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Cockerels and other pets


It is very important to keep your new girls apart from cockerels for at least a month. The hens can easily be damaged by the cockerel’s advances as they will not be strong enough to take his weight and their backs may be poorly feathered. When you do introduce your boys and girls, be sure to keep a close eye to ensure your hens don’t suffer any injuries.

You will also need to consider the ratio of hens to cockerels as too many cockerels in one space can cause problems. Although the ideal numbers depend on the temperament of the individual birds, we recommend one cockerel per 24 birds.


Your hens know no fear and will get along happily with most other family pets. However, you will need to be particularly careful when introducing dogs; do not leave the hens unsupervised until you are satisfied your dog is hen friendly.

Other hens

New hens will usually need to be kept separate from existing birds for at least a few weeks. Initially they may be unfit and may have poor self confidence which can lead to them being easily bullied. Most will regain their confidence within a few days and fitness usually improves within two weeks.

You can read our full advice and guidance on merging flocks here.

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