Saturday, 13 October 2012

Say Goodbye!

Left to right: Indian Game, French Copper Marans, Welsummer
Yesterday's blog was about the joys of new life.
But, much as I love the birds and beasts on the farm, we must not forget why we have them. So this weekend will see a bit of a clear out.
Several of the young cockerels are looking particularly tasty at the moment! Although they've sorted out their pecking order and fights are infrequent, the girls don't really want so many boys around. Besides, we are spending a small fortune on feed and the boys don't give anything back unless we eat them. So there you are. The harsh realities of farming.
I certainly won't enjoy dispatching them, but I'll be doing it in the knowledge that they had a good life while it lasted.

He came in an egg sold as Cornish Dark Indian Game.
Clearly not, but still surplus to requirements.
Sadly, there is an economic necessity regarding the hens too. Unlike most of the cockerels, they get names and stay with us considerably longer. However, Mrs Brown has not laid an egg in a long while now. (For that matter, neither has Hazel, the other brown hen). I suspect that these two originated from a battery farm, where their bodies would have been remorselessly overworked until they were worn out. Both these birds have failed to properly grow back their feathers since last winter's moult.
If I keep every hen which only lays the occasional egg, I will effectively be doubling the cost of my eggs. I've been putting it off, but Mrs Brown has made things easier for me as she has been looking decidedly unwell of late. She has spent the last three days on her own, hunched up. As you can see, her comb is decidedly limp too, a sure sign of an unwell bird.

I guess I just need to get used to the idea of the hens being a constantly renewable source of eggs. As new ones are born and reared, so the older girls must make way.

The end of the line for Mrs Brown.
And it's not just the chickens.
For, many weeks ago, a date was set for these three. And that day is Sunday.

They've been on a special diet, with tasty treats such as potatoes, pumpkin and mangel wurzels every day. They've responded by becoming more friendly! Just as it's time to go.

ed. This blog post was written last night in readiness for publication.
Sadly this morning Mrs Brown was found dead in her roost box.

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