Bopping Ben and Robin; and Lily’s laying drama

March 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today was the day to bop Imogen’s two brothers, Ben and Robin. They had both become pretty neurotic – really strange, because they’d been treated exactly the same as Imogen and Davy, and were willing to come and sit on me to be cuddled right up to their last day. But Ben chased Robin a lot, and both of them tried quite often to get in to Davy and Imogen’s run to attack them too (Imogen would end up either out in the bramble patch, or perched in a tree on the fenceline; Davy usually made it to the roof of the combine and then swore at his brothers until I came out to see what the fuss was about). But they had both made it over the 2.5 kg mark (nearly two weeks ago, as it happens) and at 18 weeks old were plenty mature enough to have good flavour (but hopefully not be too stringy).

Anyhow, we did the deed in the early hours of this morning. They dressed out quite well:

NB: the live weight is an estimate, based on recent growth rates and extrapolated from last actual live weighing (9.3.12).

Live Headless Plucked Dressed %
Ben 2.75 kg 2.31 2.07 1.64 60%
Robin  2.75 kg  2.36  2.13 1.72 63%

The plan is to age them in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, then I’ll portion them up and make stock with the leftover bits – a good, efficient use of freezer space, and the most convenient for our use. Plus a little less confronting than a whole bird sitting in the freezer …

And because our drama always spills over (and sometimes backwards in time) … yesterday afternoon we discovered Lily with a partially retained egg.

She hadn’t laid since Monday, and I thought she was starting her moult (she looks a bit tatty, poor girl). But she was doing a huge amount of fussing around the nest, and after what happened with Sasha, we’re über paranoid about Things Cloacal. So she was grabbed and examined as soon as we decoded that this was a bit too much fussing, even for her.

Basically it looked as though this egg hadn’t formed properly – her petticoats were eggy, and she had this … plume of egg membrane, still sticking out of her cloaca. We took her inside; washed her bottom clean with nice warm water, and then very carefully pulled the membrane out. There was no blood anywhere, and the membrane was a little crisp, but definitely not a properly calcified eggshell. We had a very gentle inspection (latex glove and lube), but there didn’t seem to be anything more retained, or worse – stuck. And she certainly perked up straight away, which was a good sign. So she spent last night and this morning inside in the cage, and was returned (under supervision) to her flock this afternoon.

Hopefully it was just a blip – it’s not entirely unusual for odd eggs to happen when a hen is coming to the end of lay for the season, and Lily is not a young hen any more. We’ll keep an eye on her, either way.

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