At first I wasn't going to post this here but instead on a separate page so people who didn't want to see these photos wouldn't accidentally come across them. But then I realized... you're reading a farm blog right now, and this is where our food comes from. If you eat meat or eggs or even wear things that are made with leather, then this is something you should probably accept happens in order to make those products you take off the shelf. If fact, it's much better than where your food and animal products are probably coming from now because this little bird had a good start in life and was killed quickly and processed with respect. So here it is, with no apologies - my first slaughter:
One of our Cornish Cross meat birds wasn't doing so well. Her right leg was injured in some invisible way because she wouldn't stand on it, and I let it go for a while hoping she'd recover. Now her brothers and sisters are at least twice her size, and she couldn't get to the food and water because they all pushed her to the side. In other words - it was time for my first slaughter.
I had never killed anything larger than a spider (*shudder at spiders*), so I was extremely nervous and anxious until Saturday rolled around. Like... freaking out kind of anxious. Not only was I scared because I'd never killed anything, but I also wanted to make sure I did it right (aka fast) and also butchered her correctly so we could actually use the meat. I read all that I could and watched a few YouTube videos and gained confidence. Since we were only doing one little bird, we didn't set up everything we plan to for the big slaughter day (July 8th) like the scalder and plucker and killing cones. So this was done a bit more rustically (is that a word - cause it should be. Most of my life is lived pretty rustically).
First, she and I bonded a bit. By which I mean I carried her around until I calmed enough to do it without shaking.
I told the duckies to turn away:
Then I did it. It was quick. I didn't cry either!
We scalded her (dipped her in very hot water to loosen the feathers), then Dave plucked her. She started to look like food once the feathers were gone.
This is the part where I got nervous again. If I accidentally cut her intestines or her gallbladder, we wouldn't be able to use the meat, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to do this right so her life wouldn't have been a waste.
It took me about 30 minutes (at least 10 times longer than it should have), but I did it! It actually felt a lot like high school science class once I got started. I felt a whole lot of pride, and I felt like a real farmer.
Here's our 1.3lb cornish hen - is it bad that at the end i said, "Wow! She looks like real food!"
Dave built the ducks an adorable duck house by the pond:
We let them out for the first time yesterday into the pond. I have never seen such happy creatures in my life! Bask in their happiness:
I lurve them.
One of my hens has gone broody in the woods! (for you non-chicken dorks, that means she's hiding out somewhere sitting on eggs til they hatch) She came back to the coop for food and water, and I followed her back to her nest... here it is:
What, you can't see it? How about from this angle:
No? Ok, here she is: (I walked Dave right up to her and was pointing about 6 inches from her nest, and he still couldn't see her - nice job, Emmy-lou)
She's been missing for about a week and a half, so later this month, hopefully we'll see baby chicks with fluffy legs walking out of the woods behind her :)
This girl!!! Here, see:
Another kindergarten class at my mom's school hatched Pekin ducks. Hooray for baby ducks!
Right now they're in a stall in the barn... with a bright pink kiddie pool of course! I may have gone to Wal-Mart with a friend... we may have bought that kiddie pool, 2 cases of beer, and a bunch of ammo for skeet shooting. Those are the makings of any good party, no?
Try not to die from the cuteness. Because that will make the baby ducks sad.
Jen & Dave Paul, owners & operators of Old Post Farm