THERE’S a new kid on the block. Well, a cockerel in the hen house. After two years of no male company, there may be hope on the horizon for our love deprived hens in the unlikely shape of Bob, an excluded school ground chicken.

Harsh punishment it may sound, but done for the best of reasons, as Bob was actually a victim. The object of a hen house bully’s vicious jabs and pecks. An onslaught that has left him with a stunted coxcomb and no sense of self worth.

So what better way to boost his ego and sense of self entitlement than to bring him into a hen house of sex starved, mature, love lorn poultry. Not that they have begun to appreciate the possibilities of romance yet. So far all they have done is to give him a vicious peck in passing and then cackle contemptuously in his ear lobes.

I have tried to stagger the introduction. His first days were spent in the guinea fowl run and hut. As their netted area resembles a mini wheat field from all the self sown corn, I hardly saw him during the day as he cowered among the stalks.

As night fell he made a rush for the hut. At first I had to coax him out from this retreat for his day in the corn, but after a day or so I could see him scuttle back unaided into the hut if he felt he needed to be alone.

After this initial introduction, the time had come, I thought, to face his destiny. Sole male companion to a flock of sassy hens. But so far the auspices are not good. I had hopes that a hen that had hatched out a gosling (which subsequently died) might adopt him. Initial omens were good.

But when he showed no signs of wanting to nestle under her feathers for shelter, she has once more taken to shadowing our sole remaining gosling. As of this morning Bob continues to lurk around the guinea fowl run, I might just let him back in again and wait while until he gains in confidence and sex appeal to cope with our feathered cougars.

Meanwhile, John has obviously been influenced by my poultry obsession in his choice of question pitched to our seven-year-old granddaughter Sophie for the online quiz we do each day with her.

Is the correct English he asked, “the yolk of an egg is white” or “the yolks of an egg are white”? Clever Sophie, whose reading and comprehension skills for her age are well above average confidently answered “is white of course Pappa”. “No,” answered the delighted trickster. “The yolk of an egg is yellow.” Groans all round.