Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Mundane Chore of Chicken Killing

It rained in June and nothing more. I brooded eleven broilers and two Americauna chicks through the rainy month.

Finally, sunny weather arrived in July and this morning, my brother-in-law came over and we processed the broilers. In less politically correct terms, we slaughtered all eleven birds.

This is the fifth or sixth year that I have raised broilers and our discussions give insight into our growth.

Years ago, we would be jittery, apprehensive, expectant, and awed by how close we were to procuring our own food. We thought deep thoughts, said profound things, and performed our duty.

Today's dialog was routine.

'Is the hatchet sharp enough?'

Crack! Toss on the lawn. Quiver. 'They're not doing much this time.'

'Plucking really doesn't seem like it's a good use of time. I like the skinning that you're doing.'

True to our pattern, I gave my brother-in-law special assignments while I eviscerated and skinned the birds.

- go dig a hole for the waste
- clean out the feed tray in the brooder
- you're ok with cutting off some of the feet?

Then I went through the final stages of my debate regarding a broody Silkie hen. Earlier in the summer, I liked the novel idea of a broody hen, but I was clueless.

Several weeks into her brood, I learned that I wasn't supposed to remove eggs like I had since day one.

I inspected a few of the eggs. None seemed fertile.

I only had one nest, so the other hens contended for time and space to lay their eggs.

I stopped collecting eggs.

The broody Silkie ate some of the eggs.

I learned that Silkie's are naturally broody and should have a separate nest box just for them.

I only have one nest box.

I didn't see any positive outcome nor end to this cycle.

'May as well take the black hen from the coop.'

He pulled the bird from the clutch of eggs and went toward the chopping block.

'There's nothing to it, is there?'

'Not really. It's light.'

Stretch. Crack!

He tossed the bird onto the lawn and it started running, hopping, flying, and bouncing twenty yards down the sloped hill.

My brother-in-law seized the moment as we watched the Silkie.

'Well finally! Something to break up the mundane chore of chicken killing.'

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