Hi everybody! Lol I dropped completely off the map after my last post, forgot completely to update on how my caponizing went!
It was super successful, which makes me glad to know that that second batch I did had such a poor success rate because they were bantams, not because I'm just plain terrible at it! I've only got one remaining from that second batch - the other "success" came down with some kind of infection a couple months post-surgery, it was all through his lungs and liver at autopsy - NO clue what that was about - but the one who was most successful is a very happy, healthy Cornish Bantam capon. I was originally gonna eat him - I was gonna call it a "heritage cornish game hen" - but... well, he's very cute and very sweet. And very big. So he gets to stay around, eat up my feed, and do absolutely nothing of value. He's lucky I work at a feed dealer and get a bargain deal on my feed!
As for my third batch, I'm very happy with the results! I originally set out to do 9 cockerels. That came down to 7, as my mom decided to "rescue" one of the cockerels from their temporary pre-surgery cages (AKA move him back into the pen and feed him... *sigh*) and I decided to go ahead and leave my BlueCM boy intact, as I would like to get some proper Ameraucanas and produce some OEs next year, if possible. What I ended up with was 2 Red Sex Link (SussexXRock) cockerels, 2 Dark Cornish cockerels, 1 Buff Cochin cockerel, 1 SussexXGLW cockerel, and a questionably-too-old BrahmaXCochin cockerel.
The RSL, Cochin, and SussexXGLW all went great - pretty sure I got 100% of the testes out! Most came out in 1 piece, some of them I got 1 out whole and others in 2 pieces. The Dark Cornish, however, were very... *disagreeable*. I've never had a bird struggle and scream that much! And they have so much power behind that leg muscle, they nearly got loose a couple of times. If I order a big run of them like I possibly may next summer, I'm going to need to invest in some better tie-downs. One of them, once I got him calmed down, was a pretty good success - looked like all of the testes came out. The second one struggled so much, they came out in about 8 different pieces. I think I got all of it, but there's no way of knowing for sure unless he starts looking like a slip! As for the CochinXBrahma cockerel.. I did the first cut and went for the rib spreaders, and the bones wouldn't budge. Waaaaaay too old. I think the friend I got him from kinda underestimated his age! I just said "nope" and backed off. He'll be grown out as a proper rooster, maybe I'll use him for some Coq au Vin stew.
As for my first batch, all 3 are growing well, and one in particular is getting very big. Like, 9 or 10 pounds at 8 months big. He's the same size as one of my English Orp crosses! He's not even a heavy breed! He's 1/4 Ameraucana, 1/4 Jersey Giant, and 1/2 EE! Although he has been displaying some weird behavior lately... I think he may be a slip? He's been holding his tail higher and has started dropping his wing for nearby hens and any roosters that get too close, and his voice is DEEP. He doesn't full on dance or cackle, and I've never seen him crow or mount, but he does drop his wing a lot! Is he possibly 99% capon but I missed just enough to make him a minor slip? Or is this just more of a remnant-behavior/brain-structure thing? I'm not too terribly concerned, since he doesn't seemed interested in mating. This is the one I'm planning on keeping as a run ornament... he's soooo pretty, and that beard is getting bigger everyday! It's very soft.
My other two aren't growing so big... maybe 7-8 pounds... but they are growing well regardless. The white/black one is getting very stocky, despite being pretty short. Just like his daddy, lol!
I don't have any recent pictures now, but I'll try to get some before I go on vacation this weekend! Those RSL capons from batch #3 are already getting huge... and I've got another 7 of their little brothers lined up for next month or so! Can't wait to have a yard full of capons... even if they're destined for the freezer, they sure are fun to look at in the meantime! Without, of course, all the hassle of bald, stressed hens.
Other notes: I didn't use ice. It took so long last time that the anticipation of having an actual timer on kept getting me even more nervous than I should have been... I think a bit more pain is a fair exchange for having less shaky hands! Less chance of hitting that fabled artery, ugh. I also didn't use any of the numbing mint gel because I couldn't find it! Somebody moved my med kit... AGAIN... honestly people. I DID put some classical music on my laptop this round as well. It calms both me and the birds! I also went in from BOTH sides for all of the capons. I tried to do it from one side on the first one... but I had to get through that membrane to get to the other teste through the same opening, and the last time I stuck the pointy end inside the bird, I hit "the" artery and lost the bird in 30 seconds. I didn't want to lose any nice birds, so I just went in through both sides. More healing but safer work by far. My favorite part of this batch: Only 1 windpuff out of 6 birds! The one that did puff swelled like crazy... he looked like a ballon... but one pop and it hasn't returned! None of the others puffed at all.
And now my boss wants me to capon some birds for him, lol... he's got a couple Naked Necks he wants to grow out for meat! I'm excited to see how that goes, NN capons should get BIG... now I just need to set up a date to get over there and do it...