Once a wagon was loaded we drove it out into the fields and hooked up the manure spreading component and went to town flinging chicken shit far as we could. The faster we drove the tractor, the further out it was broadcast. This provided pleasant relief from excruciating tedium of pitch forking it off the floor.
Finally the floors were cleaned and a layer of fresh straw put down. The rest of the procedure was similar to the last time. Only now, Ed was able to work more as an equal partner, and I had a better idea of what needed attention. It seemed that after another batch or two of chickens, Ed would be able ot manage without a hired hand. I had learned enough of this business to not want to invest my future raising chickens commercially. The soon to arrive batch held a surprise.
The same as last time, a converted school bus showed up loaded with sixty thousand hatchings. As they were unloaded , it looked pretty much the same. Small white little peepers huddled under heaters. It was only by being told was I to find out these Cornish Hens were of the male sex. The supplier was able to sex the eggs in the fertilization process. Experience showed that separating the sexes made for less problems in raising birds for meat production. By nine weeks, at slaughter either sex came out as hen. This batch, in fact, consisted of roosters.
Same as last batch, I was able to save the lame birds by taking them home to my chicken rehabilitation clinic. It would be a awhile before I learned the differences about raising juvenile male birds as opposed to good strong laying hens. By now, Ed appreciated the fact that I was taking the birds and relieving him from the responsibly of being their executioner. Now he only had to put birds who succumbed naturally down the pipes to his composting tanks. Back at my coop, the tranquility established by a settled batch of hens was about to be broken by introduction of a gang of adolescent boys.