I remember Mom reciting the childrens poem, to market to maket to buy a fat pig, to market to market to buy a fat hog. We don't have any pigs at Pooh acres but we sure have a lot of chickens. I am certain that I have talked about a fateful Sunday when I was playing on the computer and told Phil that I ran across this wonderful "deal" for chickens. If you buy 100 meat chickens you get 3 free ducks!!! Plus I could get a great deal on 25 layers that will give us lots of colored eggs. He, apparently not really listening to me said sure, whatever you want to do. So, I ordered 125 chickens to be delivered toward the end of March. It didn't "sink in" for a while what we committed ourselves to. We didn't have a place to keep them when they were little. We really didn't have a big enough chicken yard for them. Heck, we had no idea what we were even doing!!!!!!
So, on that fateful morning of March 23 I got the call from the post office at 5:30 AM to come get them. It was COLD that day. We had to change plans in mid stream in bring a horse trough into the kitchen so we could keep the babies warm. We have somehow struggled through the growing process and only killed a few chickens. We have both learned to open our hearts to these feathered creatures who touched us in so many ways.
I have learned to butcher these birds, but I always give them a hug and tell them thank you! I don't ever want to be de-sensitized to the killing of an animal.
Today we took 66 of our birds to be slaughtered in a USDA approved plant. We got everything ready last night so we just had to catch the birds and get on the road. I was OK with catching them and stuffing them into cages. I was OK with knowing what was going to happen to them. I WASN'T OK with seeing how them were handled. When I butcher I am careful to hug each bird and tell them how much I appreciate their sacrifice. When this kid butchered he didn't care that I have spent every day for the last 4 months with these birds. It was simply a job to him. He didn't care that I knew each bird by sight (sorta) and knew how they were going to act. He didn't care that I had fed each of these birds by hand crooning to them all. He didn't care that each of these birds had been petted and loved by both of us. It was just a job to him.
We left after they were all butchered, wating to be processed. I have to admit that I shed a few tears .... and I believe Phil did as well. I wonder if this is really what we should be feeling. But, then again, I don't want to not have feelings for our animals. I want to be aware of the sacrifice.
We are home, I feel totally drained. I fed our layers and gave them water. I huged a few of them and fed them watermelon rinds. I went to visit Momma and her new baby. She worked so hard (no babies the first time so continued to sit until we gave her another 4 eggs to try again)
One of the 4 hatched.
What am amazing life we have. I wonder why our country gave up living this way. I have such a hard time going into the city every day and working from 7 - 4. I am loosing so much time that could be spent out here, growing, harvesting and preserving. I think that is what God intended us to do.