Category Archives: chickens

Killing chickens

I wanted to use the title ‘dispatching chickens’ but lets be honest your making it dead your killing it. Yesterday was my worst day of poultry keeping, I’ve had to kill chickens before, I’ve seen the fox run off with one but yesterday really tested my resolve. Not that backyard poultry keeping caused the problem but I sometimes feel the close proximity to neighbors makes such jobs harder.

IF YOU ARE VEGETARIAN OR SQUEAMISH PLEASE DON’T READ ON.

One of our hens must of had a prolapse while laying in the morning, sometimes this can be treated by cleaning and allowing to retract (sometimes) sadly as I just fed them that morning then didn’t go out again until later that evening I couldn’t do anything about it. Now this next bit still makes me feel queasy but I want to share it to try and prevent it in future.

I first noticed something was wrong as I looked out the kitchen window one hen was sat on the ground while the two others were playing with something. That something turned out to be the prolapsed hens intestines! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so shocked, guilty and sick.

There was no choice but to swiftly put it out of it’s misery, luckily there were two of us at this point. There are many ways of dispatching a chicken but for me as I don’t do it often we do it as follows.

Place the hen in a bag or cloth with her head poking out, make a noose with cord, place it round her neck. With one person holding the body by a wooden chopping block, the other ‘the dispatcher’ stretches out the neck, not tight but enough to expose to neck with one hand and quickly -using a sharp axe, you chop off the head. The body will kick and flap this is why having it already in a bag helps.

It’s perhaps not the only way but for me it seems to work well and most importantly it’s quick and there can be no mistakes. Image

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Garden march 14

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The postman the hen and the phone box

Having lived here for a year and a half today is the first time I’ve spoken to the postman. We chatted and the conversation obviously turned to birds. I thought I’d butter him up so I gave him some eggs, not sure what I’m getting into his good books for he still has to deliver the gas bill. However the meeting was not totally one sided apparently a neighbour -who has a red phone box in his back garden- has been moaning that you can’t get fresh eggs anymore, well call me the weaver but I see an opportunity there. Eggs for cash I wonder if it’ll catch on?

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More poultry problems

After last weeks attack on the chickens I’ve been on my guard but was not expecting what would happen next. I let the chickens out as normal carrying their food round to the back of the house as there has been quite a few rats round the coop and I thought this might control it a bit.

I’d gone back inside to make the morning brew and it was a while before I noticed that Allen (the cockerel) was not about, I started to panic a bit as the memory of last week was still fresh, sadly when I looked in the coop he was laying there dead.

I checked the body no sign of attack or injury it was very strange. It had been very cold that night but it has been colder. My farmer friend said that it is something you have to get used to, he’s right there not pets there farm animals working for me. I was still quite upset though when I buried him.

fantastic Mr Fox 1 Chickens 0

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Well we’ve had the chickens for nearly a year now and it’s been a pleasure with no real problems, other than losing the three day old chicks mysteriously one night. Well dying not being abducted by aliens.

However perhaps this relaxed attitude was the reason I forgot to close the gate on the chicken run. They live in old dog kennels, having a secure house surrounded by a wire fence. It has a concrete floor and is walled on two sides, pretty much a fortress, well that is if the gates shut!

I was just about to write an excuse but there is none, they are my responsibility and I let them down, that makes me feel bad but it’s also a lesson I’ll never forget.

I knew what was going on as soon as I heard Allen (the cockerel) doing his panic crow, it was about five in the morning, I raced to the window to see him and the fox fighting it out. Quite amazing really, he’s not the biggest cockerel and it seemed a fully grown fox. By the time I’d got outside the scene seemed a lot different the fox had scarpered but Allen lay in a strange position. I marched up to perform what I thought would be my first chicken dispatch and by moonlight just to add to the drama. However just as I was about to take hold of him he jumped up and ran off!

I searched but could not find any of the hens or Allen by this time, so I made a brew and just hung around until morning, all expecting not to see any of them again. By the time it was light all but one of the hens were back scratching and crapping all over the lawn. I was relieved to have not lost them all but guilty that it was my fault.

The lesson never let your guard down, well let the guard down but don’t forget to shut the gate too, well you know what I mean.