My First Solo Culling and a Sad Goodbye

| 4/4/2016 8:47:00 AM

Jennifer Quinnrooster posing

Earlier I proudly posted pictures of my new chicken flock, including the handsome cockerel who became my first flock rooster. He seemed like a fine choice until sometime after the hens started laying, when he began acting a bit temperamental, pecking at me or kicking me when I entered the coop — I was never sure which, since he was so quick and usually ambushed me from behind.

At first I chalked it up to his being a good guardian, and I’d leave and come back later. But it got worse. He would take off after me for no apparent reason, walking along beside me and giving me a good wallop whenever he could manage it.

Harvey Ussery suggests offering treats to a rooster to promote good relations. So I started keeping my bag filled with treats and tossing some out for him whenever I approached. He and the hens were quick to devour them, but this served as only a momentary distraction. Worse yet, they all got the idea they were supposed to get treats whenever they saw me, and their fearless leader started harassing me for more and more treats until he got tired of it and went back to attacking me.

It got so I had to carry a shovel or some kind of shield just to walk around my property, and sometimes I couldn’t get any work done for fending off the attacks. Clearly he had to go, but I had only ever processed one bird, and that was with a friend supervising and helping me. I was hoping to get more practice before having to tackle this on my own. And I hated to part with him, even though he was so mean, because I still loved him when he wasn’t attacking me — I just wanted him to be nice!

I had to postpone any action for a while, because I didn’t have running water and didn’t think the process would be too sanitary without it. Then I wasn’t sure I had any sharp enough knives. I decided to make a chopping block and try the hatchet method instead of the killing cone. This was a bit tricky since I needed to position two nails to hold the bird’s head, and I wasn’t sure what the spacing should be. Any attempts at measuring the rooster’s head or neck were futile. I decided on about an inch, but then I couldn’t get the nails to go in straight. Ever hear of somebody who can’t hit a nail straight? That’s me.

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