A New and Unexpected Addition
Here on RM Ranch, our current “livestock” consists of rabbits and chickens. The original purpose of the bunnies was to provide high quality protein. Which leads to the reason you don’t name the critters (unless it’s names like “stew” or “hasenpfeffer”). My town-raised wife would not look kindly upon my depositing “Mo,” “Tina” or their offspring in the freezer. So, no rabbits for food until the next generation.
The chickens are different. They’re here for eggs and because they aren’t soft, furry and cuddly, haven’t acquired names. Which means this, their second year, will be the end for some of them. They will, however, continue on in some small way in the stock pot. Since a rooster isn’t needed for eggs and since we didn’t plan to raise our own chickens (chicks are cheap from a quality hatchery and provide exactly the breeds you want) we haven’t had a rooster. While the sound of a rooster crowing doesn’t bother me, I’m sure our neighbors appreciate the fact we don’t have one. Rather, that we haven’t had one. That changed as of a few days ago, when this fine fellow put in an appearance (this was a quick smart phone photo and doesn’t do justice to his brilliant colors). I believe he is an immature Rhode Island Red.
We can’t figure out where he came from (well, I know where chickens “come from” but that’s not the point), so barring a sudden appearance of his owner, he’ll be living here. Right now he’s pretty small compared to our hens (Barred Rocks, Welsummers and Silver Laced Wyandottes) and not treated with much respect. If he stays, I’m going to have to figure out what to do about our eggs once the days get longer. As long as you don’t wash them off until just before use, eggs fresh from the hen can safely sit out on your counter for longer than you might think. The problem, of course, is that he will eventually become an adult and develop a rooster’s particular interest in our hens – at which point I’ll have to refrigerate all the eggs to keep embryos from developing. If he is a RIR, it won’t be too long before he develops the attitude for which they’re well-known. We’ll see what happens.