05 October, 2011

Wherein I'm Back & a Chicken Feeds Us.

Ahhh, I hope I'm back from my blogging hiatus. We'll see, it's a busy time. What's been going on? Well, most recently supper.
Our chicken mortality rate is high, & I'm hopeful our learning curve is over. Last month we were thankful to be blessed to have 2 clutches hatch, 11 chicks in all. 1 chick has died so far, I think the momma squashed it to death between herself & the wall of her nursery box. It was still very limp when I found it.

Chicken death count so far: 2 to the dog, 1 to the July heat, 1 (July) broodied to death, 1 (July)egg bound?, 1 (July baby) pecked to death, 1 (baby) of mysterious causes, 2 to the supper table. July was hot & discouraging, I'm sure for many people, but our biggest & fattest hens couldn't take it. RIP Lady Gaga. It was getting to be so often I just quit burying them. Something was digging them up & feasting anyways, our little graveyard is way far away from the coop & house. I just tossed them in an impassable place.

From all of this death, I was able to produce a meal entirely off of our land! Yesterday, it was exciting. Not so for Victor, he's got a very weak stomach. Chicken for the supper table #2 (named "Paper" by Victor because of her white color) fell or landed funny or was injured by another chicken or spider bit or SOMETHING & her legs didn't work right for her. She would sit & eat on her backwards knees & would drag herself around, her toes getting caught underneath of her & was an altogether pathetic sight.

She didn't seem to be in pain, no broken bones & made no more than usual complaint when picked up. I fed her my sick chicken mash ( Yogurt, cracked wheat, oat & cornmeal mixed w/ applesauce & honey) & isolated her for the day. There was no improvement after 3 days. Mike let her out out of pity because she REALLY wanted to be w/ the other chickens. They are social sun worshipping birds. I went outside & found her head & face pecked all bloody, so chicken for tomorrow's supper it was. Poor Paper. She was about 12-13 weeks, so she still hadn't begun to lay & was still tender. I was going to respectfully kill her but compromised. I didn't want to have to wash an apron.

So I did love on her, only on the chopping block instead of my lap. I rubbed her neck, which was oily as she couldn't dust herself (more confirmation she belonged in the cull category) & she cooed a little bit & stretched it out & closed her eyes. This took 3 or 4 minutes of love to build up my nerve. I wanted her really relaxed. Then wham! She didn't flop as much as I thought she would, maybe because her nerves were already damaged?

Miranda greeted me at the door, ecstatic.
"Chicky!" She doesn't care if there's a head or not. The roasting pan I had put on before was ready to scald & aid in de-feathering. That was the worst part. Feathers go into a dish pan filled w/ water & borax for cleaning. They'll come in handy somewhere. I dry them in onion bags on the clothesline.
I had Carla to go w/ me every step of the way, though I was slower than w/ Jupiter, our othe cull rooster & first supper chicken. I don't like to rush. V & C don't mind exploring a chicken if the feathers are off. She recommended roasting or frying so I stuffed her w/ potatoes, carrots & garlic I had grown & onions I hadn't. Mike was out hunting so he came in late but he ate & remarked on the ingredients & said he was proud of me. It is much more satisfying to have use of our household economy rather than the dependence on a 3rd party (Super Stuff-Mart). Thanks to God for the opportunity to gain & use this knowledge & Paper for watching her hatch & learn chick things & then poult things & I am sorry we'll not be getting any eggs from her but thankful for another carcass to add to my bone bag for stock.

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