Have you ever seen a chicken, as in a hen, act like a rooster on steroids?
You know it is pretty much every day that you expect the unexpected when you have a small homestead and then throw in a couple of animals.
Chickens are a great asset to a homestead, or at least most of the time they are. Sometimes you find for all the joys that many of your chickens give you - comedy shows, great fresh eggs every day - sometimes you have one that needs to go to the stew pot.
I know, I know, putting a chicken in the stew pot is not something new and many chickens are raised especially for that purpose. What I am saying is that sometimes a chicken that was not meant for meat needs to go to the stew pot. How do you know when that chicken needs to go to the stew pot, you ask? Here are my rules for stew pot egg chickens.
If the chicken is of laying age and still not laying it gets put on the list for the stew pot. Now that doesn't mean that right away she goes to stew. Oh no, I will give her a chance and discuss the situation with her and warn her. Which basically means I will make sure it is not something that I am doing or not doing that is causing her situation. You know heat, rations, water, ventilation....check, check and check.
Next thing I do is to see if they are eating an excessive amount of feed. Oh yes! This hen is definitely eating way too many rations. She is so fat she doesn't walk, she waddles. I took all the chickens off of scratch and give them only choice layer rations. Oh how disappointed some of the girls were when I walked into the yard and they got no scratch thrown.
The last test to see if she is stew necessary is her attitude. This particular hen - her name is omelet (yeah I know that's a whole other story) - was a bully in the school yard. She was constantly attacking any other chicken that looked like it was even thinking about eating some ration. I know that behavior wasn't nice of her but it's a big enough yard that the others could choose to stay away from her.
It was then that I noticed all the chickens stay away from her to include the rooster. Now you have to know our Mr. Rooster Man, as I call him, his name is really Cinderella (again that's another story). Mr. Rooster Man is a real studly and likes to share himself with all the ladies. Yep, that rooster really thinks he's something special.
Anyway, back to Omelet, Mr. Rooster Man wouldn't have anything to do with her. So I looked even closer at Omelet and noticed that even though she is over a year old her comb and wattles were still firm. A sure sign she is not laying. A laying hen will have soft, supple wattles and comb. So now she has all the strikes and still I am being generous with this rotund little hen.
That is until yesterday........Yesterday that crazy hen decided she was taking over the goat house. You read that right! Like a commando that fat hen that can only waddle was in full combat mode in the goat house, She attacked my little Nigerian Dwarf goats. I had to get a stick to get her off the goats head! I kid you not. In getting her attention away from the goats she put her wrath at me. Yes, me, the person that feeds that fat little thing everyday. She came flying at me in full speed, to tell the truth I didn't know she could fly until that moment. I grabbed the broom and warned her off while I spat ugly names at her. I don't think that helped any because she just kept coming. I kid you not she was like a rooster on steroids. If I didn't know she was a hen I would have thought she was a crazy rooster! I thwacked her a couple of times and she finally stormed out of the goat house.
I was storming into the house to notify Hubby it was time to put Omelet in the stew pot when out of the corner of my eye I see that fat hen waddle her way right back into the goat house and within seconds of her entry two little goats came flying out bleating for me to help.
And to think she looked so cute and normal at a day old in the feed store.................