Today was "test" day for deciding whether or not to butcher the rest of the roosters. These roosters are reaching 6 months old, so we had questions as to their "eatability". After he was completely cleaned from the other day, I let him sit in the fridge, covered for 2 days. I had read that was a good idea to allow some proteins to relax, which makes the meat more tender. I took off the legs, thighs and wings. Which all looked excellent as far as size. But the breast development definitely did not match up to the store bought chickens. To give you an idea, if you take a half breast from the store bought chicken and butterfly it in half, that is about what I was looking at after I removed a half breast from the carcass. In all, probably the whole breast equalled one half from the store. I took the breast filets (skinless), drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and sauteed them so we could make a true assesment of taste and texture. I probably sauteed a little to long, but over all it had a MUCH better taste then that of store bought. We all noticed the freshness, you could even say a cleaner taste than anything we have ever had before. The texture was slightly dry, but definitely not tough. I believe the dryness was due to my slightly overcooking. I put the carcass, thighs, legs and wings in a stock pot to make chicken broth to try some soup tonight. The house smells heavenly as I type! I think it is safe to say this was a complete success from start to finish and we are feeling a little proud of ourselves! Katie deserves a massive pat on the back for raising this awesome rooster from a day old chick, being so mature and understanding throughout the whole process! She actually tested the first bite! We love ya Sweetie, you're such an extraordinary person!
We spent the first part of Thanksgiving Day raking and doing a little yard clean-up. The weather was el primo, high 70's, sunny, light breeze! Shorts and t-shirt kind of stuff! David and I being from the north, we completely appreciate the gift of having this kind of day! Since it was going to get cooler and damp today (Friday), we decided to put off the turkey until today. I thought it was appropriate to post these pictures of these lovely roosters that we are "thankful" that they will be "giving" their life to be in our freezer soon! They deserve the spotlight for a moment! We have given them a "poultry perfect" life and they will only have one really bad day! Just an FYI for anyone interested, these Sliver Laced Wyandotte cockerel's(5 mos old now), about 14 of them, have been co-existing with only minor bickering. They seem to have quite a mellow attitude and very non-aggressive. When they are not free-ranging, they are in the main coop with everyone else, about 50 in all, and they do well, keeping to themselves, not causing any problems. We have been very happy with their nice personalities. (And I'm sure they are yummy too!) By the way, the second half of our day was spent, CAN YOU GUESS?....you got it! Watching football! I remember when it used to be two games, now it's three! Clicking to "Punkin Chunkin" during the commercials! Whenever and whoever, turned this into a "Man Holiday"! I did manage to make chicken parm, which came out great, if I must say so myself!
The Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks are coming up on 2 months old. They are growing up beautiful, strong, healthy and happy. They are mega eaters, completely enjoying all the leftover vegetables from the garden. No doubt there will be some lovely breeding birds from this group. Can't wait to see how they all grow up. I love sitting in with them and having them use me as a "tree" to climb on. They are so curious and cute little butterballs. They make me very proud to see all my hard work and care pay off in their happiness! I highly recommend raising baby chicks. It's very rewarding. Kate
This is a gorgeous Black Wyandotte pullet, with one obvious problem, her beak is curled over to the right side. She will make a wonderful laying hen, but I will experiment hatching some of her eggs to see if this is a genetic issue that gets passed on or not. I call her Quizzical, because she always looks like she is questioning everything. Quizzy is very sweet to be around and makes funny nasal sort of noises when she talks. She doesn't seem to have had any issues eating or drinking, and as you can see, she is growing up strong and beautiful like her sisters.
Very exciting day for some of the new Wyandotte chicks. They have been "promoted" to the "Big Coop" with the laying flock. Five cockerels and one pullet. The boys were extremely confident with their peers, and have become instantly humbled in with the Big Girls! I'm sure their esteem will return over time, but not much gets past these girls. So for now, the motto is "safety in numbers." They stick together like war buddies. There are 9 left in the raising pens that seem to be developing into nice breeding birds. We pulled out these birds with some obvious faults that do not need to be used for breeding. The lucky pullet gets to stay and lay eggs with the rest of the big girls, but the cockerels will probably have a less glamorous ending, unless someone miraculously out grows their issues. In the raising pens, we still have 2 Black and 1 Blue Laced Red cockerels left in with 7 pullets that all look very nice up to this point. Being only 4 months old, they still have quite a bit of time to grow into their potential.
What is this? Phyllis, our Polish hen, got a boo boo on her foot. We have been soaking her foot everyday and she enjoys it so much, that she actually lays down in the bowl of warm, soapy water. Phyllis is happy just to sit there, on our kitchen counter and soak! You can see her foot, leg and tummy filling the cereal bowl! As you can see, she is very content to sit and watch me do dishes while she takes a soak!
It is very important to take cuts to their feet seriously as it can develop quickly into "Bumble Foot," which can be deadly. I am also treating her with a dose of Tetracycline once a day.