Monday, May 1, 2017

The tale of 2+2 cocks

It finally happened again.... We really needed to remove 2 cocks from our flock.
It had become obvious that Dr. Watson was a very weak cock. An outcast, constantly being bullied and harassed by Weasly. He was no longer part of the flock, sat by himself in a corner of the coup or roamed the garden all alone. He also was weak physically, not making a healthy, lively impression no more.
Weasley on the other hand was a splendid cock, full of vigour and colour. Unfortunately he had a meanstreak. Not only did he bully and harass Dr. Watson, but also Sirius and the other chickens. He would not tolerate anyone near him, when feeding and we often caught him attacking the others apparently out of the blue, causing a lot of stress within the flock. When they were out however, it was Sirius who kept an eye of everyone and stood on watch. Weasley did not show much signs of vigilance. A cock that was no contribution, except aesthetically. And I do not do aesthetics..... Well, not much, when the prime requirements are not fulfilled.
Life in the country isn't always fun, so the last day of april had a bit of a sad note.....


The procedure we followed this time was quite different from the first time. Now a quick and decisive blow to the back of head, while we held the animals up. Then we waited for the eyes to close and the animal to go limp. With the hatched the head was then severed, but still the body responded. Holding on firmly is still required, but it ended soon.
Then we plucked them. This is made much easier, when first dunked in a bucket with hot water (60C) and by removing small tufts of feathers at a time. Cleaning out the inserts was practically the same...
I have to say that this time I was not as shaken as the first time, but I still am reluctant to do this.
But this slaughtering session also had a lot of upsides. Dr. Watson was put out of his misery and he really was miserable as we found out when slaughtering him. His weakness showed in that he not only had footscab, but also lice. Around his neck feathers had felted together too. It would only have been a matter of time until he would have gotten sick. With Weasley gone, we really hope peace and quiet will be restored and levels of stress will be reduced.
On a practical note my wife has now a decent collection of feathers to use for her angel making. She will be using those feathers as wings. Our oldest daughter had decided to join us and watch how we killed and plucked Weasley. She then helped plucking him, so a first hands on experience for her! And she did not chicken out. She plucked some beautiful feathers for herself as well. We sat there and looked at the feathers; their colours, their structure and we were amazed. We also learned how new feathers grow as we found some. They start out as paintbrushes... sort of, a tiny brush of filaments in a shaft. Very hard to pluck, so next time I wait until they are done moulting.


But May came with happy tidings!
The weather improved considerably! A not unsubstantial rise in temperature and sunshine!!!
And I made arrangements to get two new cocks. Same race as we have now; hedemora and 8 weeks old. May I present......

Malfoy and Lupin
(can you tell we've got a Potter-thing here??)


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