Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bitter Sweet Side of Homesteading

It is time to thin the flock. The boys are big enough and old enough to meet the freezer now. And I think the girls will be happy!

Sadly dear Rafael will not be staying with us as we had originally planed. Over the last few weeks he has gone from being the King of the flock to being a little to big for his britches. All the other boys have scabs on their combs and waddles from Rafael, he will not let the girls eat any scraps and at night he will chase the other chickens out of the coop. And as if the abuse to the other chickens was not enough, he is getting more and more aggressive to us. I have to admit that I swatted a chicken today out of natural reflex when he went after my hand. But as any sane person would, I laughed hysterically afterwards for spanking a chicken!

This is also the time I am grateful my dad is a hunter and more than willing to do the dirty business. Pop pop use to do his own small game butchering and did his fair share of taxidermy, so he knows what he's doing......and I'm relieved to not be the life taker! I'm not bothered by the thought of raise it to eat, or cooking it... I'm bothered with doing the act of life taking.

Not sure how Z is going to handle all this either. I'll watch him and we'll answer questions and if I feel it is too much right now, then he will be brought inside. But, this is a way of life and it will become a bigger way of our life in years to come. For that reason we do want Z to feel comfortable with the thought and not be afraid to ask questions.

What do you all do with your children when it is butchering time?


Well, the two boys have been removed and taking care of. My son was told everything that was going to happen and what he was going to see. He decided he wanted to watch. Well, he wanted to watch until Pop Pop raised his hand into the air. Then my son took off running to the back of the house. Thank you God!! I was struggling watching the life taking part, but wanted to be strong for Z. Instead we counted how many watermelons and tomatoes were on the plants and admired the other plants. Once heads were removed he was okay with looking at the bodies. Pop Pop decided to simply skin them, Z wasn't wanting to watch that part. But once it was all said and done he wasn't bothered by it all.
The 2 boys waiting to be cleaned up.
When all was said and done, Z was ready to go pick a couple more girls out of the flock for Pop Pop....I stopped him before our precious egg layers meet their fate!

This Blog is linked to:
Homesteader Blog Carnival 17
Homestead Barn Hop 71


  1. Ahh, yes. We've had our own share of aggressive roosters who have attacked our children in fact. They only lived a few short hours after that. Here is a clip of our chicken processing...

    My husband and our friend Jim do the slicing and dicing. Us ladies do the cookin'! :) I don't blame you!!!

    1. Oh if only they werent aggressive! they are so beautiful, but hey, they will also taste wonderful! My dad was more than pleased to get his hands dirty, and my son thought it was great watching his Pop Pop catch the boys! Thanks for adding the clip!

  2. We have too many roosters at the moment, from a badly sexed bunch (they were supposed to all be hens!) I am not sure what to do with them far they are coexisting since they are "siblings" but only time will tell. I struggle with the butchering part of chicken ownership and have avoided it so day we will be ready to take that step...

    1. It wasn't an easy step for me...the taking the life part bothered me, but like I said I was so grateful my dad could do it. One step at a time is the best way to go!

  3. I just culled three roosters from our flock.. for the first time, too. My 26 year old son helped and neither of us was crazy about the killing part. His 6 & 8 year old daughters caught them and brought them and watched the entire procedure and then ate them when they were cooked. They've been told since day one that the chickens were for eggs and meat and not for making friends with and that seemed to help a lot. My main chicken helper, the 8 year old, was bothered the most but even she took it like a trooper.

    1. Eileen, That is great to hear that you kept the kids involved. I think it is very important for the kids to understand everything that is going on and being apart of it. I was nervous about my son, but he too is a trooper.