Thursday, October 28, 2010

The rooster

Over at Frugal Kiwi I got reminded about one of the stories that go with our hens.

This was some time back when we were living out on the Otago Peninsular in a very small 1871 cottage in poor repair. It was an idyllic spot with a stream full of crabs and whitebait and the odd eel. We even spotted an octopus or so and various fish. There were canoes we could launch off the front lawn when the tide was in half way and paddle down under the road bridge and into the bay. (Any higher and the boat wouldn't fit under and lower meant you ran aground ).

However, to get back to the main story, we had gained a few chickens from a friend. There were two hens and a rooster all half-bred bantam crosses. The ladies were very prolific and managed to raise 18 chicks in one nest and 12 in the other. Overpopulation ruled!

Fortunately most of these offspring turned out to be hens but as we were severely short of space, we gave one hen and her 12 chicks away and kept the other hen. The extra roosters would be for the pot. Once the hens were grown, we made our choices and gave the rest away along with a couple of the roosters. That left us with five hens and three roosters.

We let the two young roosters free range permanently and caged the hens and the senior rooster each night. This worked well for about a year and then things changed - for the worse. The large white rooster started acting up and beating up the senior rooster. That couldn't continue so we decided he just had to go.

The deed had to be done after dark as he was impossible to catch until he'd roosted for the night so we kept an eye on him until he settled and then planned the assault with the neighbours in tow as backstop and because they owned a large machete to do the chop and for moral support (we had only done this once before).

Tim, the neighbour, was a tall thin person looking rather like he should be in a monastery of the more laid back sort, so he got the job of trying to get the bird first. It was a bit out of reach however and departed rapidly for the hills followed by various bits of profanity.

Tim extracted himself from the tree along with Matt, who had been acting as backstop in the other side of the tree, and we all set out in search of the missing rooster. Tim still had the machete in his hand as we all wandered round the local houses looking for that rooster.

I often wonder what the people in the b&b next door thought when Tim wandered up to their door, in the middle of the night, complete with machete, and asked if they had seen a white rooster go past :) Must have made their stay 'interesting'!!

We did find the rooster a few minutes later in somebodies back yard and dragged it back to face execution. That went without a hitch and the result was a pot of chicken soup. Most useful thing that rooster ever achieved.

viv in nz

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