Orpington cockerel not maturing...

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The Riff-Raff Element
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Orpington cockerel not maturing...

Post: #270981 The Riff-Raff Element
Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:11 pm

My hatch last year was not the most successful I've ever had. I set a batch of RIR and black Orpington eggs I got over 'tinternet. I had some problems with the incubator and only got about 50% hatch rate, and then I was obliged to cull some of the chicks, but in the end I ended up with five RIR hens, one Orpington hen & one Orpington cockerel.

Now, hatching took place about the 20th May, so in my book, boyo should be pretty much mature. Certainly he's big enough, but he isn't crowing and shows no interest in mounting the hens or attacking anything. In fact, most of the time he just looks bewildered, as though he's not really sure where he is or what he's supposed to be doing.

Are Orpingtons particularly slow to mature or do I have a mentally deficient cockerel?

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Re: Orpington cockerel not maturing...

Post: #270982 diggernotdreamer
Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:42 pm

I had the opposite problem with an orpington. I bought a point of lay hen, did not notice if she laid eggs or not as we had a lot of hens. We had had the point of lay hen for over a year and I used to think what a gangly and unattractive thing she was, then suddenly one day at the age of probably 18 months old, she crowed in front of us, then over the coming weeks developed big wattles and a huge comb. I talked to someone in the know and this person said it was probably hermaphrodite or intersex whatever the pc word is now and the male part had taken over for some reason, Anyway, it was a nice bird as orpingtons usually are but did not live for very long

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Re: Orpington cockerel not maturing...

Post: #270984 Thurston Garden
Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:49 pm

I had a similar 'am I Martha or Arthur' buff orpington a few years back. I was given two hens because they were huge and a danger the to the previous owner's wee girl. After being relocated to TG, they seriously bullied my other hens and I decided to separate them into their own run. A while later one started her drag king act complete with cock the doodle dooing. I wonder if it's a trait of the breed?
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Re: Orpington cockerel not maturing...

Post: #270991 The Riff-Raff Element
Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:21 am

Thanks for the responses.

I have to say, it's not that easy to be sure on the difference in gender - the wattles on the "male" are a little more pronounced and redder; the tail a little more luxuriant; the neck feathers a little pointier. But to be honest, after ten years of keeping and rearing poultry, if I were given this bird in isolation I would not know it was male. Alongside the other one "he" looks different - larger - but the secondary sexual characteristics are not pronounced.

Oh well, I'll watch & wait & see. This year I'm hatching local breeds, I think. You know where you stand with them: if it tries to kill you, it's male!

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Re: Orpington cockerel not maturing...

Post: #270993 oldjerry
Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:31 am

Jon, when we had the free range flock,we also had a few pure bred ,'though I only showed the Indian Game.But we did have one splendid Buff Orp Cockerel ,bought to look after a few bantams that lived in the bottom wood.He was the best looking chicken I've ever had,(including the game birds) and strutted round the whole farm,attacking humans,dogs,pigs in fact anything.Inevitably,he was known as 'il Duce',the only thing he had no interest in was....yep,the female chickens!!

On his last day ,he had a go at a vixen,trying her luck in the bottom wood....


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