Kristoph Silver Laced Wyandotte

We should have figured it out earlier. The chick’s large size and aggressive behavior toward the other chicks were early clues, but we had ordered from a reputable supplier who we assumed had the experience to sex the chicks accurately. Then one morning it became blatantly obvious. Wynonna stretched out her neck and let out a loud “ert-er-ert-er-errrrrr.” Yep, we had us a rooster.


We changed its name to Kristoph and began to weight the pros and cons of having a rooster in the flock. On the plus side he helped to kept the flock from straying too far; he rounded them into the coop in the evening and sounded an alarm when cats or dogs came onto the property or when a hawk flew overhead. The down side was the potential to disturb the neighbors with his crowing and the unrelenting chasing and mounting of the hens. He is an adolescent after all.

As with most animals chicken mating is anything but gentle and Kristoph was having his way with all of the hens but he was particularly fond of one of our older hens, Ethel. Ethel bore the wounds of repeated mountings and had to be separated from Kristoph and the others to heal both physically and mentally.

We posted on the local chicken keepers Facebook page offering Kristoph free to a good home. There were no takers. Jokingly, I offered him to the cable salesman that appeared at our door. He said he wasn’t interested but his grandfather had a farm and would be happy to take such a fine looking bird. He said he would be back the following evening to pick him up.  Of course he never showed up.

The decision was made that Kristoph was going to be “what’s for dinner.” It would be our first time butchering a chicken and naturally we were a little apprehensive but felt it would be an important lesson in our education as urban farmers.

I am a chicken keeper only by association. I enjoy the chickens and help with their care and feeding but my responsibility only goes so far. My wife and son would carry out the sentence. I was to be nothing more than a documentarian.
When the day came, as preparations were being made I slipped off into the nearby easement to play with my chainsaw. I was a few cuts into an old log when my son appeared at the woodpile. “Dad, are you going to take pictures? He asked. We had talked about it the day before. I said I would but now that it was actually going to happen I was reluctant but I decided that if my son was actually going to do the deed the least I could do was document it.
As new urban farmers this would be an important rite of passage for all of us, thou more so for Kristoph than for us. I had photographed uncomfortable situations before, things like surgeries, anatomy classes with cadavers and rescue dogs covered with ticks. I had dealt with these situations by placing a camera between myself, and what was taking place in front of me. I would have to do the same now.

I put down the chainsaw and headed to my office to get a camera. It was at the last minute I decided to shoot video rather than stills. The video can be seen below. Though you may be tempted to hit the pause button please watch it to the end.

  Killing Kristoph from Addison Geary on Vimeo.