Wednesday, June 16, 2010

49 Days

I recently read that factory-farm chickens raised as fryers are ready to send to the slaughterhouse 49 days after they hatch. Fryers are the chickens you buy whole or in pieces at the grocery store. If you bought a package of drumsticks for a BBQ this weekend, those legs came from fryers. Those chickens were roughly seven weeks old when they died.

Today, my baby chicks turned 49 days old. They don't look anywhere near big enough to eat. They've barely passed the kabob stage.

Of course, fryers from the concentration coops are fed a special diet of shit that makes 'em grow real big real fast, unlike my little 49ers who eat real food.

I can't help but think of all those people who shun veal because omg it's baby cows but scarf down dozens of baby chickens. Sure, they're big chickens, but they're still just babies.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

By request: Snake Autopsy

Angela asked me to video the retrieval of plastic Easter eggs from the chicken snake I killed yesterday. So I did. Ask and ye shall receive:

Turns out there was only one plastic egg inside the snake - the rest were all real chicken eggs. The snake must have eaten the eggs right before I killed it because the shells weren't crushed when I took those earlier pictures. I wrongly assumed it had eaten four of the brightly colored fake eggs.

The disturbing part is, several plastic Easter eggs are still missing. Where is the snake that ate those?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I've had it with these motherfucking snakes in this motherfucking chicken coop!

Found another chicken snake helping itself to eggs this afternoon. This time, it swallowed four plastic Easter eggs I'd put in some nests to encourage the chickens to lay there. It also ate at least two real eggs. I'll get a more accurate count when I chop it up for tomorrow's kitty breakfast feast (and retrieve my decoy eggs).

I was more than a little impressed with my aim this time. The first shot hit it just below the head, causing it to duck back into the nest on top of an old dresser. I patiently waited for it to raise its head again and, when it did, I shot it right in the face. It raised its head up about a foot high, waving back and forth like a snake charmer was playing a tune. I squeezed the trigger again and managed yet another head shot. This time, the snake collapsed back into the nest.

I fished it out with a broom handle and carried it outside. But, even with a bullet in the brain, it still wasn't dead. I don't like to see anything suffer - even an egg-thieving snake - so when it kept writhing around, I squashed its head to jelly with the heel of my boot. Even then, it refused to give up the ghost.

I thought for sure it was over when it shit. Everything shits and/or pisses itself when it dies. Over the last three and a half years I've seen enough things die up close and personal to know that's the cue to drop the final curtain. So when this snake let out a great spurt of shit two feet into the air - more of an ejaculation really - I was surprised to see it still squirm and twitch for another ten minutes.

Before it finally shuffled off this mortal coil (get it? snake? coil?), it vomited up egg yolk. I found some scars that make me think this wasn't even the first time it had been shot. All in all, this snake wins the award for the longest, most melodramatic death scene. I bet it tastes like ham.

Mirabel gets to keep her eye after all. When the swelling went down, her eyelid opened. But it was all droopy and made her look like a stroke victim - or a stoner. It's almost back to normal but she's now blind in that eye. Her biggest trouble seems to be maneuvering stairs. As she descends, she drifts further and further to her right until she usually drops off the side of one of last steps.

The unnamed chicken with the bad leg is doing better. She can stand on it and walk a little bit but she's nowhere near full recovery. Still no definite word on whether or not she'll be able to join the general population again or be slathered in herbs and spices. She currently lives on the porch a.k.a. the poop deck.

Sometimes I put her in the grass behind the house, next to the pen where I've been keeping the latest refugees and Pasha the rooster. She's safe from roosters back there because Pasha's penned up and Bart won't go behind the house because Pasha's back there. Pasha is content in the pen with the refugee hens but, if he saw Bart, he would move heaven and earth to get out and kick his ass. So Bart has no problem staying on his side of the house.

Took six of the latest refugees down to Frankencoop. One refugee died the other night. Don't know why she died. Factory farm refugees just have a lot of health issues.

That leaves seven birds in the triage coop behind the house - Pasha, five refugees and Mirabel (she likes bossing the newbies around). Bart and six other hens live under the poop deck with full access to the yard. One recovering bird confined to the poop deck. Frankencoop is holding twenty one birds - the six new refugees, three roosters, nine hens and three babies. Thirty six birds in all.

That's a lot of eggs. Even with thieving chicken snakes about.