This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I keep going out to watch the Light Sussex. I've seen two of them display and have a go at each other with their, as yet nonexistant, spurs. So two are definitely male. I'm pretty sure a third one is male too and I'm not sure at all about the fourth. The whole idea was to acquire some new layers but if only one is female, then I have a new problem. What do you do with just one hen that you can't put in with the existing flock in an enclosed run? My farmer friend said that "you know you can eat females as well as males..." which would solve this particular problem for me. But they would be expensive dinners! And I still would not have any new layers coming along.

Still, I am on a learning curve. We have to work out when to do the deed. My husband is confident that he can kill them and pluck and draw them. I'd rather keep out of the way until they are ready for the oven/freezer but I think that I ought to be involved with the process since it is my fault that they are going to end up on the table. I keep telling myself that if they were not going to end up on my table then they would have been on somebody else's table. I reckon that they are around 10 weeks old. By 14 weeks, I will be able to see for definite which are cockerels and they will be making strangled squawks as they practise crowing. Katie Thear in her poultry books says that she keeps hers until they are 17 weeks to put on a bit more weight then puts them in the freezer. If ours start succeeding in their efforts at crowing then they will have to go before 17 weeks because the neighbours will not be backward in coming forward to complain...!

We'll see.


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