Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Last time I ordered chickens, I messed up and didn't click the "hens only" choice. As fate would have it, we ended up with 20 roosters out of the 50 hens I thought I ordered. We decided that we could can them, however, and that all would be fine.
That was last fall.
All winter I fed these monsters. They fought. They drove my hens crazy. Even when I put them in the "Green Mile" lot, they managed to bribe Louie into escaping his lot and tearing up their fence so they could escape. I think they told him about the trash can of scratch in their lot... Anyhow, there was just no keeping them in and away from the hens. Or me. I was flogged more than I can count, dirty rascals.
I grew to hate these guys. Hate. Them. My poor hens were denuded of feathers. They would gang up on one and assault her, sometimes until she was nearly dead. I'd beat them off with sticks, kick them away, spray them with the water hose, anything to get them to leave the gals alone. I've even been known to grab them by the tail feathers and jerk them out of the henhouse in order to give the girls some relief. Yet, somehow, these nasty roosters would scale the fence and be right back in there.
I really hated them.
I kept looking for someone to kill them. I just couldn't. No matter how much I hated them, I couldn't do it. Twice we thought we had someone, but then something would come up and I'd still have roosters. Finally, though, last week, I found a willing soul and made an execution date. They would die on Sunday.
The Mister and I caught them on Saturday night, put them in the largest dog carriers in the truck bed to wait for their last ride. I admit it; all the way to the other farm, I was saying, "Dead rooster walking on the Green Mile!" It felt good.
Two hours later, we had roosters in the cooler and ready for canning. Roosters are tough, even when they have been grain fed and free range, so we first boiled them for nearly an hour in salty water. Then, they were deboned and the meat put in pint jars and processed for 75 minutes.
While I am not in the mood for rooster right now, I know that come winter, there will be some mighty fine chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, and chicken gravy! And the girls? They were calm, happy, and looking so much better yesterday. I guess even chickens wish they didn't have males around sometimes....