Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blood & Guts

Today was butchering day on Poplar Ridge.  The egg laying up here is getting more pathetic by the week.  Yesterday we gathered 3 eggs - from a total of 22 hens!  They haven't stopped eating, however.  They go through 150 lbs of chicken feed and 50 lbs of corn every 3-4 weeks, along with kitchen scraps.

Ultimately, we decided that the 4 roosters must go, along with the 4 hens that have still not quite recovered from their nakedness despite all the goop and spray and aprons that I have put on their little pink backs and back-sides.

J had a serious problem with this.  (She happened to be away last year on butchering day.)  "You are just so MEAN!"  she cried.  "How would you like it if some bullies picked on you until you had sores, and then someone KILLED you just because you were sick?"

No amount of reasoning with her that chickens don't think and emote like humans would convince her that this was not completely unethical.  Not even the cold hard fact that we raise these chickens for FOOD, swayed her.  She flat out refused to help, so she was sent to work in the garden, pulling out cornstalks while the rest of us did the dirty work.

I don't LIKE doing this, in fact, I feel a bit bad offing these chickens who run up to me every time I go outside (I MUST be bringing them food if I'm coming outside, right?)  The girls and I especially have invested quite a lot of time and energy into keeping these animals healthy and happy.  I too, have to keep reminding myself that they are costing us more and more each day they are not laying, and that having some organic, free range chicken meat over the winter will be much appreciated.  I can understand why the Native Americans would thank the animal that became their meal for dying in order to sustain them - I am ending a life, even if these creatures only have brains the size of raisins.

My parents were busy over in their cabin today, processing a deer that my Dad harvested last evening.  They really depend on the meat that they can procure from hunting to get them through each year.

Even though we all have mixed feelings about this day of blood and guts up on our hill, at the end of it all, the jars of meat on our shelves, and the packages in the freezers are testament to the hard work that we do here and our part in living sustainably on this earth.

By the way, I saw a flock of Turkey Vultures circling overhead this evening.  They will enjoy the parts that we don't...so we are not the ONLY ones gaining here!

1 comment:

Kimberly Long Cockroft said...

Ah! The realities most of us do not face. The cost of living sustainably--that is, becoming attached to what will ultimately be food.

Will J eat any of the chicken? Poor lass. It would be very hard to sympathize with a chicken while knowing it is going to be slaughtered. Give her hugs from her aunty Kim.