The day started at 5:30. I milked Buttercup and tested her for mastitis. The test was a positive in one of her quarters. I called the vet and picked up some medicine for her. This means I had to stuff a syringe into her teat and infuse the meds into her udder. Lovely. It also means that I will be hand milking for the foreseeable future.
The good news is we can still use the other three quarters' milk. It would stink to have to toss it all. The up side to hand milking is that it is quiet. The machine is so noisy. Though it is nice to be able to hook her up and do the other chores at the same time like feeding the chickens, cleaning, and feeding the neighbor's horses.
I had to call for help last night. One chicken died yesterday morning, and one the evening before. Between more chickens looking like they were about to die, and the possible mastitis issue, I really needed someone who knew what they were doing. My neighbor is wonderful with cow things, but hates chickens and is out of town anyway.
The friends that came over last night were so helpful. They know chickens and said it was time to butcher them anyway so they would come over today and help. I had not realized it was time simply because they have been Sweetheart's project.
So, the wife came over today and we processed all the meat birds. That sounds so tidy, doesn't it? It wasn't. At all.
This was the first time I have had to kill anything larger than a bug. And I killed all of them after the first one. It is a hard thing to do. I think my general feeling of being completely overwhelmed may actually be helping as I cannot dwell on much for long.
I had hoped to kill and pluck the chickens and be able to keep them whole for roasting. I really like chicken roasted and love having all the bones for broth. And had we been able to plan and prep for the slaughter, I would have been able to process them the way I wanted. However, just being grateful that I didn't have to do it all alone, I will take whatever I can get. Which ended up being quite a lot of bags of meat in parts and no feathers to pluck.
After the extensive clean up, I drove the remains up the forest road and dropped them off the side. There are some happy bears and coyotes and wolves tonight. We had leftover Beef & Barley Stew, but chicken in on the menu for tomorrow. I think I may have to fry it, which I love, or do Chicken and Dumplings. (What do you want for dinner, Mom?)
Then it was time to milk, feed horses and take care of the remaining laying chickens.
I am about ready to drop, but decided to write while waiting for the dishwasher to finish running. It is a portable one that you have to shut the water off when the wash cycle ends, or the water will just run until you do. It just ended so I will be signing off in a moment.
Hopefully, Sweetheart will be home in a few days. His three day trip is on Day 9 and I am not sure when it will end. Doing all this myself is not fun.