Friday, October 4, 2013

The Reality of Raising Chickens

**Warning: This most contains pictures of processing a chicken. Proceed at your own risk!**

If you disagree with our choices to eat the birds we raise, please run away now-just like these guys. 

Earlier this year, we decided to get chickens. Why did we get chickens? Well, we certainly enjoy the fresh eggs, but we really enjoy having them as pets as well. When we first got them, the deal was there was to be no roosters-only hens. Well, shortly after we got the first five, we decided to expand to 10. Having 10 is a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed seeing them as babies!

And after we had 10 for a couple of weeks, the husband finally convinced me to get a rooster. So, I gave in. We got a rooster. 

As is our luck, as soon as we got the rooster (affectionately named Deuce Bigelow), one of our young "hens" started crowing. It was then we realized that one of them had to go. Our older ladies came from a place with too many roosters, so we knew what would happen if we kept too many amorous young roos with the ladies. It was only a matter of time before one would have to go. The time finally came. "Dora", who became known as "Fried", flew up in my face and started stalking me. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to chicken on human violence. The countdown was on. 

So I did a lot of reading and talking to folks with experience. Then we set the date. We were a bit nervous, and quite honestly, I didn't know if we could go through with it. So, I had one of my friends come over. I knew she would be able to make the lethal slice if we couldn't. And while we're being honest here, I wasn't the one who did the deed. I had the husband do that. 

The chicken is still alive in this photo-he's just in the upside down trance. I'm sure there's a name for it, but all I know is when you hold them upside down, they instantly calm down and just sort of hang there. 

We said our goodbyes, knowing he had a pretty awesome life for a rooster. I prepared everything in the kitchen for the processing. I knew all I needed was a pot of hot water for the scalding and a sharp knife, but I like to be prepared. 

After the plucking, my friend and I proceeded to butcher. Let me tell you, real friendship is your best friend pulling the insides out of chicken bare handed since you took the last pair of gloves. 

After chilling in the fridge for a few days, we had a nice roasted chicken dinner. 

Olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper were all I needed-along with a pan full of onions, carrots and celery for a delicious dinner. 

The night we butchered Fried, two more of our young "hens" started crowing. Well, I guess that's the reality of raising chickens-you're bound to end up with more roosters than planned! Now that we've got the first bird done, and didn't end up with nightmares of roosters (which was a realistic fear I had), we'll be ready when these guys are a little bigger! 

1 comment:

Joani said...

Yup. One just doesn't know whether it will be a hen or a rooster. So glad that you were able to eat your raised chickens/rooster. I did this all the time when we lived at grandmothers. Have a great weekend.