I woke up on the big day — the day devoted to butchering our first rooster, Runner — to the sound of squawking guineas and roosters crowing.
We'd avoided processing him for a long time. We didn't have a proper knife, scalding pot, or the ultimate drive to follow through. Runner was never intended as a meat bird, but his temperament deemed it necessary. Perhaps having to watch him attack our children every day was the Lord's way of easing us into the business of raising meat birds.
I had imagined this day over and over again in my thoughts but I didn't know how it would go. How would I feel? Would I be able to participate?
We arrived at our friend’s home, where the deed would be done, to find them already eviscerating their second bird. I watched as they processed their third, humanely slicing the throat, letting the blood drain, scalding and plucking the feathers, and finally cleaning it out.
I watched in wonder, the children playing in the background throughout the proceedings. When the fourth bird came along, I helped to pluck the feathers, much to my husband's surprise.
Runner was next. My husband prayed, thanked the Lord for this provision, and hung Runner upside down in an orange cone. The sight wasn't gruesome enough to have my children turn away — nothing worse than a few of the movies I have, unfortunately, seen.
Runner shook a bit, bled out, and was still. I, in my pregnant hormonal state, did cry, but after we thanked the Lord for Runner's life, my tears washed away and I plucked the feathers after the scalding. I had imagined it to be a laborious process — one “tweezer pick” at a time — but it was done in a flash. Less than ten minutes and our fluffy Wyandotte was bald from toe to comb.
Unfortunately, we slit open his gallbladder accidentally while cleaning him out, but we flushed the black goo out immediately and it did not leave a stain. My husband removed the heart, lungs, head, feet, and a few other necessities. We then brought Runner into the house to clean him off again, soak him in ice, and freeze him.
I no longer dread the thought of chicken culling. My hands have been involved in nearly every aspect of the process and I thank the Lord that I was able to see a chicken raised humanely, fed a soy-free, free-range, non-GMO diet, and killed quickly to provide sustenance for my family.
It is much easier to call our neighboring chicken farmer, but we now await our first order of meat birds. To see and care for the life that will one day provide food for my family is a wonderful experience that feeds not only my body, but my soul as well.
What was your first butchering experience like? Did you have any mixed feelings? If so, what were they?
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