Sunday, July 23, 2006

Meat birds are still there

The meat chickens have had a stay of execution. I was going to process them this morning, but we decided to let them fatten up for a while longer. Besides, we didn't feel like it.

Those who aren't used to killing their own food may be put off by our flippant attitude. I guess you could consider it to be dark humor. I don't consider it so because they are animals, not people. Dead baby jokes and the like are dark humor.

When you get a bunch of us in a group, like on the various poultry and livestock news groups, things can get interesting. For instance, my recommended prescription for a mean rooster is to trim his beak -- back somewhere behind the ears.

Another person was wondering how to stop a rooster from crowing. I guess there is a type of surgery that will do the trick, but it's expensive and dangerous to the rooster. Nobody has found a vet that would do it.

Someone else suggested that there might be something that you could put on the bird's neck to stop him from crowing. "Yah, it's called a killing cone" quipped someone.

A killing cone is an inverted cone with a hole in the bottom. You slip the meat bird upside-down in the cone so that his head is sticking out the bottom. Then, you use pruning shears or something like that to do the job. The bird is held in a perfect position for bleeding out.

Of course, there are a number of people on those groups who can't stand the thought of eating an animal that they knew. If you didn't grow up with the reality of killing your own food, that's a very understandable attitude.

But it isn't necessarily easy for the more experienced people, either. It's not something that can be taken lightly by most people. I did it for the first time in a couple decades just two years ago. After killing the bird, I had to go sit down and relax. It was a very solemn occasion.

On the other hand, it wasn't a big deal last week. I just got the job done as humanely as possible. Once he could feel no more pain, it was just meat that needed to be separated from the guts and feathers. It's a yucky job, but medical exam gloves help a lot.


Blogger Chickpea said...

Thanks for this, it's helpful to get some insight into this for a lifelong townie like me. Most of us have become very divorced from this kind of thing - we eat meat every day but never ever get blood on our hands. We hardly ever even see meat that still resembles an animal. Paradoxically, though, our very squeamishness is what allows inhumane animal practices to continue, because we just can't imagine the connection between chicken McNuggets and a bird living out its life in a cage in a hangar. The person who raises and slaughters all his or her own meat can choose to be responsible for very litle cruelty. But the person who buys all their eggs, milk and meat may well be (indirectly) responsible for a great deal of cruelty.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Nerd in the Country said...

Ah... thanks for the kind words. I was wondering if I was going to annoy people by talking about where we get our food. I can definitely understand if someone doesn't want to be reminded.

12:01 AM  

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