Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yep, It was time!

Fred the Rooster has been sent off to freezer camp.  In my last post I mentioned the final straw was that he was getting to be a bit of a bully with De, the kids and the grandkids, so we set the date and off he went.  But not before K, our neighbor who loves all our animals to a fault, told me yesterday that Fred got into her a couple of days ago as she was helping a couple of our hens out of her yard.  And M, my sister-in-law who lives a 1/2 mile down the road, told us Tuesday that Fred chased one of her friends who was out running as she ran by our property while the hens were down next to the road.  Yep - It was time. 

My brother-in-law, who has butchered out chickens fairly regularly, walked my son (who had come home for the learning experience) and I through the whole thing.  We skinned rather than plucked and ended up with more meat than we expected.  He was something like 16 months old, so we don't expect the meat to be really tough, but just to be sure when the opportunity presents itself he'll go into the slow cooker with some homegrown potatoes, onions, and spices out of the herb garden.
Aug 2014
Sept 2015 - Yep, It was time.

As I mentioned in my last post, Fred was never able to 'Rooster Up' and get the top spot in the pecking order, so he was always picked on: Hen-pecked as the saying goes.  As a result, he had lost all of his beautiful tail feathers and a big part of the feathers on the very top of his head.  Yep - It was definitely time.

Lessons Learned:
  1. While Fred was, in his prime, a beautiful bird, that crown made it difficult for him to see.  Since he couldn't see the hens or people coming he startled easily and that may have contributed to his tendency to be picked on and to attack.  No more birds selected 'just for looks'.
  2. When we grow and process our own meat birds in the next year or so, we need to gear up a little better.  A killing cone would make that process easier, especially if we are doing several at time.  I also need a couple of good knives more suited to processing poultry.
On the plus side - No more worrying about Fred bullying family, friends, neighbors, visitors, and passers-by. (Yep, it was time!)

Also, the one thing I expected to miss most with Fred gone was hearing him crowing on a clear, cool morning.  That always evoked wonderful childhood memories of growing up on a working 1960s family farm with all the livestalk that came with small farms of that era.   Just in the last couple of days Ivan Crossbeak, who is about four months old and is now the rooster of the flock, has started belting out (well - squeaking out) his own call.  He's far from full-voiced but it is good enough for now.  I see that as a blessing and am very thankful for the privilege of enjoying it!  For now, we've decided to keep Ivan through one batch of chicks and see how he does.

Ivan Crossbeak - The new 'Roo' of the flock

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. Yes the right decision had been made, as he got older he would have been a handful cockerels can cause some damage as well to the unexpected, I hope your young Ivan steps up to mark and dose not give any troubles :-)

    1. Hi Dawn! It was clear there would be no 'recovery' path for Fred and when he got to the point his attacks were than just protecting the hens from real threats it was just too much.

      We've high hopes that Ivan will be more of "gentleman" while still being a good protector. If he gets to be a problem also... We'll there's room in the freezer beside Fred.

  2. Well done! We've sent a few to freezer camp also. Good luck with your next guy!

    I've learned that roosters have to be taught respect at a very early age. I never change my direction or back up when a rooster is in my path. He must be the one to move. (There's my $.02) Sometimes I think meanness is hereditary though. Sigh.

    1. Hi Hoosier Girl! I'll pass that on to the crew here, De and the daughters had gotten used to going out of their way to avoid Fred. They have been inadvertently re-enforcing the bad behavior. I hope it's not hereditary in this case, because Ivan is one of Fred's offspring.

  3. I think you diagnosed Fred's psychological problems pretty well and it kinda made me feel sorry for him . . . but you were so right. He had to go. (Geesh, starting to attack runners on the road would have been the last straw in my book.)

    Even with the oldest roosters who ended up in the freezer, it's been our experience that their meat is wonderful in flavor if they are slow cooked with good seasonings. You'll enjoy eating the meat and appreciate Fred for giving his all for you!

    1. Thanks, Mama Pea. We did feel a little bad for him, but there was really nothing short of separating him from the flock and everyone else that would have kept him out of trouble. And yeah, we were pretty appalled to hear about Fred and the runner. If we had not already made the decision that would have been more than enough on its own.

      De is an excellent cook and I'm sure we'll enjoy whatever she come up with in the slow cooker. De also said it was quite freeing to be able to go check for eggs and not have to look to see where Fred is the whole time.