Monday, 26 December 2011

Hot chicken, frozen chicken, head butts.

"Vera" Hubs called, "Come and look at this". Dropping my knitting mid-row, I hurried to see what was the prob. 'Twas in the Sheep Paddock. It was Jacob, the Jacob ram. Alarm ran through me. Had he succumbed to magic mushrooms the same as the young sheep had done a few weeks ago, when Hubs had found her, flat out on her back and totally spaced out. Only Jacob was sort of stiff. Upright but stiff. Then he took a few stiff paces backwards and sort of jerked his back feet to and fro, then he charged forward......straight into the nearby fencepost. Headbutted it he did. Thwack! Then he reversed a few paces, still stiff, then thwack! He repeated his attack on the fence post.

So what was that all about! First strong frost of the winter here this morning, so no mushrooms are about. Why did he do such strange behaviour. The ewes will not be in season, well I don't think they will be, so why did he try and fight the fence pole. What had the fence pole done to deserve such treatment.......

Christmas dinner was a bit of a hurried affair yesterday. Didn't cook it until late afternoon after having spent most of the day outside in gloriously warm sunshine cutting the brambles down in the front garden. Pride of place for the meal, though, was the hen whose leg had got in the way of Gus's mouth back in late summer. Well she had  been making a raid on the remaining dog food in Gus's dog bowl, he having left a few morsels of food to have as a snack later on, and I had shouted "Get out" at her, which acts as a signal to Gus to go on guard dog duty, but I don't think he meant to actually bite her, rather, I think, her leg found its way into his mouth when he was open mouthed and in the first stage of making a bark, and unfortunately was not removed fast enough so that when he shut his mouth to complete the bark her leg became broken by the closing action of his jaw. I do not think he meant to bite her.

We put her in the 'emergency room', which is Boolie's old puppy kennel, for a day or so. Was not sure about whether we should put a splint on the leg or not, but decided that she needed to head towards the freezer when she started to become depressed and look sad. So she completed her life as a hen of our flock, and into the freezer she went after Hubs did the necessaries. And I saved her for a special occasion because she was one of our special laying hens and had given us good service. And thus is was that she was removed from the freezer, defrosted, and cooked. With reverence this was done. In fact I washed her outside under the cold water tap before she went into the oven, giving her once last outing across the Courtyard to do so.

Do you think me strange that I should do such a thing? Or perhaps weird? Ah, but when we eat the meat of the animals here we are totally aware of their history, and that gives us much respect for them.

So that hen fetched up hot and cooked, unlike her other flock members who have insisted in sleeping up in the fig tree despite being continually soaked by recent overnight rains. They have got shelter but they have stubbornly refused to use it. How they managed to keep on those slender branches of fig tree during the very strongly gusting winds a couple of nights ago heaven only knows. Quite expected them to have been blown away like carrier bags when I fed them the next day.

As I have already mentioned, we had frost last night, a very heavy frost, a frost so heavy that it gave everything a dense coat of ice crystals, including the hens and cockerels of our flock. Crikey but they looked like they had had a turn in our freezer as well. So I gave them a good helping of warm pasta and fed them more grain than usual, by which time the sun had risen to carry on the process of warming them up, by which time Hubs had lit the fire to keep us warm, by which time I felt quite frozzled by the cold, by which time it was time for a cup of tea and some toast.

Fuzzy Sideburns, the hen who has just hatched a chick, is looking after that chick very well despite occasionally standing on it. I think that the chick is a cockerel. Although only five days old it's tail feathers have just begun sprouting in an upwardly pointing manner. Fuzzy Sideburns is called Fuzzy Sideburns because she has head feathers which stick out just like a man's sideburn would do if they were left to grow scraggly.

Another cold night here. Electric blanket is warming up the bed. Fuzzy is in her nestbox lined with straw to keep her and Juniour warm. Max and his girls are snuggled up in their piggy cabins. The sheep are cosied up in their barn. The chickens are up the tree.


The little hen and her little Christmas chick

Saying bye for now, and hope your Christmas is proceeding along quite, quite, joyfully.

3 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

You could write a story called Jacob and the fence post, bringing all your other animals into the story for padding :) Glad you had a good but busy day. We also had a heavy frost and again this morning. Take care Diane

Horst in Edmonton said...

You did the right thing with the chicken that had the broken leg. Chickens have hollow bones so don't heal very well. Love the chicken with the little chick, so nice to see the little chick. Now, the Ram, I can not explain what his problem is, never had any sheep when I lived on the farm, only Goats. Vera, you have a great New Years.

Vera said...

Diane, thanks for the idea about writing a story. Will think on about that one!

Horst, thank you for the advice about chickens having hollow bones. I was thinking about trying to splint the next broken leg if it should occur again within the chicken flock, but now I won't. I wouldn't like any of our animals to suffer. You advice is always welcome.