Posts Tagged ‘roosters’

Cock-a-Doodl…Thwack!

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

-George Bernard Shaw

A few weeks ago I attended a weekend-long beekeeping workshop, (yes, beeeeekeeping!). Cory had assured me that all of the roosters would be gone by the time I returned, but when I pulled in, I heard the unmistakable sounds of scrabbling chickens. I think he realized that it was an easier two person job (or so one would think), so after dinner we got to work.

We set up an old table in the yard and clamped a piece of plywood to the top to make a stable work surface. I had gone to my local kitchen supply store, As the Crow Flies, where the helpful staff helped me pick out a sharp, heavy cleaver to quickly dispatch the boys. We decided to do the most troublesome rooster first, the instigator of most of the worst assaults.

And here’s where I made my first mistake.

Failing to properly calm myself, I barreled into the coop to grab the first rooster. No deep breaths, no contemplative gratitude, just a frenzied struggle to the death. I caught him in an awkward hold, and on the verge of tears (me, not him), I marched him squawking and flailing to the table. Cory told me to flip him upside-down, but I was holding him wrong and wearing large, awkward gloves. I started to panic. I managed to tilt him only by leaning over myself. He tried to bite me.

Finally Cory got a sock over his head. This is supposed to calm chickens but I had mishandled the situation so aggregisly that this rooster was beyond calming. When we had finally wrestled the bird into position and Cory had delivered the fatal blow, the rooster lost his head…and so did I.

You see, being the suburban girl that I am, I thought that “running around like a chicken with its head chopped off” was just something my grandfather compared me to when he wanted me to make less noise. This was apparently my second mistake, because the rooster jumped off the table, and began to running in circles, blood spraying from its neck. It was at this point that I began a mixture of laughing and crying commonly known as hysteria. Cory stood patiently with his arms crossed, and after waiting for the bird to bleed out, he scooped it up by the legs and began to rip feathers from the rooster’s still warm body. I helped in between gasping breaths, but when that headless chicken started clucking, I panicked afresh. Cory calmly (why is he always calm in these situations?!) explained that the birds voice box was in its throat. Oh. I should have known this.

We got through the first bird, somehow, and did a second. This next slaughter went far more smoothly than the first. I even remembered to thank the little creature before we whacked it. I felt thoroughly ashamed of my lack of preparation for this event; the ultimate event in this animals life. I spent days and days preparing for the pig slaughter and I wasn’t even present, but I barely gave the chickens a second thought and we all paid for it. No animal should have to die with me looking on, screaming and panicking, without an ounce of reverence.

But I am human, and still figuring it out.

Chop!

If only all of Rome had just one neck.

-Caligula

So remember yesterday when I said we were waiting for some “definitive rooster behavior”? Well, today when I went out to feed and water my birds, I was violently reminded of a scene from the 1979 movie, Caligula, starring Malcolm McDowell and Peter O’Toole. Far be it from me to attempt a definition of sexual assault for another species, but I’m going to guess 6 roosters to 7 hens is probably not a good idea. Cory is particularly incensed because one of the new roosters went after little Edna. Stan intervened but Cory is determined to avenge her honor. Such as it is.

Heads are gonna roll.

Egg on my Face

We can see a thousand miracles around us every day. What is more supernatural than an egg yolk turning into a chicken?

~ Rutherford Platt

So the new batch of chickens have been with us for about 2 months. This was the free flock of 12, 4-month-old chickens I found on Craigslist in January. After a tragic encounter with a red-tail hawk we’re down to 13 total birds (old and new batch). We suspect solidly half of the newbies to be roosters. They’re huge with upright bodies and long pointed feathers. Stan, our original rooster, is currently the only one who crows (1am -3am, nightly) and the only one who *chases* the hens…yet. Roosters take a bit longer to sexually mature, so we’re just waiting for some definitive rooster behavior to drag out the chopping block. So sad I know, but we only want one rooster, and Stan’s the man.

It’s been especially confusing and frustrating because nobody’s been laying eggs. We had two hens laying regularly, but alas, they’re no longer with us.

So it was with excitement and glee that Cory discovered two eggs in the hen-house yesterday, a large green and a tiny brown. We jumped about like fools, screaming and cheering. We were convinced that the small brown egg had been laid by Edna, our little bantam (miniature breed) and special friend. We were sure she’d never lay, but she was too cute to fry. But here was proof, it had to be, that she was laying at last! Hurray! We were ecstatic.

Little Edna

That is, until Cory’s father informed us that many chickens start off by laying small eggs. It was probably just one of the new hens starting to lay. Apparently they’re called fart eggs. How cute.

I’ve officially labeled Cory’s father, “The Ruiner”.