Thursday, August 23, 2012

Playing God

"Playing God" -- I've never been very comfortable with the phrase, let alone the concept.  Yet, it seems we now find ourselves faced with a decision that feels an awful lot like "playing God."

Here's the deal.  The gals in the "meat tractor" are now basically adults.  That means that it's time to move the layers into the laying tractor with our other four layers and slaughter the rest. 

The black and white Dominques were always destined to be layers.  Meanwhile, we'd planned on the yellow Buff Orpingtons being meat birds.  But, over the course of the summer, we lost a few hens from the laying tractor and would like to fill it back up.  That means that besides the five Dominiques, we have room for 3 or 4 Buffs.  Yep.  We're faced with the decision of which yellow hens will live to feed us and which will die to feed us. 

How to choose? 

According to Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, the best indicators of a good layer are a large, moist vent and wide-spread, flexible pelvic bones.  For those unfamiliar with the term "vent," it is the hole where the egg comes out.  Interestingly (to me, anyway), it's actually the only hole where anything comes out down there.  And, yes, Storey's Guide has illustrations to show us the difference between the vent of a good layer and the vent of a poor layer.  Thanks for that, Storey's Guide.

So, we are either going to have to just go with our guts on this one or do the more responsible, "farmer-y" thing and give the gals a thorough gynocological exam.  Stay tuned!  Something tells me I'll be donning my gloves.

Oh, and don't forget , you have until tomorrow to comment on Sunday's post and be entered to win the Peppermint Shampoo Soap.

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