Saturday, December 8, 2007

And then there were none

Or, Feeding your guests roadkill
This past week was a bad week for chickens around here. After the death of El Negrito, I was thinking about getting a few more pullets to expand the flock. Now, however, whatever pullets I get will be the foundation hens for the flock. Our friend Karin came down to visit from New York last Tuesday, and she and I spent a couple of days on Caye Caulker. Tom left home mid-morning last Thursday to do a bunch of errands, and then to pick us up at the water taxi in Belize City late Thursday afternoon. By the time we drove to San Ignacio, ate dinner, and got home, it was after 10:00, and we forgot to shut in the chickens.

Tom went out Friday morning and discovered that the two hens were dead in the cage. Initially, we thought something got them in the night, and both of us were kicking ourselves for forgetting to shut the cage. When Selwyn showed up for work, he made us feel slightly better because he informed us that the hens were murdered by Louie, who had come out of the house for his last rest stop before Selwyn left for the day, and who, instead of resting, ran back to the chicken cage and murdered the two hens. We have Louie because he annihilated his first owner’s flock – we’ve heard any number between ten and twenty-something for that massacre – so we weren’t entirely surprised that he’d decided to take care of our chickens.

That left the rooster by himself. During the day, he continued to wage his rooster wars with the neighbor’s rooster, but at night he would put himself away in the coop, all alone with his hens gone. On Sunday, we let him out and he was patrolling his property, and Tom, Karin, and I went up to Caracol, the Rio Frio Cave, and Rio On Pools with Ofelia and Iris from next door, not returning until shortly after 5:00. When we pulled up in front of the neighbors’ houses, Olmi gestured for Tom to get out of the truck and talk to her. She told him that the rooster had been killed in the road while we were gone, but the carcass wasn’t badly damaged so she had recovered it and Maria and Lucy were plucking and gutting it.

We had been discussing what we wanted to do for dinner, but the questions were resolved when Lucy and Olmi showed up a short time later with a bucket containing the rooster’s carcass. So, we had Roadkill Rooster for dinner, stewed up with recado. Olmi was worried that I would be upset and wouldn’t be able to eat him, but after years of telling my neighbor Diane that “they’re only chickens,” I found that I must have brainwashed myself since I had no trouble at all eating him. I felt slightly guilty for feeding Karin, our guest, roadkill, but it didn’t bother her either and we had a very nice dinner.

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