Sunday, December 2, 2012

Harvesting Chickens

If more people were forced to harvest, prepare, and store their own meat I’m sure there would be far more vegetarians in this world. We harvested eight roosters this past weekend and the whole time I thought, “I don’t like meat this much.” It’s a horrible process. I’m glad it is only one time a year. After killing, scalding, plucking, and gutting the chickens both Milly and I felt ill. Hopefully a few Sunday dinners from now we’ll get over our weak stomachs.

None the less, the deed is done. We have found having more than one rooster for twenty hens causes considerable trouble. Our hens were mistreated last year from the increased testosterone abounding so harvesting is a necessary process for us. It also gives us a good source of food from animals that were treated with dignity and respect.

Ringo has a hard time with the harvesting part. The chickens are his responsibilities and he has named most of them. They flock around him as he hands out food. So it is understandably tough to see his friends go.

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He’s good at catching the birds however so his part in the process was to run and grab while I disposed of the animals while he was conveniently away.

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There are many blogs out there about the how to’s of processing chickens. I bet none of them suggest using a basketball hoop as a potential hanging device. This is why I’m so bad at basketball. This was the most use this hoop has seen in a year.

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You can tell we have a heritage breed of chickens and don’t feed them weight gaining food. This is about as skinny as you’ll ever see a six month old chicken. We sacrifice weight for no antibiotic, hormone free meat. There is not much too them but they taste good.

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Here’s another one we plucked. You can see the anatomical  similarity between the bird and the boy.

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It’s December and we are just getting to harvesting. The chicks were late this year thus we put this off as long as we could to give them a little more time to put on weight.

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Here’s a better picture to end off on. This bird is still a little runty. Hopefully he’ll fill out in a year or two and get a little more meat on his bones. He eats a ton of delicious chicken but still hasn’t filled out as he’d like.

Milly and I are still considering vegetarianism but it won’t happen for at least eight more Sundays. It would be sad to put all that past effort to waste.

Anyone else out there wimpy like me?