Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Cockling croweth

I woke late this morning, not my normal 5am-6am appointment with the day, but 8.30 it was. Not to worry, everyone was still in sleepy mode, no-one was bleating, squabbling, clucking, quacking barking, or carrying on. There was no cockerel either, loudly proclaiming to one and all that it was about time he and his girls were paid attention to and let out. 

As I trundled along to the loo, the air seemed quiet. I sat on the loo, thinking that I was missing the sound of Orpy talking to the air. And then it started. It was not a loud and boisterous sound as could be heard from Orps in his prime, no this was a thin sound, but obviously coming from a cockerel because the sound was in the general framework of 'cock-a-doodle-do', well sort of. 

And it wasn't one little crow, it was a stream of them, one after the other. On they continued as I put the kettle on for tea, and then they stopped. 

It would seem that the cockling grandson of Orpy has stepped into the vacant space of head crower.

Now if this had been December, then that little cockling would have probably gone into the freezer. We have tried letting young cockerels stay with the girls, but there comes a point when hormones arrive and those youngsters start wanting to fertilize the eggs being made inside the hens, becoming competitive and aggressive as they do so.  This puts the hens under strain and puts tension into the air. So, for the sake of the well-being of the hens, we only have one cockerel on site. 

But this little cockling has been different. For a start we thought he was a hen because he didn't seem to display any cockerel-like tendencies, and it has only been during the last couple of weeks that we have realised that he is a male because he has been growing tail feathers. But he has stayed docile and not showing any competitive spirit towards Orpy, neither has be seemed inclined to practice mating with the girls.

The little cockling crowed this morning, and it was a super duper first time effort making Lester make the remark about the spirit of Orpy living on. However, if the Cockling is to stay here it would mean that he would be mating with his aunts, sisters, cousins, etc, or even his own mum, although we do have several new hens here which are not related to him. Not sure what to do about this. For the moment, therefore, we shall let things be as they are meant to be. The Cockling has come into his own at the right time for us, so for the moment we shall let him be and let time give us the right solution. 

Was supposed to be putting one of the young pigs into the freezer this weekend, but Orpy's passing sort of left footed us, so we didn't. The effort of terminating a life requires a certain state of mind, and neither Hubs or myself have it at the moment. But one day, when the time is right, we shall get up and it well be 'let's do it', then we shall. 

One of our friends came round yesterday. Told us that when his pig was slaughtered professionally it first had all four feet individually roped, that four men then hung on to those ropes so that the legs became splayed, that the pig was squealing and wriggling the whole time, that then the two back legs were brought together, that the pig got hoisted up, then stunned, then the throat was cut. Strooth, but if we had to do that I would never ever be able to eat that meat, neither would I encourage Lester to keep on keeping pigs. For us, when that end moment comes, the pig will not know what has happened. 

Lester has been practising for this moment and has started feeding the pigs in the pen, rather than putting the food over the fence. The small male pig has started letting Lester touch him. He will be the first to go, mostly because he has started putting pressure on his mum, his aunt, and his sister, all of who still live with him. 

Lester will put the food down in separate piles as per normal, then he will move nearer to the male and put the humane gun to his head. The plan was to then slit the throat to drain the blood, then remove him quickly off site to carry on with the task of getting him into the freezer. According to what we have read, the other pigs do not bother with becoming involved. Not so, said our friend. He said that if the others got a smell of the blood then they would barge in to have a eat of it. He said that if Lester was in the way, that Lester might be got at too. This has worried Lester. Lester has just read on the Internet about a man who kept hogs, and that all that was found of him was his false teeth and few items of clothing. What with our friends opinion and the reading about this man, well, Lester has sort of freaked himself out about doing the job. 

I am sure we shall manage. We shall keep responsibility for our animals and the food they provide us with. I shall bless the experience ahead of time, and ask the Universe for the task to go as painlessly as possible for all concerned. We shall not pass on this responsibility to others, that of killing our animals. We raised them. We shall do the task ourselves. 

Meanwhile, the Cockling crowed this morning, and the male pig has another few days of being looked after and cossetted, and I did actually get to sing at the concert last night  because my voice was needed to give some clout to the other soloist whose voice was being drowned out by the harmony coming from the rest of the choir, and Lester has come up with a plan about the best way forward to sort out that male pig.

The day has a curious quietness about it, a sort of waiting is in the air, of anticipation, of things going to happen but not yet. 

An owl flew straight past my windscreen when I was on my way to the concert last night. When owls appear suddenly it means that something is on its way, but not today, for today is quiet day. I shall enjoy it while I can. Out into the field I am going. To scythe is what I shall be doing. 

I hope you are enjoying a quiet day as well, and I hope you are looking forward to your tomorrows with eager anticipation of what it is to come. 

Sending blessings to you. 


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

So the youngster still may get his chance but as you say he has family there as well so....
I have never tried slaughtering pigs, sheep yes, but this sounds like it could be an interesting operation. Just make sure Lester keeps clear of the hungry ones!!!
Have a great evening. Diane

Horst in Edmonton said...

You have a wonderful week Vera. Love your blog as always.

DUTA said...

I don't envy you and Lester for having to terminate the life of any animal; tough decision, tough job..

May God strenghten your hands and hearts!
Blessings to you too.

Vera said...

Diane, I am sure that Lester will be on his guard! Hope you have a good week.

Horst, thankyou!

Duta, nice to hear from you, and thankyou for your blessing.

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Being City Folk and knowing that all good food comes from markets and not from real life things, not sure if we could end a farm friend.

Vera said...

Leon and Sue, I was the same as you and I didn't think that I could do such a task until I came here and started working on our petite ferme. The change of lifestyle changed my thinking!

rusty duck said...

You're braver than I would be, Vera.

Vera said...

Rusty Duck, I am continually surprising myself since being here. I don' think it is bravery though, it is just that it has to be done!

Jean said...

That sounds like a cruel way to kill a pig, your way sounds more caring. I could never stop eating meat but the coward in me doesn't like to think too much about what the poor things have to go through to become food on our table. I love the way you care about your animals.

Vera said...

Jean, thanks Jean, we do our best.