Could you recommend a non-aggressive cockerel? Mine has become very difficult to handle.

Anne Perdeaux replies:

You have my sympathy. People often don’t realise how unpleasant or even dangerous an aggressive cockerel can be – it can really ruin your pleasure in keeping chickens.

Although some breeds are naturally more belligerent than others, it is impossible to say that any particular one will definitely produce placid cockerels – behaviour varies according to the

breeding strain. Start by choosing a breed known for its docile behaviour (ie the Buff Orpington) and ask the breeder about the temperament of the parent birds.

Even so, there is no guarantee that a friendly cockerel of good parentage won’t change character as he reaches full maturity. Sometimes owners get a shock when the pet bird they have lovingly reared from a chick literally bites the hand that feeds him. Such cockerels are often more dangerous as they have no fear of humans.

Another option would be to find a mature male who has settled down and proved reliable. There are more lovely cockerels seeking homes than there are homes willing to take them, so nobody should have to tolerate unpleasant behaviour. Good luck!

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