The chickens are right at six months old now. We're getting just over a dozen eggs every day from our hens. Two or three of those are full-sized eggs, but the majority are smaller, and some are quite small. So they're exactly what we expect pullet eggs to be.
We still have 23 hens and 5 cockerels. While the rooster roster hasn't changed, we've seen several developments in the social order. Barred Rock Hudson is certainly at the top of the pecking order, and King Louis is at the bottom. The three New Hampshire cockerels are harder to pin down. Rooster Cogburn was for a long time the largest of the roosters, and he seemed to be vying with Hudson for the top spot. But Cogburn has fallen at least one rung on the social ladder now. The other two New Hampshire cockerels, Little Jerry and Cosmo, are a mystery to me. Little Jerry is now the same size as Cogburn, slightly larger than the dominant male. Cosmo is slightly smaller.
Uncle Harvey contrasts "dancing roosters" with "rapist roosters." The former perform a chicken mating ritual, dancing around the hens to invite them to mate. The "rapist roosters" simply grab hens that catch their fancy and try to forcibly mate them.
Rooster Cogburn was the worst of "rapist roosters," actually lying in wait around corners for a hen to pass, then grabbing her and mating with her while she shrieked and squawked indignantly. Cogburn was so bad, even my most tender-hearted daughter reluctantly agreed we needed to cull him. But two amazing things occurred to keep me from culling him, and I'm glad they did.
First, Barred Rock Hudson took control of his flock. Hudson spent at least a few weeks entirely devoted to rescuing hens from Cogburn. A hen would cry out, and Hudson would charge over and attack Cogburn. Cogburn would then typically run off, away from the flock, and wait for another chance. Strangely, both Little Jerry and Cosmo began to act as Hudson's deputies, chasing Cogburn off whenever a hen would cry out.
Second, Cogburn learned to dance. Cogburn was the first of our roosters to start dancing for the hens, who would generally ignore him. But one day, I noticed that there was a Barred Rock hen hanging around with Cogburn away from the rest of the flock. He started dancing for her, and she accepted his invitation without the slightest fuss. I started paying attention at that point, and saw the two of them go through this ritual at least four times over the next hour.
As Victorian as it sounds, Cogburn got a girlfriend, and she reformed the rake.