In response to Nick’s complaint request, I have decided to post some man-type stuff. I must say “man stuff” is not my specialty but I will try. I took these pictures planning to do a blog, but had decided it was too gory for a family blog, so beware. Rick is included in the pictures – but still no blog from him.
Some of you may remember our chick Bernadette. When I placed our order for chicks last spring, the company offered a free rare or exotic chick with your order. So, in addition to our laying hens, I got Bernadette.
Even as a day old chick she had feathers all the way down her feet and she was much larger than the others.
She was awkward and gawky as she grew, and never seemed to fit in with the others but we thought it was just a phase and she would grow out of it.
Not. Turns out, Bernadette was actually Bernard and she didn’t grow out of it. Since she he is a Cochin he was much larger than the hens. As he started performing his rooster duties, he was none too gentle and the hens have the battle scars to prove it. Note the missing feathers.
They ran from him, but he was so much larger they didn’t have much chance to get away.
If he was the same breed as the hens, Australorps or Barred Rocks, it probably would have been a lot better.
So, we knew Bernard would have to go. If you are squeamish, you may want to go back to the quilting page now.
Rick took care of the actual killing while Megan hid in the house.
After Bernard hung for a while to bleed, Rick started plucking.
We were quite surprised at how easily the feathers were removed. We didn’t have to scald Bernard, just pulled the feathers right out.
Rick got to use the very sharp military knife Alex gave him and it worked well!
Soon after that, Bernard was fried. I must admit he was a little tough, not the breed or the age of the chickens suggested for meat birds, but we didn’t want him to go to waste. We fed the broth and fat to the dogs which they thought was delicious.
The hens have been celebrating since Bernard has gone on to his reward. Egg production is up to about a dozen a day from our sixteen hens; very good considering the winter is usually the slow time for laying. We have a light on in the coop on a timer to supplement the daylight on these short winter days and that has worked really well. Our neighbors don’t have a light in their coop and haven’t had an egg in months.
We are hoping the hen’s missing feathers grow back now that they are left alone. Some day we are planning to order chicks to raise for meat birds. We could also get a Barred Rock or Australorp rooster and let one of the hens raise a batch of chicks to replace these hens when the time comes. These girls should lay well for at least the next two or three years though, so there is no hurry on new chicks.
Bernard is gone and sadly I don’t think anyone misses him. So there you have it Nick – man stuff: guns, blood, knives and dead bodies.