Roses are red, this cockerel is blue,
he needs a new home, could it be with you?
Two national animal welfare charities have joined forces to launch a new online matchmaking service, designed to help lonely lovebirds find their perfect match.
The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT), the country’s first dedicated chicken charity, and the RSPCA have today announced a new partnership that will help send handsome cockerels winging their way to rule a happy roost, through the Lonely Hearts Club for Cockerels scheme.
Lonely Hearts Club for Cockerels was originally set up in 2017 by the BHWT, offering the public the opportunity to find homes for any unwanted cockerels. Following recent media reports suggesting an increase in abandoned cockerels in the UK, the two charities got together to help these fine-looking chaps on their way to join their own feathery flock.
Jane Howorth MBE, founder of the British Hen Welfare Trust said: “We saw an article recently that suggested even more cockerels are being abandoned. We know that this has always been a problem and we often receive calls from the public asking for help and advice about what they can do with cockerels that they hatched at home or no longer want.
She continued: “Our primary focus is the rehoming of ex-commercial laying hens, but, we care about these beautiful boys too and decided we wanted to do something to help. We’ve offered the cockerel adoption service on our website for some time, but teaming up with the RSPCA was an obvious way for us to help even more chaps find themselves a flock of loving ladies to look after.”
The BHWT, who rehome more than 65,000 ex-commercial laying hens each year, have also helped to send hundreds of cockerels off to start new lives. According to the charity, many unwanted cockerels come about due to school hatching projects.
Ellie Stedmans who adopted a cockerel said: “We adopted Rooster from the BHWT cockerel lonely hearts and he’s soooh in love with our adopted Newark girls! They are now enjoying their retirement in the winter sun together. They are such confident adorable characters and Polly, Ada, Lizzie, May and Grace literally rule the roost!”
The RSPCA regularly deals with cases of abandoned cockerels, and it is thought this could be as a result of disputes between neighbours over their crowing, or simply the fact that they cannot lay eggs. The charity has also investigated several cases of illegal cock fighting.
Kate Parkes, Sector Manager (Pigs and Poultry) from the RSPCA said: “Sadly it’s not uncommon for us to take in cockerels who have been abandoned and dumped, often in dangerous situations like at the side of a road or in car parks – we usually have a number in our care at any given time.
“Chickens can be so rewarding to keep and cockerels can get a bad rap for being noisy and aggressive, when in fact, with the right care and knowledge, they can make great pets with distinct personalities and are absolutely fascinating to watch and care for – it’s really worth putting in time and patience to get more out of them and really enjoy them.”
Both charities advise any potential rehomers to ensure they check that their local council allows keeping cockerels as pets before rehoming them, as well as considering neighbours and other local residents. The BHWT and RSPCA have advice and guidance for anyone looking to take on a cockerel.
Lynn Barron who rehomed her cockerels through the scheme said: “Without Cockerel Lonely Hearts I don’t know what we could have done. Our allotment changed its policy about cockerels and we had only just hatched our four chicks, two boys and two girls. Because of the BHWT they will have the chance to live a good life, thank you really doesn’t seem enough words. We are so grateful.”
If your feathery flock is on the lookout for love this Valentine’s Day, visit www.bhwt.org.uk/adopt-a-cockerel/ to see which of the handsome fellas might suit your girls’ fancy.