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.
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.
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.