When death is a part of homestead life.
We have a goal of raising as much of our food as possible. Being responsible for that food from start to finish. That means providing our animals with the healthiest life possible, and the most respectful death we can give them.
We have purchased dozens of chicks to raise for meat and eggs. I acquired all the tools necessary for butchering in anticipation of that day.
The day came sooner than expected with a sickly hen that was not getting better. Today was the day. We decided to use this hen as a practice and added an extra rooster to the process.
Our original plan for the day was to take down some old fencing, but this sickly chicken became the priority, and all resources were directed towards the effort.
Mr. J unboxed and assembled the chicken plucker. Our middle son nailed the kill cone to the tree and set up our workspace. I cleaned containers, heated water for scalding, and provided ice water for rinsing. I also collected the chickens.
I must say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I had mentally prepared myself for this day. And it certainly helped that I started roasting whole chickens several years ago. There was a time when I was squeamish around a chicken carcass from the store. Not anymore.
We will make use of every part of those chickens. Nothing will go to waste. The sickly chicken (probably injured, not diseased) ended up in the compost pile We did not want to risk making any other animal sick. The rooster was butchered. The dogs will get the carcass, feet, and organs. The pigs will be offered the intestines and other bits. The water we used to rinse and clean was poured on the plants in the hoop house. The feathers have been tossed in the pig pen. If the pigs don’t eat them, they will end up in the compost.
We need to work on technique. But this is a start. You have to start somewhere.
If you want to grow your own food, you need to do the work. From start to finish. Life to death.