7.4.2013 Garlic, Onions and Too Much Testosterone

The barn never smelled so good!

The barn never smelled so good!

Back on June 25, I harvested my garlic.  It never sent up scapes, the little curly sprouts that shoot up and make bulbils.  I kept waiting and waiting.  After last year’s tiny harvest I bought and read a book about growing garlic and I’ve been waiting all spring to snip out those scapes and force the garlic to make bigger bulbs.  But the scapes never appeared and the garlic was taking up garden space I needed for sweet potatoes.  Finally, a friend told me she had the same problem, but she went ahead and dug her garlic and it had turned out beautifully.  So I dug mine.  Only my softneck garlic made it through the winter, but oh, what wondrous stuff!

I spread it out on a table in the barn to dry.  Then it rained for a week.  Humidity was extraordinary.  It’s still quite damp.

onion harvest 1

They are lovely! My first onions ever! And there are more varieties still in the garden patiently awaiting their time.

 

Once the rain cleared out, I pulled up my first batch of onions.  I knew they were ready to harvest two weeks ago, but I didn’t have time or the weather to get to them.  Then the rain and the worry they would rot in the ground.  But no.  They are beautiful, too!  These are from the set I bought at the co-op.  No named variety.  Simply yellow onions.

This morning when I went out to feed the chickens, one of my 2013 cockerels was down.  Just laying in the grass in the chicken tractor, not moving, but not dead.  No visible signs of injury or illness.  When I opened the tractor to get him, one of the other young cockerels dashed out and checked his little pea brain at the door.

Now, I have to say, I have tried to release my six babies (3 pullets and 3 cockerels) into the main flock a couple of times.  They are large enough now that they can’t walk through the electric fence.  Five of them mingle nicely, respectful of the fact they are pond scum in the flock hierarchy.  The sixth one though is a week older than the rest and despite the most beautiful 5 point comb I’ve ever seen on a Speckled Sussex, this boy is as stupid as they come.  He has visions of being the master of the Chicken Universe.  He doesn’t care the other roosters in the yard outweigh him by 4 or 5 pounds or they all have spurs 2 inches or longer.  He has no manners at all.

Stupid and Mannerless, a rather gangly teenager at approximately 4 months of age.

Stupid and Mannerless, a rather gangly teenager at approximately 4 months of age.

Nope.  He charged right out of confinement and tried to mount a hen.  In front of Thundermuffin.  Stupid and Mannerless got absolutely pummeled.  I rescued his hatch mate and then I had to rescue him.  I don’t think Thundermuffin would have killed him, but I really would prefer to keep his lovely comb intact.  Fortunately, things settled down fairly quickly after that initial pummeling.  Stupid and Mannerless found an unpopulated corner to hide in and massage his ego.

Oh, dear, what can the matter be?  Unable to keep himself upright, the hay is stuffed in around him to keep from keeling over, which I read somewhere is very bad for chickens.  So far, he's been a good patient.  Drinking but not eating.

Oh, dear, what can the matter be? Unable to keep himself upright, the hay is stuffed in around him to keep from keeling over, which I read somewhere is very bad for chickens. So far, he’s been a good patient. Drinking but not eating.  It’s pretty hot in the barn these days.  Tomorrow, I’m going to have to set up a fan for him.

I took the downed cockerel to the barn, put him in the crate, propped upright by a generous padding of hay.  By the end of the day, he wasn’t eating but he was taking water.  He seems to be injured in some way, as he is unable to support his weight on his feet.  Will the amazing capacity of chickens to heal themselves pull him through?  I haven’t a clue.

7.10.2013 Update:  My broken roolet is back with the flock.  He definitely broke something.  His back maybe or his neck.  For five days after I found him helpless on his side, he was propped up in the dog crate.  He only drank water for the first three days.  On the fourth day, he started eating again. On the fifth day, he could sort of support his own weight and stand.  I took him back out to the pasture and penned him by himself but where there were other chickens around.  Through it all, I gave him no special food or cocktails or meds.  Just water and feed.  Today, he is moving much better and wanting out, though he’s all hunched up.  His neck doesn’t seem to have full extension or mobility.  But, to recover from a broken neck or back in less than a week – Chickens really are amazing!

Here's my broken roolet up and about.  Definitely hunchbacked and his neck is all squash down into his shoulders.  But he's up and about.  Sometimes he has to flap his wings to keep his balance.  So the good news is the wings still work; the bad news is he is not entirely stable.

Here’s my broken roolet up and about. Definitely hunchbacked and his neck is all squash down into his shoulders. But he’s up and about. Sometimes he has to flap his wings to keep his balance. So the good news is the wings still work; the bad news is he is not entirely stable.

As for Stupid and Mannerless, well, he’s learned his place and isn’t causing much trouble these days.  He’s going to need a new name.

I shared at: The Backyard Farming Connection #40


Comments

7.4.2013 Garlic, Onions and Too Much Testosterone — 2 Comments

  1. Your harvest looks great! I have never grown garlic but I’ve been reading up because we plan to soon. I thought I read somewhere that soft neck garlic doesn’t get scapes. Good luck with the roosters!

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