The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Flock merger and new management

White Cochin hen and Dark Cornish cockerelsThe current small subset of the forest pasture has finally been mostly denuded.  In preparation for switching the cockerels over to the larger paddock (where the weeds are now waist-high), I opened the dividing gate and let the mother hen and her chick mingle with the flock.

I was a bit concerned that the lone chick would be no match for 25 mostly grown cockerels, but I needn't have worried.  When I went in to feed the combined flock Friday morning, the cockerels stampeded me and even rushed out the door.  Were they starving?  Nope.  They were just terrified of Mama Hen, who was walking behind them.

Dark Cornish cockerelsAll the mother hen has to do is glare in their general direction and 25 teenage males scatter in terror.  How's that for a matriarch?

On a semi-related note, next week we'll be slaughtering our first round of cockerels.  If you're not ready to see that part of the life cycle, you have now been forewarned.

All of our chicks were raised on our homemade chicken waterer from day one.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I hope you do a bit of video like on the Joel Salatin site. It's been ... years since my grandmother sent me out to catch and wring a chickens' neck but I was never in on the rest of the dressing out. I guess I wasn't old enough to be trusted around the boiling water and kitchen knives. An adult would dip in the boiling water and then the feathers came off pretty fast. My mother would run the bird over an open fire to get all the pin feathers, then the rest was a mystery 'till it was in the skillet or pot. I never could figure out how my grandmother would stick dough in a pot with the chicken and have dumplings come out better than any biscuit my mother ever made, yumm.
Comment by vester Sat Jun 12 18:25:04 2010
Actually, Mark made a video of the butchering and dressing process to go on the CD with our chicken waterers. We're proficient but not experts, so he filmed some friends of ours who raise hundreds of broilers every year to sell the meat. It's amazing how dressing chickens with an expert for an hour or so turns a scary mystery into a skill.
Comment by anna Sun Jun 13 10:44:29 2010

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