We have sixteen chickens now. Sadly, four of them are roosters which is three too many. The seven young ones (a gift from the ever generous Les) were kept apart from the others for about six weeks as the four roosters would have murdered them. When we reunited the flocks I kept two of the cockerels in the old run but their sister would not be parted from them and kept flying over the fence and lingering outside their gate. I gave in, let her join them. That group are known as the Hillbillies because of their incestuous lifestyle. And the female hasn't laid one single egg since she got there. I have to say that last year's egg hatching experiment, whilst exciting, ended in disappointment. Five chicks brought forth, three males and two females, then one female dispatched to Dr. Leitrim Sister's rushy fields whilst masquerading as a male. Our Dede didn't even want a rooster and, as it turned out, she didn't get one for Miss Rocky is laying well.
There are seven or eight eggs a day coming from the other lot, most of them from the young hens. They stick together and have adopted the young white rooster as their harem-master. They knock around together and roost in a row at night. Duke, the old rooster, makes do with the two old browns and the two old blacks. The two brown hens chum about and they hate the young girls. The black hens are pals too. Duke perches on another part of the roost with the black hens on one side and the brown ones on the other. Thankfully the run is big and they all have plenty of room but there is definitely a distinct pecking order at scoff time. The old browns are the boss hens and everyone except Duke gets chased off. When my lovely bantams were here they stuck together as well and did not get on with the others.
I'd love more Silkies and Pekins but I'm not sure I could cope with their inherent broodiness and too many boys hatching. Unless I can toughen up and turn the cockerels into a nice nourishing soup. Peter told me this evening that he dispatched his rooster for raping the ducks but hadn't the heart to eat him. I don't think I could eat mine either.