Sunday, 25 October 2009

Crowing hen

'A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men' or so the saying goes.

For the past few days a strange noise has been heard coming from the layers pen. My initial thought was the young Australorp was in fact a 'he' and was trying out his newly found voice. However this morning whilst tidying up the run I noticed Peggy, one of the geriatric gang, stretching her neck and flapping her wings and attempting to crow!

A hen crowing is a result of hormonal changes, due either to an infection of, or a tumour on, the ovaries. Due to Peggy's age the cause is most likely the latter. The geriatric gang were due to be dispatched a while ago, but as two of them came back into lay after their moult, they were given a reprieve. Now they really must go.

Today we took Annie the Zwartbles ewe and Freda the Shropshire/Jacob shearling to our friend's smallholding to run with the ram. They will actually go in with him on Thursday, meaning they will lamb, hopefully the last week of March 2010. It is a different ram this year, by the name of Stanley. Sadly not as handsome as Johnny, the ram of the previous two years, but as long as he produces well, looks aren't too important as any lambs will be for meat not breeding. Both Johnny and Stanley are Suffolk rams and the cross produces lambs with a good carcass. There is talk next year of putting the ewes to a Zwartbles ram, which is good as any ewe lambs born to Annie could be potential replacement ewes.

With the ewes gone until Christmas and the gilts and lamb ready to be booked in for slaughter, the yard is soon going to become very quite !


A Green and Rosie Life said...

I dispatched 2 old girls on Friday - neither was likely to lay again. One was fine and will make a nice chook potage but the other had some sort of cancer. Her innards were not a pretty site, her bones were very brittle and she was very thin. Looks like I gave her a welcome release from the pain of old age.

Rosie x

Sandra said...

We really must do our three, they were 4/5 years old when we got them and we have had them for over a year now. I don't think we are doing them any favours by keeping them hanging on. Not fit for food but they have done well.

A Green and Rosie Life said...

My old girls were about that age and the healthy one will be edible - as long as I simmer her for a VERY long time with some veg and herbs until the meat falls off the bone. I'm sure yours would be fine like that too.

Rosie x