Friday, May 3, 2013

Picking Up Chicks

I was making dinner last night and our neighbor came to the door to tell me Gandolf was taking chickens from the barn and taking them down near the creek, putting them down and going back up to the barn and repeating the process.  I ran out, and sure enough, he had taken 6 of the meat chickens down to the bottom field near the creek. 2 were dead. 3 were injured (slightly) and one was just stunned. Shannon and I were talking and we think he was trying to either protect them, or playing with them.  Because he was gentle in his carrying.  He didn't tear into them to eat them.  Because if he were trying to kill them to eat them, he wouldn't have left them alive to gather more. It was so strange! I put the live ones back in the coop, hoping they would be ok. But an hour or so later, I checked on them and the other chickens were pecking at their injuries. SO, I felt it was more humane to just butcher them. I skinned them and put 4 in the freezer. Their skin was torn, but there were no puncture wounds.  I put one around Gandolf's neck to prevent him from ever putting another in his mouth. Suzanne and Bill, our trusty chicken loving neighbors, have had success with this before. We'll see. I did an inventory tonight of the babies (chickens) and I started with 55 and now only have 46. 4 baby chicks died (pretty typical), lost 4 yesterday, have lost 7 to air predators (hawks).   I'm thinking that when I put them outside in their fenced in  coop that is outside, hawks are getting them. I think this because none of the bigger chicks are missing. I'm disgusted. Gandolf can't protect from air predators, and then he inadvertently became one himself. I'm sad

I tied a dead Cornish rock around his neck.  It's an old-timey way of preventing a dog from touching the chickens in the future.  We'll try it for a few days.  Poor Gandolf. 

I skinned the chickens.  As you can see, there was no damage or puncture wounds to the meat.  I just couldn't bear throwing out these perfectly good chickens that I've raised for the last 3 weeks.  They weighed in at around 2-3 pounds each dressed.  They're now in our freezer.  I'm impressed with their growth though!  I bought them as day old chicks April 8, and on May 2 they were butchered.  Pretty impressive.  

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