This post follows on from From Chicks to Chickens (And Roosters).
After the hens and roosters had had time to grow out a bit more after we had moved them over to live with the pigs, it was time to cull the roosters and the hens with bad legs. Originally our plan was to keep all hens to produce eggs and cull all roosters for meat. However again, due to our poor feeding regime for the first batch of chicks (see Chicks and Their Food), our first lot of hens had bad legs, which in the long run would cause problems e.g. they couldn’t roost properly
Now you might be wondering how Kel knew how to cull a chicken, and if he did, whether he was doing it humanely.
Awhile ago you might remember us mention that we went to a field day in our local area as a part of Bega Valley Gourmet Meats, the small species abattoir in Bega (if you weren’t aware, they are the only hand processing facility left in NSW). We volunteered our time there for a bit over a year (Kel with processing and myself with administration) and that is where Kel learnt to cull chickens, and all by hand (unlike most abattoirs). If you’re interested in knowing the ins and outs, Kel’s hoping to one day do a video post on how it’s done so stay tuned for that!
There were two roosters that missed the original cull. One of them because somehow he just got lucky and Kel missed him, and the other because Kel couldn’t part with him. The one that he couldn’t part with was a cross between an Australorp and an ISA Brown, what we have now named an “ISAlorp”. He reminded us of Arnold Schwarzenegger because he was so big and also the way he puffed his chest out as he strutted around. We named him Arnie and he became head of the flock. As he was one of the younger roosters, his legs were fine. The other rooster on the other hand, would not be so lucky in the future as he did have bad legs.
Unfortunately we don’t have a picture of Arnie (can you believe it?) and he is no longer with us (that’s another story).
And how were the pigs and chickens going living together? They were going great! They were getting along well, even becoming friends. The chickens were scratching up the pig’s manure and eating the bugs, and the pigs were doing their job as protectors as we had no problems with predators for the chickens. However soon the chickens figured out how to go through the electric fence and started roaming a little further around in the bush. It was all fine for awhile however the pigs could only protect the chickens when they were in the paddock with them and the predators soon realised this…
Stay tuned for what happened next.