In the light of Auckland Council’s no-roosters-in-nonrural-areas rule, now that I had one male, I had to think of a way of getting rid of him.

Homekill

I felt that I ought to start learning to kill and dress chickens for the table myself. But Philip could not bear the thought of it, and I wondered how I would be able to convince him that it was the way to go.

My reasons for this were:

  • * I had stopped thinking of the latest batch of birds as pets.
  • * It makes economical sense to use our broodies to increase the polulation and then use the extra birds for the table.
  • * The rooster problem is instantly solved.
  • * Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to avoid homekills on moral grounds, when we buy chicken from the store.
  • * Our eating of non vegetarian food may have been allowed by God after the flood, so that we are constanly reminded about the shedding of blood and ultimately of our great Saviour.
  • * In this connection, perhaps it is good to see first hand that meat comes with a cost, primarily to the bird itself. I do not think that I will ever be able to kill a bird without a pang. Perhaps that is the way I need to approach eating meat, thinking loudly.
  • * I remember how my own mother would often bring chickens home, fatten them up a bit more and then kill them and cook them. I longingly remember the partial eggs and preegg parts in the chickens, which we do not get to see in these days of broiler hens.

The Carnage

But atleast this time round, I did not have to bother about homekills.

New Zealand does not have predators like foxes, and so my perception was that my birds were safe. I had not locked the coop door in months. Moreover, I assumed, no creature could get past Susie when it came to getting close to her chicks.

But one morning, when I went out to feed the chooks, I was met by a horrible sight. One of my brown-shaver pullets was dead near the entrance of the coop, with grave injury on her throat, but otherwise unharmed, while the young rooster was lying headless at the far end of the run.

It turns out that although we do not have foxes, we still have large rats, stouts, and weasels that can kill chickens. We were told that the tidy way in which the chicks had been attacked ruled Mia out as the perpetrator, thank goodness. I had also not noticed one step in the chicks story, which was that round about the time of the attack, Susie had stopped caring for her chicks, and the chicks had been on their own

So that was why I did not have to deal with my rooster, but sadly, I also lost a healthy pullet.

I have one fine Brown Shaver called Helen.