Rooster Armageddon

De-headed Rooster
Ken holding one of the unfortunate roosters.

Interesting day on the farm today.  First of all, it actually felt like winter, especially this evening when the freezing rain started to fall as we were closing up the birds for the night.  Unfortunately, the chickens will have a little less body heat tonight; we culled three roosters this afternoon.

three plucked roosters
Our three plucked roosters ready for gutting

When the ratio of hens to roosters gets out of balance bad things happen and mostly to the hens.  However, the cocks can wreak havoc on each other, I guess that is how cock-fighting got started, because they really go after each other.  One could have no rooster and still have a decent flock, but our intentions are to breed new chickens.  We all know how baby’s are made. . . well it is the same for chickens there has to be a male and a female to make new chickens.  In order to breed “true chickens” we need a hen and a rooster of each breed desired.  We currently have four breeds: Buff Orphington, Rock Barr, Hampshire Red, and Black Jersey Giants.  They were all purchased from a reputable breeder, but no matter how good a breeder you are you cannot play God (or Goddess) and choose what sex the chicks that hatch are.  It is hard to tell what sex they are until they are two or even three months old.  Therefore, it is up to the buyer who receives the purchased chickens to restore the male/female balance of the flock.

Rooster Dinner
This one is dressed and ready for the oven with sweet potatoes and beets from the garden. I have to admit it was delicious!! And for dessert we had homemade blueberry pie made with our frozen blueberries from last season.

Making long story longer, this is exactly what we did today.  As I type this, one of our roosters is in the oven roosting with beets, sweet potatoes (both grown on the farm), carrots, and potatoes.  We are looking forward to a delicious dinner and give thanks to the rooster.  Ken did the neck breaking and head removal, then I took over to do the plucking and gutting.  One of the roosters we gave away to a wonderful elder member of the community who is always offering to help everyone, the second (as I mentioned) went into the oven, and the third went into the freezer.

We still have another 10 or more roosters to remove from the flock, but all in due time.  The full-on rooster Armageddon can wait for another day.

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Let The Trenching Begin

Early last fall we had a new well dug, which will eventually be part of an extensive irrigation system for watering crops.  But its main purpose is to supply water to several stock tanks that will ensure our (soon to come) livestock have a consistent source of hydration.  Once the project is complete, the Soil and Water District (USDA) of Hickory County will offing help with the cost.  In return, we are promising to fence off the creek/stream that runs through the property giving 150 feet either side, protection from the livestock.  The program is a stream protection/water quality initiative funded through the US Farm Bill’s conservation allocation.  Conservation is a very small percentage (less than 10%) of the overall farm bill, but the program is set in place help farmers protect the natural resources on their property and help them install systems that would otherwise be out of their means.  These programs are much-needed and appreciated.

So what’s this talk of trenching?  Well, in order to get the water to the lower field we have to lay many, many feet of PVC pipe.  It is amazing how small the pipe is and how deep and wide the trench has to be!  We rented an excavator and got to work.  After four days and many headaches, which I won’t go into, we are well on our way to getting the trench finished, then the heard work of moving rocks at the base of the trench, laying pipe, and cover it begins.

Onions

Happy new year!

We planted four flats of Onions today.  I have never grown onions before so I am very much looking forward to the learning experience.  Of course I am hopping the learning is also a crop-producing venture and many delicious onions follow!