25 November 2014

Butchered

Rufus, Chess and Twinkle out for an early morning stroll.
Whenever chicks make their way to our farm, I'm continually hoping they'll end up hens. I may be biased, but I prefer girls over boys, at least usually when animals are involved. After all, the ladies provide the milk, eggs and babies along with meat and wool and in general, are a bit more even-tempered.
Our beautiful ram, Magnus, right before he started knocking down the hollyhocks.
We've had some experience with unneutered livestock. Magnus was an impressive ram but his favorite past time was knocking people, plants, animals, fence posts, garbage cans and anything else that got in his way down. Robbie, one of our other roosters, was a psychopathic spurrer who'd stalk people from hundreds of yards away just so he could kick them when they were least expecting it. Other than that, everyone's been a female or has been neutered.
After our adorable little Easter chicks grew up and started crowing, it was pretty obvious we had a problem. Three mouths to feed and no resulting eggs. When we were given a few older hens who did lay beautiful blue eggs, the problem only got worse. It wasn't a week and the girls were practically plucked bald by overzealous males. So, we made our choice of rooster (Twinkle gets to stay) and the other two are now headless, featherless and frozen in our freezer, ready to eat.
Twinkle (he was supposed to be a hen), Snow and Strawberry all molted and happy (and you can see the size difference and how the two hens would have trouble keeping safe from three roosters who were gigantic next to them!).
I feel like a genuine rehomesteader now. Not because we finally had the nerve to butcher the two roosters but because we feel more connected to our food source. It's a big responsibility to have and though it's hard to take a life, especially one you've seen grow from a babe to adult, Rufus and Chess had it good and served their purpose. Now, they'll provide dinner for a week or so for which, we are immeasurably more grateful for than if we'd picked up a nameless, unloved broiler, packaged nicely at the store.
Not many chickens get that much freedom!
Thanks, boys.

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