Chicken Massacre! - Livin' the Good Life
May. 19th, 2008
05:09 pm - Chicken Massacre!
So I went out to water the orchard Thursday morning and glanced over at Damian and Maya's chicken pen, expecting to see chickens busily moving about pecking the dirt. But, instead I saw strange multi-colored lumps lying all over the ground. I moved closer and saw, to my horror, DEAD chickens everywhere! Damian was just walking out the door, and I directed his gaze to the chicken area. We both went over, and our unbelieving eyes beheld the gruesome sight of their thirteen beloved chickens ALL dead. After investigating we decided that dogs had gotten in the pen not long before, and evidently had had a wonderful time chasing, catching, and chomping on chickens. In Damian's words, "It was brutal!" After we wallowed in the shock of it all for a short while, Damian said, "OK. Time to get to work." And he resolutely began beheading and de-legging chickens. We got some boiling water going to dip the chickens in before plucking them. (Which was easier than I thought it would be.) And then Damian did the painstaking work of gutting them. Between each phase, he would consult his country living guide as to what to do next. It took us about six hours. When Maya returned from work, Damian was just cleaning up the last one or two. She helped with the final cleaning, and then they put those birds in the freezer. I thought a lot about this whole experience for several days. Other than feeling sorry that they had to lose their chickens, I just felt very proud of Damian. Neither of us enjoyed the sights and smells of "processing" chickens. But, Damian very matter-of-factly went through the motions of a job that HAD to be done. And he did a very good job of it. I think he now feels confident that he can turn livestock into dinner (birds, anyway. I don't know about goats or steer) and that is something he has been wanting to learn how to do. I think that both he and Maya now feel like they could go out to the pen, pick out a chicken for dinner, and have it ready to cook in an hour or so. What this experience amounted to was a very valuable crash course in an emergency survival skill. It felt very REAL. We had to temporarily tell our feelings to go to sleep, get out of our heads and and into becoming present in our bodies, and rip (lovingly) those chickens apart, because it needed to be done RIGHT NOW. We don't have too many experiences like that in life.