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Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Wanna-Be Farmer but Never a Butcher

Credit: Virginia Kahler-Anderson
Chickens regarded as pets and not food!

We were beside ourselves with excitement and anticipation, drooling at the prospect of becoming “fully fledged farmers.”

We’d raised our beloved chickens from the time they were bright yellow little fuzzy-balls, and we kept them well fed and wholly healthy. And when the time was right we even enjoyed gathering and eating their freshly laid eggs. Rich delectableness! We also planned to enjoy cooking a variety of chicken recipes: fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, chicken on the rotisserie, flesh smothered in butter and sage. Why, the recipes we came up with were mouthwatering and endless. Alas, we quickly found out that we just couldn’t eat our beloved chickens to save our lives!

Could you kill and eat chickens you’ve raised from adorable wee-little-things?

Unless I thought us real butchers or my family desperately needed feeding....

And by the way, it didn’t help to have given them names!

We were finally leaving the city and moving to a 1-acre property and with more space than we’d ever known. (This was our opportunity, after all, and we were going for it.) We were leaving behind “city noise” and “laws” that barred us from keeping barnyard animals in our own backyard. Our move to the new property would put us just on the outskirts and thus allow us to raise and keep livestock.

Armed with exhilaration at the prospect of enjoying fresh eggs and meat, and doing it all ourselves—like real farmers!—we wasted no time and ordered our crop of little chicks: (brown egg layers) Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds, and Araucanas (egg colors known to range from aqua blue to green hues and even pink and yellow), for a total of 13 egg-laying chickens.

And adding to our menagerie of “farm animals,” we also ordered six prolific egg-laying Khaki Campbell Ducks to boot.

We were beside ourselves with excitement and anticipation, drooling at the prospect of becoming “fully fledged farmers.”

My husband and I spent an entire month at the new property before the actual move building a very fancy chicken coop to house our new birds, a house that would protect them against the hot and cold days—as well as keep them safe from the winged and four-legged predators. And let me tell you, it was a very nice chicken house, if I do say-so. (Add some insulation and electricity and hubby and I could have moved in!) It had every comfort, and more, necessary for our birds to thrive: windows with screens, a solid roof, a real door, and a very large caged area that would allow them in-and-out access to safely roam.

The ducks, too, had their own proper home and cage. So everyone was comfortable and happy!

I loved my chickens and ducks; I spoiled them daily with fresh fruit and vegetables. And I was the one that found the very first little egg; I found it on my birthday. So I couldn’t have received a better present. I fried it and enjoyed it with a piece of buttered toast to dunk into my petite, bright-yellow egg-yolk. The yolk was scrumptious, richer and tastier than any egg I’d ever remembered having. This tiny egg made store-bought eggs taste nothing short of blah!

We spent the next many months collecting an abundance of eggs, enough so that we were able to share with family and friends, but by the end of summer we were drowning in abundance of eggs. We decided to cut back on our livestock and enjoy fresh chicken meat. We chose an old hen that our landlord had just taken upon herself to throw in with our collection of chickens, and an inadvertent rooster. We had no fears; we were capable. We’d been firmly schooled by my mother, after all, who’d been schooled in the old country of El Salvador, on how-to kill and clean a chicken. My husband had also watched his father (who kept chickens many years ago) properly kill chickens for many of their dinners while growing up at home.

So we were ready, or so we thought.

I will spare you from reading the harrowing details on “how-to butcher and clean a chicken.” Suffice it to say that I threw up and cried torrents. Hubby, too, was a sympathizer of how I felt. And we could NOT, I repeat, “NOT”, cook nor eat the hen or rooster, though they were now expired. And the memory of the deed will forever linger!

In conclusion, though I am for certain a wanna-be farmer, I am not a butcher.

We dream a life to be; we live to dream that life! (vka)

Virginia Kahler-Anderson



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HomeRearedChef is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on A Wanna-Be Farmer but Never a Butcher

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By riginal on August 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm

yeah V my mates and me were broke on holidays long time back, went to a slaughter house after a job cleaning up etc. The cattle were pushed down a chute baulking with fear as they were being stunned, each in turn, by a guy who looked nonchalant. Pitiful sounds. We walked away. And i can't stand people crying. I'll give you my last dollar, please don't cry...it's your soul leaking. Like it or not we have to eat but there are other ways to absorb protein etc, yeah i guess it's best not to know names or even relate, maybe that's why vegetarians maybe feel a tad more guiltless? Saw a huge lobster on a plate the other night in an eatery...it didn't look happy or at least as happy as it was previously to being caught. At least when i kill a packet of 2 minute noodles they don't suffer but the way i cook maybe they do? Anyway some of the steak iv'e eaten was like chewing rubber. The cows in India don't know how lucky they are?

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By riginal on August 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

i could cheerfully kill the drongo that installed that Java simile though...what he/she's done is in poor taste, butchering other people's enjoyment. And it doesn't go way...damned nuisance phising...maybe the idiots should go fishing...as bait?

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By HomeRearedChef on August 14, 2014 at 02:42 pm

LOL! I think we all know a few people, we won't mention names, that SHOULD be bait.

And like I said, I am not a vegetarian, and probably couldn't kill a beast for meat, even if my life depended on it, but I do love my fried chicken and grilled steaks. I know, I am a sad specimen. lol!

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By Barbara MacDonald on August 14, 2014 at 05:38 pm

Oh Virginia we are so alike...I still have nightmares about my little pig who was my pet as a child, that got killed and it devastated me...I would not eat any of this, even though at the time food was a bit scarce...I preferred to go without, rather than think about eating my sweet pet. Chickens... I also witnesed what they do to them....not good seeing them running around with no heads and then hanging from the clothline....sigh...I was far too sensitive to watch this, even as a young child.

I would not be able to do this even now...what did you do with your babies now that you have moved into your apartment? I saw pictures of the home you made them on Facebook..it was wonderful....

Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirit through your writing my dear friend...love ya xoxo.

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By HomeRearedChef on August 14, 2014 at 06:37 pm

Amiga, my mother was always teasing that my chickens looked good to eat. Well, no-way that I could ever eat the ones I raised...the eggs, that's a different story. :)

We found a couple that were more than happy to take them, and the entire coop/pen. I didn't want to break up the group, and I was happy they were going to a great home (in the country!). I still miss my girls very much. I try not to think about my pets or I start crying.

Thank you for stopping by to read and commnet. It is nice to know my words are not just out there in the void. lol! XOXO

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By Barbara MacDonald on August 14, 2014 at 06:50 pm

LOL...sometimes I prefer the "void" to reality....idealist dreamer that I am....

That's good that they are still together and so nice of you to give them and their home , and they are still in the country....can you go visit sometimes? maybe get some eggs still, or is it too far?

...I am sure you do miss them. I know how much joy they brought to both you and Bob....

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