Thursday, February 4, 2010
Free Range Chickens....Tender and Tasty
Our chickens love their lives. They have to be the happiest chickens around. They can go where they please, hunt and peck in any flower bed or leaf pile. I can look out any window of my house, and I may catch a glimpse of one of these white beauties.
We ordered 25, got 27. We were supposed to only get one extra one....a rare bread. Guess mistakes happen in the chicken business. I ordered a straight run, to save a few pennies. My destiny of boys continues even with the chickens. When we are all done butchering I will only have six chickens left, the hens. Not a very good rate. I should have just paid a bit more for a straight run of hens. But I had this idea that it would be fun and yummy to eat our own chickens. Good thing I have a large, upright freezer for all those birds.
The first Saturday that we butchered the boys were quite intrigued, so was our dog.
My middle son comforted me after the first head rolled, actually it flopped and was promptly snagged by our dog Oscar---swallowed in one gulp.
It is quite the process. Chop head on stump. Dip bird in hot water. Pluck feathers. Cut/Butcher. Place whole birds in cold water in freezer chest. Disinfect knives several times after the day of work is done. Stuff whole birds in freezer bags. Place in freezer. Scour pots. Scour freezer chest.
And even though I know that our chickens are so much better, cleaner, and healthier....I feel a bit grossed out by the yellow skin. Then I am grossed out that the skin of chickens from the store are white. I tell myself it is a breed issue. Right?
Now my kids know that when we say we are eating chicken, we really are. I'm hoping this transfers to beef and fish. I do like that my kids get food and get where it comes from. I'm glad that my cupboards are full of summer canning and that the pears they ask for come from our trees. I'm happy to feed my baby applesauce I prepared.
I'm also happy to let you all know that in no way has this seemingly "violent" act scared or harmed my children. They like our chickens. They like to hold them and take care of them, and .....enjoy them in soup.
They know the difference between hens and roosters.....girls vs. boys. My oldest is always determined to hold a hen since they were the clear minority and more of a challenge to catch. However, after this last round the hens should be easier to capture....we are planning to keep one rooster, Favorite Lightning Squeak. He's the rare breed that the boys actually named.