These chickens hatched from eggs our hens laid in the spring, just after Rudy the Rooster sacrificed himself to save the flock from a fox. For a few days after his death, instead of selling or eating the eggs our hens laid, we placed them carefully in an incubator. Three weeks later we were rewarded with a new generation of spotted chickens.
We got about 18 roosters and 10 hens out of the batch we hatched, but lost three to dogs while we raised them, leaving us with 15 roosters and 9 hens.
We’ve kept three of the roosters–Vinny (AKA King Kamehameha), Ann Margaret (AKA Rooster AM) and Doodle-Do (named because he only DOODLE-DOs instead of COCK-a-DOODLE-DOs). Actually, Doodle-Do was an accidental save; when we went to cull the flock this morning at 4am he was perched too high in the rafters to grab. When the sun rose and Doodle-Do noticed he was one of the chosen few left, he stood like an opera singer in the balcony, but in the open hay door on the second floor of the barn. Over looking his kingdom–the garage, our house, the front yard–he let out his loudest, proudest, most pathetic DOODLE-DOOOOOOO ever, complete with wing flapping and pacing back and forth. He was companding his kingdom to awaken, embrace this beautiful day.
I kind of felt embarrassed for him. Poor thing thinks he sounds great, like an Idol singer.
And so Doodle-Do lives another day.
The rest of the roosters have reached the end of their lives and are being processed at a USDA certified-organic facility a few hours away. They’ll return in a cooler this afternoon. It makes me sad; this is my first time raising meat. But I know if we didn’t process them they’d kill eachother in the next few weeks fighting over the hens, and they wouldn’t do it very humanely. And then their death would be a waste, nothing would be gained.
But this way–we gave them life and made it darn great–they’ve existed and exited as peacefully as possible. It’s our responsibility as compassionate, conscientious carnivores.
These animals are happy right up until their last moments.
Yep. They’re very happy chickens.
Some of the teen hens have started laying eggs, which means we’ve got a few extra these days–which is great. We had been selling out to the point that we didn’t even have any for us to eat.
It’s a good problem to have.