Monday, June 18, 2007

fowl news

our friends whom have a delightfully large family came to help us butcher our remaining broiler chickens. the kids played while adults got gruesome. i showed shane how we butcher. he was a quick study, i knew he would be. we killed 19 in about four hours. after the first two hours the girls gave up outdoor plucking and retreated to the air conditioned house to do the final touches on the birds. they also had the tougher job of monitoring the progressively feisty children. about three hours is the physical limit of children in that situation.
we plan to give them five chickens for their much appreciated help. i hope they feel it is worth it. we got these chicks from the local hatchery estes and they didn't do nearly as well as the ones that we get from mcmurrary hatchery. it might be all luck but it seems that every chicken we get from estes is of questionable bloodlines. slightly wrong combs on our layers, flecks of wrong color in the broilers are two examples. further more the (leg issue)death rate on the estes broilers is not acceptable. the reason for my rant is because i know that five broilers of last batch (from mcmurrary hatchery) would be more than enough compensation for the grueling day our friends spent butchering. the problem is we can't really afford to exchange any more because our financial equation will be backwards. i know that they were hating it toward the end of the day but i hope that it is similar to child birth, the pain is easily forgotten when the reward is tasted.
when we tried our first experiment of six chickens and butchered them at the end of the day we said "this isn't for us" then a few weeks later we ate one of the chickens and promptly ordered 25 chicks to raise and butcher.
in other fowl news we got ten guineas in the mail (from mcmurrary hatchery). five of them promptly disappeared, vanished without a trace. we thought a snake was the only explanation, there wasn't any sign of death or escape but i promptly shored up the edges of the brooder coop which was sitting on the ground in the corner of the garden. we leave the bottom exposed so they can scratch the earth and grass as soon as possible. you might see where this is going. then the next day tabitha was walking by the compost bin and thought she heard the keet squawk. there they all were cozied up under the warm compost and all survived the cold night. imagine the odds that they found the only possible warm safe spot to hide. anyway we are very happy to have them all safe and sound.
i was tagged for a mime and want to do it, really i do, but just haven't had the time. friends and family have been bleating for an update so i must carry on.
i know that i am overdue for a panorama but my ftp issues still plague me and relying on tabitha's xanga account is just daunting enough to keep it on the back burner.

finally happy birthday to my perpetual fathers day present, Kassiopeia Saffron Rose O'Melay, she is a big-girl three years old today.
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