to hang onto his name, I think that Vera feels a bit held back by this moniker.  Indeed, Vera hasn’t even learned to cock-a-doodle-doo yet, which I think might be because he’s got a bit of an identity crisis going on.  Check him out below – any suggestions for an alternative name?

The second problem is of course that we’re running a big risk by leaving two cockerels in the same chicken coop.  Given that they’ve grown up together they are currently on good terms but it could all change in an instant now that they are reaching maturity.  So the chicken community is about to be divided.  Red is about to be moved to the new living accommodation along with the three hens who I believe like him best – Bitch,  Doreen and Franky.  Vera (or whatever we rename him) will remain in the original enclosure with Big Fat Momma, Little Titch and Scrounger. 

Christopher spent yesterday fencing off the other half of the orchard, and we moved a coop into the enclosure this morning.  So at teatime tonight I’ll be rounding up the chosen birds and putting them to bed in their new home and we’ll see how the new world order works tomorrow! 

This will have many benefits going forward namely that I can make sure we continue to raise successive generations of chickens, which aren’t  in-bred.  I’m sure plenty of chicken-keepers don’t worry about this kind of thing, but I’m not having a chicken version of the Jeremy Kyle show in my own backyard (“My grand-daughter’s father is my husband and also my brother and her cousin is my daughter too” etc).  With the new arrangements, any fertile eggs next spring will be hatched and raised by their mothers and then switched to the other enclosure as they mature to ensure healthy bloodlines going forward.

That reminds me of a story my friend Annathevet told me once – a family brought in their male and female pet rabbits for vaccination – she was urging them to consider neutering if they wanted to avoid endless generations of bunnies being added to the family.  The family looked horrified at the prospect of this being required, not because of the trauma of putting their pets through an op, nor because of the associated costs, but because, they exclaimed, “the rabbits are brother and sister!”.  Anna patiently explained that rabbits don’t tend to operate the same moral codes as we do…

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