End to the reign of terror

We got the layer chicks in May, I suspected we had a rooster.  Couple months later that turned out to be true.  When we put the birds out in the supplemental fence the rooster started getting aggressive.  He would not let the other birds out of the coop, ran them off the food and was generally a jerk.  I would go let them out every morning and instantly a bad mood would hit me.  The bird had to go.  Every morning I would text Boomer and say this bird has to go.  With a quick end of summer trip to Florida, the beginning of high school for the daughter, and work prevented taking care of this PITA.  Finally a day off for both of us, a day that wasn’t a MILLION degrees and the reign of terror is over.  I know the world needs roosters, but we are okay with out one.  I don’t want to worry about a bird coming after me or getting aggressive if the neighbors grand-kids comes over to see the birds.

Now the girls can relax, eat and enjoy being chickens in the yard and soon, hopefully lay a few eggs.  Oh and that is left eye with her head up, she is the new Ona.  Something got at her while they were still in the brooder, scratched her neck area and damaged her eye.  Although it is a little off putting, she still has one good eye.


They should start growing and putting on weight now that the rooster isn’t there to prevent them from eating.

The rooster

IMG_9824He still can’t pronounce cock-a-doodle-doo, it is more of a toot-too-toot-a-too.

IMG_9825The hens have little to no cobs or red waddles.

We think this is might be a rooster

IMG_9739This one stands taller and got that comb and waddle before the others.  Boomer thought he heard an attempt at a cockadoodledoo the other night when he was outside grilling. Only time will tell.

Garden highlights

IMG_9493The start of a sunflower

IMG_9496The worlds smallest jalapeno pepper

IMG_9499The slicers are shaping up nicely

IMG_9502Bells are looking good

IMG_9506The sungold cherry tomatoes.  Boomer doesn’t like red cherry tomatoes, but likes the orange ones, so that’s what I planted.  Who says people don’t change?!


One month old

These are the awkward teen birds that look a little odd.

IMG_9580I would bet we have a rooster in there but only time will tell.  Going to try and build a transition coop for the little birds.  Boomer and Brent are going to install some deep ground rods that will hopefully super charge the fence.  Who knows if these birds will survive the first molt.  The black and white birds did not.

And now we have none

Today is the first day in about 2 1/2 years that I haven’t HAD to get up to let the chickens out.  Yesterday between 10a and 1p something got all 4 of our big birds.  This attack is different for lots of reasons.  Whatever got in there got all of our birds.  Another difference, the attack normally happens in the pen and then the birds are left in the pen, this time the birds were dragged out of the pen and placed in a little wooded area 10 feet on the other side of the fence line in a group.  So what works in a group or alone with the plan of storing these birds for later?  The birds were ripped up in different places, normally when its a dog, the birds have legs that are popped out of the socket like Floppy, or bites on the backs like Molly in the last attack.  Ona, the Rasputin of the bird world, who has survived from not going in the cone the day we got her and has been untouchable in all other attacks is missing.  There is a pile of her feathers, but we can’t find the carcass, or any other sign of her.  That is another unsettling part of this.  Like maybe she will just show back up, out of the blue.  I don’t remember how long I kept keeping an eye out for Buddy our mellow rooster, but it took a while getting used to not having him and his cockadoodledoo around.  I am bummed, more so than in the past, cause we still had birds to feed and take care of.  (Yes I have 6 little month old chicks in the brooder, but it will be quite a while before they are out scratching and pecking, being the big birds)

—->now is your chance to leave the page if you don’t want to see pictures

I am posting pictures, just so chicken friends can see and maybe help us figure out what the heck did this.  Heads were still on.



IMG_9570This was in the pen, no feathers in the coop, so the birds didn’t do what they normally do, which is hide out in coop.  Looks like they were dragged under the fence.


Two to three more piles of feathers on the way to where they were piled up.IMG_9571

The grass on the neighbors property is knocked down, there are no animals on pasture or on the property that would be in this area.IMG_9567

This is how we found 3 of the birds.




First Chicken day at home

I am going to be honest with you…meat birds are work.  They really are stinky messy birds.  We were lucky this year, it was warmer this year and they were outside more of the 8 weeks they were alive.  With all that is going on this coming week/weekend, we had to process the birds yesterday.

I had a short shift at work, leaving boomer with the set up duties.  We got started around 330 hoping to get at least half of the birds done before the dump closed at 7.  The first bird or two is when you question your marriage.  We both have our ideas of how we should do both our own job and the job of the other…okay maybe it is just me having ideas about how he should do his job.  We have less than perfect tools and the concern of nosy neighbors, it makes you question if this was a good idea for the first 30 min.

After the 3rd bird, our expectation of how it was supposed to go, lines up with the reality. Our cone situation, thumbs down.  Our knife situation, thumbs down.  Our drill situation, thumbs down.  With the Cornish cross, they have such broad breast and short necks, you can’t always get them in the right position to do the job right.  (we have had to cut and roll the metal to allow more access, but now you have jagged metal which can cut his hands.)  The drill plucker did about the same this year as last year, which was not well at all.  So instead of sknning like last year, I decided my love of crispy skin on legs and thighs was worth the work of hand plucking.

We got into a groove, did more hand washing and cleaning of surfaces than we have to at the farm, but by 5 we were rolling on the last few birds.  We were cleaned up and headed to the dump by 6.  All but 3 birds were cleaned up, cut up and vacuum packed in the freezer by 730.  Dinner was in the crock pot and we were eating by 8.

Meat birds are a lot of work.  I know most people just grab a pack of chicken at the store and put zero thought into the work involved with raising animals humanely.  As far as price, the birds were 3 bucks a piece, we got a free bird from a friend who didn’t want to raise as meat bird.  3 bags of feed 12 bucks a piece, works out to about 6 dollars for a whole bird.  Not bad.  I don’t add in the aggravation, all the poop and feeding and watering 2 to 3 times a day.  The aggravation is over except for being sore.  The reward 22-30 meals in the freezer.

Next year, we will get a better cone.  And investigate a better plucking option,  Oh and maybe not have the birds reach market weight at the busiest time of the year.