19 May 2007

Death Row

The garden is now largely planted, but there has been a problem: one chicken in particular has repeatedly managed to find a way in and tear up the tender young seedlings. We tried chasing her out, but she's been extremely resourceful in getting back in. Most mornings when I wake up, she's already out there poking around.

Around here, that earns a chicken a one-way ticket to Death Row. Particularly since this one is a meat breed that I simply didn't get butchered last year (and her useless eggs are the size of marbles), her time is up. This old dog cage is where our fowl spend their last hours; the metal cone is what we use for actually butchering them. The bird goes upside down into that cone, then I slit the throat and let the bird bleed to death (kosher style). This method is very effective at bleeding the bird thoroughly, and is much less messy than the "cut the head off with an axe and watch it run around the barnyard" method.

My wife also suspects our three Guinea fowl have been tearing up the garden, and I was preparing to butcher them today as well. But she, acting as Governor, decided to give them a last minute stay of execution. We strongly suspect that this one chicken has been responsible for the bulk of the damage, and she's willing to spare the Guineas for a few days. If the garden remains unmolested, the Guineas live. If not...I'm getting out my .22 rifle and going hunting. (Guineas fly so well, and roost so high in the barn, they're nearly impossible to catch.) I really like the Guineas a lot, so I hope they behave themselves. They're wonderful bug-catchers, and with Japanese Beetle season (and the seventeen year locusts) just over a month away, I'd like to have all hands on deck. Stay tuned.

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