Four decibels less

Araucana bantam rooster

It finally happened this week: the first complaint about our chickens being too noisy. Fair enough too, nine roosters crowing in unison is bloody ridiculous. I mean, we’re not running a charity home for useless cocks! I was pleased to show the landlord’s wife that I had already taken steps to terminate the problem, with five of the offending beasties in the “death row” pen, awaiting execution. Such is the nature of being born male surplus to need on a farm.

They start out so cute and innocent, yet they all grow up to be soundwave terrorists

They start out so cute and innocent, yet they all grow up to be soundwave terrorists

I had been plotting the demise of these aggressive louts for weeks already, as more and more of our home-hatched Araucana chicks turned out to be roosters. Oh the dismay upon hearing their awkward baby crows! Oh the rage as the whole hoard cranked out full blown rooster anthems at 4am! Fortunately I am up at 4am anyway, getting ready for work, but I did feel vaguely sorry for one of our neighbours who I know is a shift worker. The other neighbours, a couple who foster feral cats and cultivate weeds along their boundary fence, I must admit I savoured their getting a rude pre-dawn awakening, thanks to my army of feathered heralds. Hehe. The flipside to my spiteful glee was being woken up myself on sunday mornings by relentless deafening crows. My only day off – sleep-in thwarted. Owh, so sad.

So the cretins had to go. The roosters, not the neighbours, I mean.

You are going to die

You are going to die

Today my dad came round to help me knock four of them off. Doling out death is not an enjoyable prospect to face alone, the task is much less grim with company. I used my broom handle technique, where I first calm the chicken by laying it on its back and massaging its crop, then I stretch out its neck, placing the broom handle lengthwise on top. Then I step down on either end of the broom handle, grab the chicken’s legs and wrench upwards to snap the neck. Dad was rather dubious after the grisly results of my last culling attempt, which I haven’t mentioned here yet. This time, I got three from three though – one broken neck, two accidental decapitations… and a lot of blood spatter! Ah well. Dad had a go at snapping the one rooster’s neck with his hands, not as easy as it looks! Chicken necks are super bendy, and though we did eventually hear the pop of vertebra separating, it probably wasn’t the cleanest of deaths.

Because the Araucanas are only bantams, there’s not really enough meat to warrant butchering them to eat. So I contacted a local chap who rescues and rehabilitates injured birds of prey, who said he would gratefully take the carcasses, feathers and gizzards and all, to feed his raptors. So now we have four decibels less, and he has four square meals for his deserving birds. Smiles all round!

And Sir lives to see another day… for now.

Sir

Rooster Survivor – farmers prefer gentlemen

This is the only chicken we have named. By virtue of his polite and gentle demeanor, our blue Australorp rooster Sir has won his name and his place as flock protector. Despite being quite the gentleman, he does sometimes act … Continue reading

Grass is greener

grass is greener

Our electric fence battery keeps running flat. The horses have discovered they can push on the electric wire braid until it sinks to the ground, and step over it into the promised land of growing grass. They’ve busted into the pasture four times over the past couple of weeks. I can’t hold it against them, I’d do the same if I were a bored horse in a sand run with lush green grass just a hot wire away. Particularly if the hot wire is only hot a very little of the time.

It’s my own fault really. I’ve recently extended the horses’ run so they can shelter under some trees, which is good because they don’t spend all day hanging around the shade of the stables. Unless it’s really hot or there’s heavy rain, they prefer natural shade. But it does mean the electric wire frequently makes contact with tree trunks and shorts out, running down the battery within a day or two.

It’s annoying but once I have covered the tricky bits with more lengths of old hose as an insulator, it shouldn’t be too bad. There are always other jobs to do and this one has just fallen by the wayside. Until I fix it up, let the escapees have their fun.

Johnny on the other side of the fence

From what I can tell, Calais uses Johnny as a sort of battering ram to test the electric and push it down, pretty clever. Though he’s not always keen to follow Johnny across that wire once its down. He’s stepped on a live wire before, and he remembers the bite.

Calais confused on the other side of the wire

You can sense how pleased Jonathon is, to be out of range of the bossy little bum-biter, for a brief while. Until I catch him and return him to the run.

Johnny on the forbidden pasture

He was happy to come willingly this time, good naughty boy!