Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A funny day with firearms

You see there was this rooster. He was one of the yard birds I wrote about in another post.

At the start there were three yard birds. Then a hawk got the smallest cockerel before it was full grown.

The other cockerel and a hen have been wandering about the farm since then without any interference from me.

Eventually they started to get into some bags of feed I had stored in the barn, tearing open the bags and making a mess.

I decided to off the rooster, now a full grown Rhode Island Red about 18 inches tall. My hope was that the hen would then find her way back to the main flock to get some company.

I decided to off him a few weeks back but never seemed to get around to it.

Yesterday I was going out to take care of the peeps and saw that the yard birds were close by. I have feed stored near there too; I didn’t want them to get into it so I decided it was time to do the chore.

I shooed them out of the shed and waited for the rooster to wander some distance from the hen.

I used the small revolver I carry with me all the time and shot him from about five yards away.

He jumped up as if frightened by the noise and ran off to a place several hundred yards away. He left a few feathers behind but otherwise showed no other signs of injury.

I though I must have missed him although I couldn’t quite see how I could have at that distance.

Like most shooters I don’t practice as much as I should. It worried me.

It was not possible for me to do anything more about him in the time I had. I needed to get back to work.

Later that evening I went out to do the other chores and noticed he was still in the place I had seen him last, now dead as Cesar.

Chickens are famous for running around for a time after having their heads chopped off, so I guess it’s not as hard to kill them as it is to convinced them that they have undergone a change of state.

My bride bought me that pistol for my birthday last year. I’ve shot some paper targets with it as well as a few grapefruits. None of those things got up and ran away after I shot them.

The gun is primarily intended as a self defense piece. It is a Smith & Wesson 38 special snub nose revolver and was loaded with ammo intended for self defense use.

If I’m ever forced to use it on some 300 pound bad guy named Bubba I hope it makes a more immediate impression on him than it did on that rooster!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Morning Chores

Just lately sunrise has been happening about the time I get going.

Also just lately the White Rock pullets I’m raising have taken to roosting in the nest box of the poultry schooner.

This totally soils the nesting material.

So I rigged up a way to shut them out of the nest box at night.

This necessitates opening the nest box back up first thing in the morning.

Today I refilled the feeder and took a few pictures.

These six Florida Native ewes are going to lamb soon.

So they are on a bit of pasture that is over seeded with rye grass, away from the other ewes.

This way they get a little better nutrition.

Friday, February 08, 2008

More Peeps

Early today the Post Office called to tell me that my day old chicks had arived. This is the second batch of 50 Cornish cross birds I've done this year.

The last batch was brooded in an old 250 gallon cattle tank I happen to have. I have a single battery brooder as well, but that was full of young laying pullets at the time.

It generally takes two weeks to brood broiler peeps to the point where they are feathered out enough to put out on the pasture.

Keeping 50 peeps in the cattle tank was OK for the first week, the second week it was not clean enough to suit me. This time 25 peeps are in the cattle tank and 25 in the battery brooder.

I have a deal now with some friends who also raise broilers. They start a batch one month; I start a batch the next month, and so on. We sell to a common pool of customers, butchering the birds here at my farm.

I expect we’ll keep this going until the real hot weather comes, late May I think.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sometimes when I plant, things grow

Way back in the olden days, when I wrote the last post, the photo with the plowed ground now is growing grass.

It is not a big enough plot to support our flock of seventy something ewes, but it's big enough for a few.

A while ago we bought a half dozen full blood Florida Native ewes. They had been bred by a Florida Native ram that came from the University of Florida flock.

They are set to lamb about the end of the month which is sooner than our production ewes. So they are on the green grass.

The laying hens and their roosters are nearby.

Next year I intend to plow and plant the whole field, so I am keeping the chickens there to fertilize the ground.

I ordered a batch of 50 broilers yesterday and will run them back there too