Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rooster-free zone

All is quiet in the hen house. Sebastian Vettel is gone.

Last week, I had two tiny flocks of Barnevelder poultry. Our rooster Sebastian and his two remaining ladies lived in the main chook shed. Out in the chook tractor in the orchard lived a young cockerel who had just started crowing, with his two nervous young ladies. I was hoping to supplement the young ones with a couple of orders of new pullets over summer and then integrate both flocks, giving Sebastian a good sized harem, but both orders fell through. So I decided to move the four hens we still have in together and not allow them to free range in case we incur further losses.

The roosters had to go. The young one from the batch we hatched at Christmas wasn't a great specimen to be honest, an ugly duckling and slow developer. Sebastian was becoming a pest. While the chooks were out free ranging, he generally did a pretty good job of looking after them, but in the shed, he was making it difficult to do simple tasks like cleaning, feeding and opening doors. We could only enter the shed with a bucket, to protect ourselves and confuse him. I was starting to wonder how I would be able collect eggs, once the girls start laying again, without being attacked.

On Friday, I caught the young rooster and 'dispatched' him, as poultry folk say. With horribly wet weather forecast for Sunday, I was keen to get the two young girls into the nice dry shed that the older ones live in. So poor old Sebastian had to go. He was a large boy so best captured at night. The only problem was, he always slept up well out of reach up in the highest rafters of the pickers hut. In the afternoon, David built a barrier from old computer cases to stop him flying up there. After dark, we marched back down to the chook shed. I quickly snatched poor Sebastian from his perch and did the deed. Then David and I caught the two young pullets from their perch in the chook tractor and transferred them to the dry straw in the main shed. Then we headed back to sit on the lounge in front of the fire, drink a glass of red and watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not your typical Saturday night.

1 comment:

  1. Hi you are tougher than me, I don't think I could dispatch a chicken, I haven't got antsy yet but further down the track we will have some.