Friday, 28 August 2015

Goodbye Sasha

Sasha, my lovely araucana cockerel, is a very lucky boy.

As soon as we suspected he might be a boy, I had started to look for a possible new home for him.  The other alternatives were to take him to the allotment and put him with the rest of the dinner birds,  where he would be seen as a new invader and bue bullied by all of them for the rest of their lives,  or to dead him.
I would not, under any circumstances, offer him on selling pages as "free to good home".  If I did,  he'd most likely either end up in the pot or, more likely,  he would be collected up by a perfectly respectable looking person but would actually be used as training fodder in illegal cock fighting.   It's a horrible world sometimes.

I had found 4 places (not counting rescue places) that looked like they might take him, with the intention of keeping him. .  The nearest was an hour and a half away,  the others were two to three hours away.

When we had irrefutable evidence that he was, indeed, a h - he was standing on the back of the bench, crowing his lungs out -   I contacted the first person on my list.  The lady I spoke to sounded OK. We chatted.   I then had an unplanned trip to Devon come up,  and I realised that I could deliver him en route.  We messaged, and it was all set up.

So today I caught Sasha and popped him into a cat carrier, along with some icenerg lettuce.  I put his suitcase in the boot, and set off.    He was quiet and calm for most of the journey, but he did get a bit chatty tomwards the end.  I gave him a few mealworms every 10  minutes for the last half hour.

Elaine was lovely.  We met at her brother's house. We chatted about hens in general, smallholdings, mealworms, Sasha's circumstances.  I swapped him into the dog crate she had ready,  I gave her the contents of the suitcase - pellets, so that he could transition to whatever she fed;  more lettuce for the journey ; a peckablock for the journey;, and a small pot of mealworms.  We continued to chat, talking about araucanas and what she had planned for him.

And then he escaped.

We hadnt realised that the dog crate was upside down, and the bars that are meant to be on the bottom are actually wider spaced than the rest. He managed to squeexe through and ran down the lane.

I grabbed the mealworms and walked after him, throwing a couple to get his attention. He stopped, ate one, and eyed up a field through a fence.

I told myself that, if it ended this way, he'd still had a good life.

I flopped to my knees, and threw some more mealworms.  I held one in my fingers and he stretched to eat it.  I shuffed forward on my knees, and put some more mealworms down, making sure both my hands were in front of me.

I put the pot down, and waited, still with my arms in front.  He shuffled forward, darted for the pot, and grabbed a mealworm.  I waited. He came forward again and started to eat a few more; I moved my hand and manged to get his back firmly enough that he couldn't run away.

I picked him up, gave him some mealworms, and popped him back in the righted crate.


He's going to have a harem of 6 leghorns.  The female offspring will lay blue eggs, and will lay more eggs than an araucana would.

He's a very lucky boy.

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