Tonight I prepared the chickens we processed earlier in the week for Sunday meals. It was bittersweet in some ways. Zombie chicken faced his second death, and this time didn’t rise. It was also the boys first time being present for the processing, albeit unintentionally. I looked up at a gasp as the chicken met it’s last moment to the back door swinging and 2 boys standing still as statues with mouths gaping open, staring at the flapping, headless bird. Since they had joined me, I decided they would help pluck the birds as well; might as well do it all! Jameson did quite well for his first time, though JJ was another story.
I told JJ that he needed to help as he sat on an upended bucket watching his older brother bravely pluck feathers one by one with two fingers. He continued watching his brother and stated “I think I need to be at least 7 to do this job, Mom”. Yeah, right. I plunked a mostly de-feathered bird on the table and told him it was his, and if he wanted to eat fried chicken he would help out. He looked at me, and said “If I have to take feathers off to get fried chicken, then I won’t eat it”. O-kay. I changed tactics… “You are part of this family and WILL help, whether you eat or not!”. He reluctantly stood up and began helping, but I can easily tell which childs birds was which tonight as I prepared them for cooking. We still have to work on the attitude 😉
Processing also opened up many questions from the boys. They are rather intelligent (if I do say so myself) and asked questions I really didn’t want to answer, but did my best to be truthful and brief since they asked. I had to explain that it was better to give our birds a good life and kill them humanely when the time was right, and that yes, they did feel pain but we try to make it short. Jameson took it all pretty well, though he looked like he wanted to cry. He understands that we have to eat, however, and accepted that I didn’t like this either. JJ, well… I’m not sure exactly how he has taken it, but we do live on a farm. So, tomorrow they will reap the tasty rewards of their labor. I think they will be rather proud of themselves when I share that they helped get dinner 🙂