Feeling rather accomplished tonight.
Last night I went out and caught a lot of roosters. Seemingly 16 when I counted them today. The 3 Americuanas and 2 brownish / reddish / coloured roosters were up in the Chinese elm overlooking the chicken yard with one hiding in the rafters of the chicken house. I took the extendable apple picking stick to knock them out, but had to fetch the little ladder as it was still not long enough for the one boy. Couldn't find 2 of them after knocking them down, but saw them this morning when I fed the poultry. Made a grab for 1, but was left holding his tail feathers. Left the largest Buff Brahma boy in the chicken house, and the one with the fluted comb - he'd weather the Winter better, to look after the girls and be daddys'. On the new hatchlings of this year, there'll probably be at least 8 more boys, I've already identified at least one.
Popped them all into the horse trailer for butchering today. Did they squawk like maniacs when caught ! You'd have thunk they were being butchered. After this mornings chores, I went to fix the hay rake. Found a small, funnel shaped nut on the ground next to the tractors' back wheel. Hmmm. Put it on the wall. I'd picked up the new link on Friday so I put the chain back together. Then found a small metal sleeve balanced on the side of the rake. Damn. Hit the tiny cotter pins out, breaking one side of one, placed the sleeve between the 2 sides of the link, and refastened the cotter pins. Done. Started the tractor and started back to the hayfield, when the rake stopped turning. The chain had come off. The top pin thingy was loose, so it had just popped off, but refused to just pop back on. Going around the back of the rake, I saw the bolt Herbie and I had placed holding the side of the chain housing to the actual rake had lost it's nut and had nearly pulled out completely. Ahhh, must be the nut I found. Walk back to the shed to get it, nope, way too small. Looked on the shelf and couldn't find any bigger ones. The bolt we'd used was one I'd found, had a flat, round top with a square underneath that fits into a square hole. But this was a round hole and the undersides had worn off. Probably due to being the wrong kind of bolt. So I hopped into Noddy (with greasy hands) taking this bolt with me to get a locking washer and a new nut. Found a proper bolt that didn't have the square flange on the bottom, so took 2, plus 2 locking washes and 2 nuts. While paying with Pam, realised I should probably find tiny cotter pins to replace the one that broke. Back home I loosened the top bolt, put the chain back on the refastened it in place, putting a new cotter pin in the top. Replaced a new bolt where I'd jiggled the other one out, fastened it with 2 spanners as tight as I could. Replaced another small bolt that had broken so the last metal bar was pushing out sideways so that it couldn't any more. Fixed it all. Drove out to the field and did 2 circuits before judging it was time to go get the chicken butchering things in place.
Hauled the chicken plucker out the garage and the stainless steel table plus the stand-alone stove plate, 3 buckets, one on the 17-gallon red buckets, when Manda arrived. She brought 2 of her young roosters to process. Helped me attach water and electricity to the plucker, clean the table with bleach, bring the large pot of boiling water from the house and set it on the ring burner, put cold water in the red bucket. I texted Michelle to please bring 2 large bags of ice. They were running late, so we started without them. Manda didn't want to do the actual killing in the cones, so I did it while she watched. We were pulling out insides when Michelle, Tony and Tony jnr arrived, with ice. Thank you. It was the first time Manda had left her 3-month old son at home with his dad, so she was a little nervous and couldn't stay too long as she'd have to go feed him.
I taught 3 ½ people how to kill and process chickens today. 2 boys escaped the trailer when I was trying the catch them to go into the killing cones, but Tony jnr actually caught the one a little later ! Should have video'd that chase 😀. The rest all did a killing, jnr didn't want to at first, and then asked me if he could, while videoing it. He did a great job on the first one, didn't get the jugular on the second, so I helped, but I made him put the phone down as you need 2 hands to do the kill, and I wasn't willing to hold the head while he stuck the knife in. Released 4 as we'd done 13, including Mandas' 2. Let Manda take the biggest boy (she has 7 kids and a husband to feed) for her help, and Tony and Michelle took 4 smaller ones, and helped me clean up. So I have 6 roosters in the fridge, 4 in the egg fridge and 2 in the garage fridge. On Wednesday evening I'll vacuum pack and then freeze them. Have to wait for rigor mortis to pass otherwise they'll be super tough. Especially the chased boy being full of adrenaline.
Then I had to milk Daisy May. Hoped I could rake more of the hay, but it gets dark much earlier now and after watering the sheep and 3 cow troughs it was time to come in. Tomorrow.
Need to process and can the tomatoes tomorrow too. And fix Herbies one pair of work jeans that tore, and 2 shirts that have holes under the arms, can some of the apple juice before it turns to cider, and then start baling the hay tomorrow afternoon.
The mama hen with the 6 chicks has managed to keep them all alive still. Seems much quieter without the extra roosters. I'm eying the duck and geese to process some of them too. Just need to move the sheep back to the front yard so I can corner them in the chicken yard. And only want to kill boys.
Had a lovely shower to get all the blood off my lower legs and feet. Actually took my shirt off in the basement before milking as there was a fair amount of splatter. Just went out to see if I could get some photos of the eclipse, and it's cloudy 😗.