I arrived at a bit of a stalemate with the chickens. I’ve got the flock down to 22 chickens. I still have the two youngest cockerels to make decisions about, but otherwise, I’m not sure who else, if anyone, I want to butcher. Any of the remaining pullets I choose not keep are good enough to be sold. It hasn’t been easy deciding which ones to keep, but I’ve listed three for sale at the moment.
I’m still pondering all the hens as well. So far, two have been cut: Ribby and Trinity. I was never going to breed from Ribby because her quality wasn’t good enough, combined with being Frodo’s daughter. I originally hoped to keep her around for her lovely mothering skills, but I only got to utilise them once because she refused to stay broody when moved to a safer place. Although she was lovely, I didn’t have many reasons to keep her. Trinity didn’t have the best type, being too long in the tail, and that showed in most of her offspring. I also had questions about her passing poor health on to her offspring despite seeming healthy herself. I had issues with a bunch of her chicks from hatching age and as teenagers having paralysis, which I think was due to vitamin E deficiency. A couple of the others did too as teenagers, but Trinity’s were much more affected overall. I take part of the responsibility for moving some of them onto the next feed too soon, but it was still clear that most of Trinity’s offspring weren’t of the kind of health and vigour I want in my flock. I still have the best two of her daughters at the moment.
These are hard decisions to make but I’m the one who committed, back in hatching season, to hatch hard, cull hard. And I am seeing the benefits of that now. I have learnt a lot. And we now have a flock with a lot of potential. There are still too many though, so it’s down to the nitty gritty. But at least the constant pressure of butchering chickens is off me. That has been very nice. I have been able to start focussing on things like the garden and making more food again. When Little Seedpod will let me.