Once upon a time we had 13 free range chickens who provided us with delicious farm fresh eggs. These golden days ended during the hottest summer months and never returned. Was it that the chickens were just too old? Not finding enough food? Laying somewhere else? Too hot? Regardless of the reason for our lack of eggs, we were fed up. The very stupid chickens’ only use was as an entertaining spectacle for baby boy as they obnoxiously wandered up to the house and stared at us through the windows. When they started wandering into the neighbor’s yard and pooping all over our driveway, something had to be done and that thing was Chicken Doomsday of 2009…
The day began with a mournful rain. None of us were thrilled about what had to be done, but carry on we did. Grace and I made room in the freezer while the men folk made their way down the hill to retrieve the first few unlucky birds. Apparently, swinging them by their feet has a hypnotizing effect:
Then they sat on them and cut of their heads. Really. Photograph not included. Instead here’s a photograph of my little farmer napping soundly unaware of the demise of his beloved friends:
This is where we stored them before plucking time:
Plucking is awful. Like really bad. Really really really bad. We borrowed this machine from the farm to get the bulk of the feathers off:
Then we plucked with our fingers and tweezers. Grace was thoroughly disgusted, as well she might be, yet soldiered on impressively.
Little known fact (at least to me until yesterday): Chickens smell TERRIBLE. Worse than rotten fish. I’m not sure why, but it’s true.
After plucking three chickens, my little farmer woke up from naptime and I tended to him during the gutting phase. Do I feel a little guilty to have not participated in the gutting and left it to the others? Yes. Was I delighted that I did not have to view the scene as I heard dialogue like, “I just can’t get the lungs out. The intestines and bowels are in the trash but those lungs…” or “where’s the esophagus?” or “oh no” ? Yes, a thousand times yes.
Anyhow, we have 10 frozen chickens in the freezer and ate a delightful chicken stew last night with leeks and potatoes by the fireside.
It seems reasonable that if one is not willing to slaughter an animal for eating, one should not eat said animal after someone else slaughters it, which calls into question whether I am ever allowed to eat poultry again. Way grosser than I imagined. Like disgusting. Like really really disgusting.