Bye bye cockerels

It’s no good, I couldn’t face the execution process all over again and, besides, the end result was far from successful so I’ve given the rest of the boys away.

Hugue, at the local brasserie said he’d have them and so I decided to catch the first one outof the coop  each morning and put him in a cat basket to take to Hugue. The first morning was OK apart from a lot of squawking but the next time they were mighty suspicious of me – even reluctant to come out for breakfast.

But greed got the better of them eventually and I managed to catch two and put them in cardboard boxes.

After that things deteriorated rapidly. It rained incessantly, turning the chicken run into a mudbath which smelt strongly of poo; the worst bit being the puddles right outside the coop.

I didn’t relish the idea of falling over in wet chicken poo  while trying to grab a reluctant bird so I decided to wait until it dried out a bit.

But it didn’t.

The rain set in. The chickens became  bedraggled and smattered with brown and also kept their distance even for food.

On Tuesday evening Francoise at the library said, “I hear you’ve given some chickens to Hugue and Maurice is l0oking after them for him.”

I explained about the difficulty of catching the rest and  she said she’d bring Maurice round to catch them this morning -” not too late or he’ll be tipsy”.

So at nine sharp she turned up with Maurice in tow and three cardboard boxes. I had fed the chickens  but kept them in their house this morning in the hope that it would make Maurice’s job easier.

He didn’t wait for them to emerge; he leant inside and grabbed the first one by it’s feet. There were loud protests but, between them, he and Francoise managed to shut the box.

The next one put up a fight and pecked his hand so I went to fetch some gardening gloves. Poor Maurice had quite a struggle but he managed to extricate number two and stuff him unceremoniously into the second box.

Hilda, the hen, managed to escape and ran down the garden leaving the last cockerel to make a stand. And he was very successful at holding out as long as possible.  In fact,  I almost relented and thought about keeping him but then I imagined more baby chicks growing into huge tough birds and my heart hardened. No, I did not want to go through this again.

After what seemed like an eternity Maurice got hold of Number three and tucked him securely in the box. They were stowed in the boot of Francoise’s car and off they went.

I left it a while before taking some more food up to the hens and persuading Hilda to go into the run with Susie, Peggy, Gertie and Daisy. They didn’t exactly make her welcome but they didn’t fight her. She’s bigger than they are but very timid.

I’m pleased to report that tonight, all five were happily snuggled down together in the small henhouse.

As for the cockerels, Francoise told me that Maurice had put them in a big rabbit house and they seemed quite contented  –  for the time being.

So it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I parted with the cockerels and I’m the first one to admit that buying those eight little chicks was an expensive mistake to make.

UPDATE: HAPPY ENDING

I’ve just learned that none of them will be killed. They have all been distributed to good homes with a flock of hens each.  I’m so pleased!

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13 Responses to “Bye bye cockerels”

  1. guyana gyal Says:

    So now the boys and the girls can meet up sometimes and go on dates.

    You named the hens! Now you can never eat them!

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Oh no, I wouldn’t dream of eating them, G-G. They are more like family pets. The boys, on the other hand, were a bit rough and not very polite to the girls. Anyway, I couldn’t name them as I couldn’t tell them apart.

  2. Little old me Says:

    Oh dear, well we live and learn as they say, it’s just a shame you didn’t have the room to keep them apart.

  3. bretonne Says:

    Are your girls still laying? And when you muck out the house, what are you doing with the poo? Chicken-keepers are soooooooo obsessive!

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Yes, the girls are still laying but not always 4 a day now. Hilda the Sussex hen hasn’t even started laying yet but she’s barely 6 months old.
      Chicken poo goes on the compost. What do you do with yours?

  4. Pat Says:

    Well you gave it a good shot and apart from losing some cash you are richer in experience. How helpful the neighbours are.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Yes, Pat, we’re very lucky to live here. It’s big enough to have shops but small enough for everyone to be neighbourly.

  5. Keith Says:

    You’re becoming quite a seasoned chicken breeder. Are you fattening any up for the dinner table at Christmas?

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Have to admit, that WAS my intention but as they ran around a lot they would have been too tough to roast. As for the hens, I’d never eat them!

  6. Susie Vereker Says:

    Glad there was a happy ending to this funny story!

  7. bretonne Says:

    Yes, the”crottes” go in the composteur and the sawdust (which might sometimes contain glue) gets burnt. I was told in winter hens need extra calcium, so I’ve found a basse-cour mix in SuperU that has oyster-shells. Also, they need 14 hours of daylight for laying!
    I’ve just been presented with a rabbit, shot yesterday, and skinned it. My neighbour advised me to start at the back legs and it all comes off a bit like when you take off your rubber-gloves after washing-up! It’s years since I did anything like that, and I’m going to put it in the slow-cooker with some herbs.

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