Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Whitey's rule ends as Big Boy arrives

Whitey has been a good cockerel to have around. Full of noise and bluster as a cockerel should be, he has giving us a good introduction into the ways of the chicken family.

A lot of people just keep hens, preferring not to have the complications of a having a cockerel around. They do, after all, crow. Especially early in the morning, and also during the day as well. It is as if they are saying, "Come on everybody, time to get up" if it is around early dawn, or "Oi you two, one of you give us some food" this being said at the front door of our house, or "Come on girls, here's a good place to have a nice nest so you can lay some eggs which I will fertilize for you if you let me get on board which I am going to do anyway", or "You other boys in the neighbourhood, I am one hell of a cockerel and if you visit here to pleasure my girls, I will beat you up reeeeeaaaallll good" this being said at dawn and frequently throughout the day, or "Gosh I feel good and I am going to tell everyone that I am one hell of a boy", or "I'm here girls, come and join me" this being said when some of his girls have gone off on a wander without him and he thinks that they shouldn't have done so.

As you can see, Whitey can use his crow to say many things. And that is without all the cooing and clucking sounds he makes when trying to keep friendly with his hens. It is actually quite hard work being a cockerel.

Anyway, Whitey is showy, strutty, his plummage blows about gaily in the breeze, and he is keen to procreate. But he is small. And produces small chicklets. And we need to have bigger birds so we can eat them as well as use the eggs. We are, after all, a smallholding.

So: Hubs took it into his head that we needed to upsize the cockerel. Big Boy arrived, plus his girlfriend.

We are novices, that I will freely admit to being. And in our noviceate stage we thought that perhaps the cockerels would get along together.

They didn't.

Once let out, it was heads down and war. Whitey was going to defend his turf with an aggression which far outweighed his size.

The battle became hard to watch, so we separated them, letting Big Boy roam while Whitey was put in the dog kennel to calm down. He didn't. Meanwhile the hens didn't seem to be bothered at all, and just kept calmly on with their egg laying duties and other henly goings on.

The hours ticked by. Hubs decided to let Whitey out again, but this time penned Big Boy in the chicken run. With great rage did Whitey charge across the Courtyard. Aimed himself straight for the chicken run. So no. He had not calmed down.

Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen sorting out dinner. In came Hubs saying "I've done it".
"Done what?"
"Killed Whitey".
"Oh" was all I managed to say for a moment, and then, "I can't eat him....." imagining a plucked Whitey going into the freezer.
"No, I buried him....."
"Under the oak tree".

So that is where Whitey is now residing. For the life of me I could not have cooked him, let alone taken a mouthful of him. He fought his battle, and he did himself proud. His spirit still floats around in the air, though. That he seems to have left here.

So Big Boy is now in charge. But is he! Because the small black cockerel has suddenly put on a spurt of growing, and has been seen to be climbing on board a couple of the hens so he has hit procreation mode.

We did hope to keep him, as he has a glamour similar to Whitey, who was, after all, his father. Maybe that is why Whitey's spirit lives on. His son is carrying on where he left off. The son does have the vigour and passion of the father, that is for sure. Big Boy is far more laid back, doesn't seem to struck overly much, and doesn't give the girls so much bother either. Myself, I think I would secretly prefer Whitey Junior to be the cockerel around here.

Curiously enough, the son is deep dark black, with amazing drifts of green and rust through his feathers. He even has black feathery legs, as if he is wearing boots. He looks naughty, is naughty, behaves like a stud with the girls and is forever trying to seduce them away from the main flock so he can get on board out of sight of Big Boy, who even then does not show huge aggression towards him, preferring instead to chastise the hen for letting the black son of Whitey have their way with them. This, I think, is unfair to the hen. I think he should give Black Whitey a telling off, not the hen.

Anyway, that is as far as we've got in regards to our family of chickens, and I must let you get on with your day, which I hope, is a good one for you.

Meanwhile, though, forgot to mention that we have 'lost' two bantam hens, and two other bantams are sitting on eggs donated from the other hens who don't seem to be bothered about doing nest sitting duties. If all goes well, we should be getting some chicks. Would be an irony if they all turned out to be the progeny of Whitey's black son! The 'lost' bantams, by the way we hope, are sitting on nests somewhere and not be got at by foxes or other somesuch animal.

Bye for now......


Ken Devine said...

I wonder if the hens will miss him.

I don't think I could eat ANYTHING that I've seen growing up, so I'm not surprised you passed on this one.

I enjoy your film clips, Vera.

ps, wipe the lens...you have a smudge right in the middle. I noticed it a few films past and thought it was my glasses:)

Vera said...

Hi Ken: I was a bit squeamish the first time we ate our own meat, but over time I have become happier eating home-grown rather than shop bought. At least I know that the animal has not been subjected to unnecessary distress, and that, for us, is important.

Glad you enjoy the film clips, and I have noticed myself the smudge in the middle of the lens. Have now cleaned the lens, but if it stays put I shall have a search to see what the problem is. But thanks for letting me know about it.

Roz said...

we had our first cockerell in the freezer for months before we finally admitted we couldnt bring ourselves to eat him - now we send off all the young cocks together so they come back anonymous - much easier! do your fluffy legged chickens have brahma heritage I wonder?
lovely to see the films xxx

John Gray said...

I killed several roosters last year and we never ate them even though I was taought to dress them and they were in the freezer!
hey ho

as for roosters in a flock..
I would ALWAYS have one or two
stops the fights among the girls!
hope you are well

Vera said...

Roz: No I don't think they are brahma linked, because they are much slimmer and lighter in frame. I have no probs with eating our own meat now and the only problem I have is remembering to get the meat out of the freezer to allow time for it to defrost before cooking!

John: Two roosters in our small flock makes the girls squablesome, but when we have only one male then there is harmony all round. But I think that you have many more hens than us, so would need to have two males in attendance on them, because I can quite understand how tetchy those hens would get if they did not have their 'special time' with a male!