I inherited three of these roosters a two weeks ago. They are Carlisle Old English Games as far as I can tell. The guy who had them had eaten the other three, he didn’t brine or age the meat and then BBQ’d it - a BIG mistake as roostrs have nearly no fat, and need time and brine to make them more palatable / edible. PLUS,these roosters are probably a pound or two — smaller than a Cornish Game Hen that you’d see at the grocery / butcher. Not much meat and these peanuts re only half grown - so a lot of buck, but not a lot of bang. I was glad to take them, despite the glut of roosters I already have.
These are some featherless hens I rescued on Saturday. They really look bad. A couple are so featherless that I’m not sure what color their feathers will be when they grow back in. The guy had a ton of roosters and these hens are partially denuded by over-breeding. Could also be parasites or a skin condition, so I’m addressing that as well.
Naked hens get sunburned.
I brought them home safely in a couple of boxes, however, one box fell apart as I was carrying it up the stairs and the bald hens ran all over the neighborhood before i could round them up again. Suckers are fast without feathers - more streamlined maybe?
They can relax now and eat, dust bathe and one is still laying eggs.
SUNDAY SEVEN - 1
Pictured above are day-old India Blue pea-chicks (baby peacocks for the non-poultry crowd). Apparently they are nearly impossible to keep alive to maturity, but what the hell, I’ll give it a go. Cross your fingers for me! They are noisy little buggers (though sleeping currently).
The second photo shows a size comparison - they are the same size as 2 week old [standard breed] chicken chicks.
So a friend posted on FB that she was looking for a home for three chicks. Okay. Her friend is giving them away for free. Okay. I ask about the birds, nothing.
On Mondays I do an egg run in Burbank so I contact the guy and I swing buy the house to collect the chicks.
They are not chicks - they are 4 month old roosters. Three of them. Terrified and looking incredibly ratty. I take them though I don’t need three roosters. Regardless, I can give them a better life here at least for awhile.
I talk to the guy and he admits he knew they were roosters. He’d killed the rest of the birds. All the chicks he’d been given on Craigslist were roosters. He didn’t know how to process the meat so they didn’t age it or brine it and ihis wife overcooked it — it was like shoe leather. The birds are tiny at 4 months so it would be like eating a leather Cornsh Game hen.
He was embarrassed, he needed to get the rooster out of his yard or to eat them, but that had not gone well and the neighbors were complaining about the crowing. Roosters are not allowed in in his city.
I put them in a pen and will hold them there for a couple of weeks before introducing them to the rest of the flock. I feel for them, they are sweet enough boys but shaking with fear. They can chill in the pen for a bit and get their bearings. They were okay with me petting them tonight, I hope they will be friendly tomorrow. I don’t know what breed they are. Pretty enough.
I’m hoping that they will get along together in the pen.
I powdered most of the grown hens tonight - about 75 birds dipped in Diatomateous earth - which has the consistency of powdered sugar. It would all have gone well if they didn’t flap theur wings. I’d post a photo but I don’t want to get this on my camera (or my phone.) Hopefully this will help knock down the mite population. Fingers crossed.
I like to sit in the chick pen as they are settling in for the night. Once everyone finds their place and quiets down there’s a quiet kind of murmuring that takes place among the birds. Like they’re chanting evening prayers under their breath. I don’t know why it makes me happy but it does.
My first video! I put a saucer of dirt in with a bunch of my day old chicks to see what they would do. Here they are…just being chicks. I love that dirt bathing is hard wired - these chicks have never seen a grown hen, it’s just instinct.
Highlight of my weekend…it’s the little things (and these guys are tiny!)
That’s how farming was described to me. I raise poultry so I’m on the low-end of heartbreak, but still…
I woke up this morning to discover that my Barnevelder hen abandoned her chicks during the night, they died. Everything seemed fine last night, though I’d considered putting a heater in her pen just in case. I didn’t do it and now the are dead.
Who Me? Oh, I’m just over here brining a few roosters…
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Roosters don’t have a lot of fat on them like commercial hens do.
Reportedly they are tough if they are not aged, brined, or slow cooked (until the meat falls off the bone).
Had I known this I would have aged the other birds before adding them to the deep freeze. Ahh, who am I kidding I didn’t have room in the fridge for any more birds. And I was more than a little verklempt about the whole subject
These birds anyway have very tight joints
I’m probably going overboard, but I did an 8-way cut, and now I’ve got three birds in a brine of in white wine, rosemary, herbs, bay leaves, garlic, some Cajun spices, kosher salt, pepper, a little palm sugar, some coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative), and olive oil. It smells divine!
Brining overnight or for a couple of days will give me a chance to figure out how I want to cook these guys.
The only saving grace by the way, is already knowing what a chicken looks / is built like and having worked with whole birds before. It makes it easier for me to distance myself from these being my birds.
Did I mention how much more peaceful and relaxed the farm is now?!
I thought I’d be more squeamish, but the reality is, I know that these birds were raised as cleanly and organically as possible. No hormones, no steroids, no-GMO feed. They were uncaged and had a pretty stress-free life. I don’t want to let them go to waste.
Cornish hen and her bitty brood. This is something all chicks do - even hatchery chicks who have never had a mother, or seen a grown hen, upon seeing one will run over and hop aboard. Also peck her beak for food.
One has to zone out to spend 21 fun-filled days in a small box, where the only excitement is carefully turning eggs with your feet. This red-laced Cornish Cross is mid-way through setting a clutch. She was a great mom last year, fingers crossed.
That I’ve gone from a shitload of chickens to an embarrassment of chickens in a short period of time. Partially as the jackass that had me hatching out chicks for him, abandoned the last hatch — which left me with nearly 50 chicks I wasn’t expecting to have. Also a glut of roosters. I’ve exceeded my tipping point and need to bring balance back in line.
My co-worker just came by, she’s sold all but the last two dozen eggs. 17 of 19 cartons of eggs. Impressive since the day is only half over. She’s taking orders for later this week. :) So incredibly grateful.