How I love the New Year!
For me it is always a time for making plans and looking ahead.
This year two of the projects that I’m looking forward to are the home manufacture of a small amount of linen cloth and raising a few home-grown capons.
I’m planning on growing flax from seed and then retting, scrunching and heckling the flax fiber. After that it’s on to hand spinning the flax line into thread and then weaving the linen thread into cloth.
I want to produce some small linen towels, a couple of bread cloths and maybe enough extra linen for a new kitchen curtain or nightgown for myself.
It’s been 15 years since I last grew a small plot of flax. I’m still not quite certain where I’ll put the flax plot this year because my gardens have grown smaller over the years. I’m sure by early spring I’ll find a place.
I also have plans for another capon project this summer.
If you don’t already know, a capon is a very large male chicken that has had its testes surgically removed before sexual maturity. The lack of male sex hormones makes capons grow faster. Capons are a more tender and juicy chicken than a regular farm raise hen or rooster.
I have a new Brahma rooster that’s been running with my hens and I’d like to see what type of capon a Brahma X Black Jersey Giant or Brahma X Plymouth Rock produces.
I plan to start collecting eggs on May 15th and begin incubating about 30 eggs on May 29th. This should give me about 15 to 20 chicks on June 19th with hopefully more than half of those chicks being cockerels.
Usually cockerel chicks (immature male chickens) are unwanted chicks because there’s not a big demand for roosters. In fact many commercial hatcheries dispose of their unwanted live cockerel chicks in large dumpsters every month. Such a terrible waste of animal life and potential food – but that’s a whole other post.
Capons are a very good way to make good use of those unwanted male chickens.
But caponizing cockerels has become almost a lost skill and sometimes the mortality rate can be high shortly after the chicks are caponized. I’m going to be sure to wear my good glasses and pick a favorable day to do it.
If I get 3 or 4 capons out of the project and a few extra pullets for the hen-house I will consider the capon project to be a success.
It will be towards the very end of 2013 before I’ll know how either project -linen cloth or capons – will turn out. Here’s to plenty of rain for the flax and a healthy hatch!
I’m wishing each and every one of you all the very best in 2013.
Comments are open and I’d love to hear about your plans for the coming year.