Chunky chooks need a boot camp

editorial image
0
Have your say

This week, back to chooks. You may remember that a wee while ago we bought some Ross Cobb breeder stock – basically the mummies and daddies of the big, fat, supermarket chickens.

They came over from Ayrshire, in a cardboard box. Bless. I chose five out of the box, which supposedly contained all girls.

Well, nature ain’t perfect, and neither should it be, and it has become abundantly clear as time has passed that one of the lay-dees is a chap. From day one he was bigger and chunkier than the rest, which is really saying something because each and every one of them is very chunky.

Next came the thicker legs, like a nana’s – thick as a baby’s arm and complete with lumps, bumps and wrinkles – and the huge comb and wattles. Super-sized headgear.

Next came the grunting sounds, the first attempts at crowing. All this would have been a disaster normally, as the five Ross ‘hens’ were in with Sergeant Murdoch, our Scots Grey cockerel.

Usually, two maturing cockerels in a confined space spells real trouble. They seem to rub along when they are wee, up until they get to somewhere between four months and six months old, at which point they get all cockerel-y and start to fight. They are the chicken equivalent of teenage boys.

So it should have been mayhem in the smallish run they were sharing with the other proper Ross lay-dee chickens. But not only did they not fight, but Sergeant Murdoch didn’t seem interested at all in the proper Ross lay-dees either. Which, as a young-ish cockerel himself he should have been. Extremely.

There is something weird about them. Seriously weird. They shuffle about on their nana legs, eating and then laying down and putting on more weight.

The other chooks just don’t understand them, because they are huge and slow and they don’t move like the other chooks. Like Sergeant Murdoch, they just don’t ‘get’ the Ross Cobbs.

‘Normal’ chooks scoot about, scarting from one place to another. One minute they’re at the feeder, the next they’re dust bathing under the trees. Or in the compost heap scratching about. Or on their way to the drinker. Kind of like the Road Runner. Beep, beep.

Not so the Ross Five. They are so big and beefy that they shuffle in slo-mo as if they’d taken Valium. This just doesn’t compute with ‘normal’ chickens. They find it freaky.

They have been out in the general population for a few days now, in the hope that having to walk further for food and drink might encourage them to shed a few pounds. I know they are supposed to be chunky, but at the moment they look like super-tankers in amongst racing yachts. Ginormous.

So far, this plan is not working. They have found a spot they like in between the drinkers and the big feeder, so they are quite content and immoveable.

I am thinking about employing the YMs to herd them up and down for an hour each day, like some kind of chicken boot camp. It’ll keep them busy in the school holibags.