the cockerel has a new harem




Hen numbers have dwindled during the winter so that since Christmas, Nickel Arse the cockerel had only one little wife to run along beside him. With spring just around the corner and news that a local farm was clearing out a batch of their free range hens, it seemed an ideal time to boost numbers so five new hens were brought home and smuggled into the hen house while the others were out.

In late afternoon the wanderers returned to find the new hens hanging around by the feeder. The guinea fowl stuck their heads in the pop hole, saw the new hens and ran off. Eventually they plucked up enough courage to dash into the hen house and fly straight up to the rafters where they could keep an eye on everything. Nickel Arse strutted in, did a double take and promptly jumped over the barrier to safety. Peering back over, he flapped his wings and puffed his chest. Several times. The new hens stared in amazement and if the old hen had eyebrows, I’m sure she would have raised them skywards, muttering “men” under her breath.


new hen

I think I’ll stay put thanks.


Next morning they were still segregated either side of the barrier but they were all alive and the new hens had even laid eggs. The new girls stayed in the run for a couple of days but then I decided that the cockerel may as well take his new harem to explore the garden. Three of the new hens stayed in the hen house, the old hen busied herself scratching under a bush on her own for the day while Nickel Arse strutted off with two new girls in his wake.

In the evening Nickel Arse returned with only one new girl and left the other one sitting in the undergrowth at the end of the garden. We tried to persuade her in but she was having none of it, so we left her out for the night. Naturally, we haven’t seen her since which means she’s either hiding or been eaten by a fox or jumped the fence and ended up perplexed on the dual carriageway. Any of the three are likely but I suspect the fox found her.




Meanwhile, the ducks remain non plussed by the whole situation. So long as the hens don’t eat their food, they take no notice of them.


guinea fowl jumping fence


guinea fowl flying over fence

And the guinea fowl continue to do what guinea fowl do. Why would you walk through an open gateway when you can jump onto the wall next to it and then fly over the fence atop the wall? As you can see from the wire, this is their regular point of entry into the hen run.

24 thoughts on “the cockerel has a new harem

    1. He’s called Nickel Arse because he came from someone called Nicholas. Good job we don’t have neighbours as he’s been crowing so much since the new girls arrived that we’d be getting complaints about the noise.

  1. Hi Anne .. gorgeous post! Oh I love Nickel arse – what a spunk! How gorgeous. He must have puffed up and crowed when he saw the new girls. Sorry about the missing hen, I do so hope she comes home. Beautiful pics by the way – love the guinea fowl doing their thing.

  2. Wonderful! Love the way you describe this. We now have a bantam cockerel accidentally – he was meant to be a hen but turned out not to be! looked identical to the other young hens in the batch but turned out rather different! He takes on all comers regardless of his diminutive size – I am glad of my Hunters when going into the chicken run as they are impervious to him. H calls him Vladimir – for obvious current political reasons! – and it seems to have stuck! Enjoy your birdy doings – they sound great fun. E x

    1. ha! I like the name. I’m not very good at naming all the hens, but for some reason the cockerels usually get named. Ruth used to name all the hens when she was in charge – my favourite batch included Cuddles, Freckles and PeckerSmith.

  3. Lovely post, and I hope your new girls settle in soon. The guinea fowl going over the fence made me chuckle, birds of very little brains! I still find our hens staring at the coop sometimes as if wondering where the door has gone when its been in the same place for years!

    1. Rather too much to say! I love to watch the guineas as they rush about seemingly with purpose – until they reach their destination when they just look perplexed.

  4. Ha, nice way to introduce them. I never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. What a bunch of characters. Too bad about the one lost one, but then that’s life with foxes and highways. Robert is in our place in OXON and he called me at his 2am. I said, “what kind of time do you call this then?” and he said that something is having a fight with a fox under my land rover. Even a 6ft high fence doesn’t keep them out!. I’m waiting for the report this morning. 😀

    1. Hope the fox didn’t take anything. My hen hasn’t returned so I’m pretty sure the fox took her. Some of them have little fear and come into the garden in daylight.

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