Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cockerel cowardice

OK, I admit it, I'm a big, fat Jessie; a cowardy custard of the deepest shade of yellow.

We have far too many cockerels and a cull is long overdue, but I'm finding all sorts of reasons not to do the deed.

I don't know if it's because I'm soft. It's certainly not because I like them. With the obvious exception of Adam and Jarvis - who both seem secure enough in their status to be relatively easy-going - they are total bastards.

Five of the younger ones are especially deserving of a well-wrung neck. They have teamed up and now go about the place gang-raping any hen unfortunate enough to cross their path. I've got to do something, but I'm finding all sorts of excuses not to.

I've always been scared of chickens, so just picking one up is an achievement. I managed it today. I stood quietly behind him as he pecked at a few grains and quickly lifted him up. I should then have pulled his neck, but he looked at me, I looked at him and put him down.


The piglets are growing fast, just as their mum is shedding weight - lots of it. Poor Molly always struggles when nursing piglets; her backbone is sticking up and she is more grey and white than black and white.

Feeding her reminds me of shovelling coal into the Flying Scotsman at top speed. She's getting between 15 and 20lb of feed a day, but still can't seem to get enough.

The good news for Molly is that I'll wean the piglets as soon as possible - in a couple of weeks when they are six weeks old and she can get some well-deserved rest.


andrea said...

Don't wean the piglets or Molly will end up like me -- with no discernible backbone (both figuratively *and* literally). As for the cockerels I might take a few on. Payback for having to ride the horse just to pass the evil rooster in my uncle's yard years ago.

Lindsay said...

Like you, I could hardly pick up the chickens we used to keep. My father wrung their necks until the day came when he thought he had a killed a cockerel - ten minutes later it came to life! Urghh!

Dave said...

Feed the cockerels to Molly.

I, Like The View said...

how early on can you tell that they are boys? can't you do the deed when they're much smaller to deal with. . . or is that not the point at all

the piglet on the top of the pile looks as if he's very happy!

glad you got home safely

Richard said...

That's a great picture, the expression on that piglet's face is wonderful.

Rog said...

Is this where the adjective "chicken" comes from?

I feel queazy carving a roast chicken....

zIggI said...

haven't you a macho friend who could do the deed?? I couldn't do it either.

Piglets looking lovely!

Arabella said...

Aw, you're not pathetic. You could try a bit of role play, run around the yard with a cleaver and scream. Or plant your feet apart, bend at the knee and think Maori.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Farmer Pudding's Weaning Advice Column

Piglets are usually weaned at 8 weeks of age, although it is usually earlier for commercial pigs.
Weaning can be stressful for the sow and the piglets.
It is generally better to remove the sows and not the piglets in order to reduce the stress on the piglets.
If the piglets are to be moved, try to move them beyond the sight, smell or earshot of the sow to help reduce the stress of weaning.
Make sure that the piglets are able to use the feeders and drinkers or are familiar with the feeders and drinkers so that the weaners do not go hungry or dehydrate.
From as early as a week to 3 weeks of age the piglets can be given creep feed so that they become less dependent on the sows milk which from 3 weeks onwards will decline in production. This starts to prepare the piglets for weaning. Starter creep feed is usually milk based and then the piglets will gradually be moved onto a grower feed that has the required level of protein for the piglets. From three weeks of age the amount of feed can be increased.
Once the piglets have been weaned it may be best to offer feed and water in shallow troughs so that the food and water keeps fresh and appealling to the weaners.

The Birdwatcher said...

Good luck!

Mr VeryVeryBored said...

Can't you organise some sort of humane "accident" that would do away with the lot of them? Keep a clear conscience and all that? Maybe put together some sort of dossier that "proves" that they are doing something nefarious that represents a risk to national security?

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Chopping block and sharp axe required I reckon! We had a sweetheart called Webster who terrified me - the fox got him!!

Big Boy Named Bill said...

I put a sign out the front of my house: FREE ROOSTERS. You'd be surprised how many poor suckers want a rooster for their hens! And sometimes someone comes along who wants to fill their freezer with free free-range chooks... good on 'em, I say. Take the lot!