Tuesday 14 February 2017

Legal 'Beagle's

Doggie Documentation
This is another rather short blog post as befits the relative lack of 'stuff' going on.

Our three dogs are so flippin' legal as of today that they were last heard of combing the Internet for a doggie lawyer in case they should need representation the next time they are caught chasing the kittens. In Ireland domestic dogs not only need to be licenced, they also need to be radio-chipped; one of those tiny grain-of-rice sized smart-tags injected under the skin between the shoulder blades.

The Ros go Run Committee pick up their sponsorship
cheque from Drury Oils.
The chipping is a one-off which we did last year, but the licencing works on an annual reminder - you trot along to your local post office with €20 cash per dog in your little paw. This year we had thought we might have got away with it, forgotten in the battle to get everyone chipped. The reminders normally come in December and we had made it through that month and January with ne'ery a whisper. Perhaps it was not happening? No such luck and the three reminder postcards hit the post-box with a resounding 'thunk' on Monday. I've been down today to pay up, tidying up the Postmistress's pad of forms in the process with documents number  599 and 600.

Buffers in process.
I mentioned in the last post that our #2 rooster, the Buff Orpington lad, 'Buffers' had started to attack us when we were trying to feed the birds or what ever, and was likely to need sorting. He persisted despite us warning him  so he is now 'late'. I went out after dark to collect him quietly from his perch (the least stressful way) and he is now  a rather lovely and extremely tender Coq-au-vin. He was a beautifully clean bird, completely lacking parasites or any damage and very, very well feathered, especially around the big, fluffy, Buff-Orp 'pantaloons'. He weighed 2.94 kg oven-ready.

Kato decides to help the plucking process by using the
sink full of fluff as a feather bed. 
He was plucked and then portioned up with all the easy bits (thighs, wings, breast, drumsticks etc) going into the Coq-au-vin via a 24 hour marinade in red wine - a whole bottle! The big remaining chunks (back, pelvis, neck) got boiled as stock and the meat stripped off the boiled bones for the dogs. The 'gribbly bits' (liver, gizzard, heart) went to the cats.

24 hours submerged in some generic Bordeaux softened
him up beautifully. 
It turned out a very successful 'processing' and Buffers should know that he did not die in vain. He went into the slow cooker yesterday afternoon but we judged that he was not really 'done' by supper time. We juggled the menu and decided to eat him tonight, so he got all that evening (6 hours) and then most of today (8 hours) in the crock-pot. You will probably guess he was fall-off-the-bone tender and seriously delicious. Without doubt the best cull-rooster meal I have ever had. That Lizzie is surely a genius in the kitchen.

The young ducks get some closely supervised 'out' while they
meet Mum and Dad. 
Meanwhile, on birds, the 'ducklings' are now almost 6 weeks old and quickly out-growing their little 2m x 1m rabbit run. Today we started the process of introducing them to the adult duck and drake (Mary and William) who are actually their biological parents (and sole duck survivors of the fox attack in November). Of course, the Drake does not know this and has no reason to be particularly nice to them - they are just unknown birds invading his patch and needing telling who is boss. We have to supervise to make sure this stays within decent bounds and nobody gets hurt. Ducks can be quite the violent bullies/rapists if that is how the mood takes them.

I am interested to see how the sexes work out on these three youngsters. The adult birds, as I said, are the 2 survivors from our original group of 6 which were 2 drakes and 4 females and which we noticed had what looked like sex-linked colour patterns. All 4 females had big splashes of white feathers down throat and chest, where the drakes both had solid dark heads and necks and brown bodies. They also had that mallard-style green iridescence on their heads.

We do not know whether white chested females is a Khaki-Campbell breed trait or possibly just true for this family/strain but the three new 'babies' all have this white throat/chest thing (see photo). I am hopeful that all three will be females, bringing our egg-laying number straight back up to the 2016 pre-fox level (4) without any wasteful drake appetites slowing me down. Too much to ask? Maybe not.

No comments: