I had so looked forward to a three-day weekend to catch up on farm chores and new projects but…the kid and I got sick instead. Ack. The only thing I got accomplished was tilling the new greenhouse beds (a not inconsiderable sized 40’x25′ plot) and I, uh, began the Chicken Relocation Project (tractor==>freezer) on Saturday.
Monday was spent napping with her in here, tissues, many books and hydrating cold drinks at the ready:
Isn’t that nice? Tom set up a screen house and hammock in the woods for us. It’s as far away from the gardens as I could get.
: ) how many did you relocate? all at once?
Oh goodness no just 5! I was doing it solo so that’s about all I can do. But at 6 weeks they were all over 5 lbs dressed so…that’s a lot of bird.
Hope you and the “chick” are doing better.
Congrats on the chicken harvest! That’s a lot of work.
haha…chicken relocation? that’s the best term ever. mine need to be relocated soon, too. except i’m gonna need help moving them! so sorry you got sick, i hate it when that happens – especially over the weekend…!
Oh wow, that’s crazy! 5 lbs. at 6 wks!!!
Sorry you were sick, but it still sounds like you got quite a bit accomplished.
I had a senior moment : ) I think I posted a follow-up comment and now cant seem to find it. Maybe I didnt post the second time. I have done crazier things…so I am not surprised.
Hope you are soon feeling better. Not to gross out your readers, but as someone who is seriously considering her own chicken project, I’d love a more fulsome account of the process.
Here, here! More details, please. That’s GOT to be a LOT of work. How did you do it while sick?
Thank you, Kristi. I’m not 100% yet but the kid seems fine. And I do agree the chickens are a lot of work.
Seagrass, I cannot recommend enough having “help” in “moving” the chickens. It’s not that any one task is especially grueling, it’s nice, though, to have a second set of hands and someone you can joke with.
Danielle, yes, it IS crazy, considering I didn’t even have them on the highest protein feed, and I rationed their food. I swear though since this weekend the ones that’re left are now bigger than the ones in the freezer…and I selected those poor fellows because they were the biggest by far. I need to retill the new greenhouse beds though so I don’t feel like I got much done at all.
WF: Hah! I do know what you mean.
Ali, I would like to do a definitive post, as I have been a good accountant and have all my receipts. Let me just say that the killing and the eviscerating are not what takes the most time. Other than the moral and ick factor to both I swear I could do the whole lot of them and not feel terribly wiped out by the process. It’s the plucking that is BY FAR the biggest timesuck, at a ratio of, like, 4:1 to the other stuff. So yes if you two have some help it will be a quick day, but otherwise I would think two people could do 15-20 in a day.
Artemisia: Yes, I will post more. I am sensitive though to the vocal few who’d rather not know. So I will go into more (pictureless) detail a bit later. It is said that the dawning of true consciousness is the realization of one’s complicity in any action. It’s a hard one, killing one’s food, I will admit.
A warning will be hugely appreciated. I’m not the tiniest bit squeamish, but details about killing poultry would be too utterly sad. I say that without intending judgement; I come from a family who raises cattle for the freezer and hunts the rest. As the token vegetarians, my daughter and I are definitely the oddballs (they love us anyway). I just don’t have room in my world for butchering details, so, a giant screaming warning title would send me away for a day. I’ll be back when the topics resume civility. Kidding.
Pamela, I hear you, loud and clear. FWIW I am a recent convert to carnivory after a 16-year stretch as a moral vegetarian. The only way I was able to eat meat again is if I know the animal is raised well and has a stress-free death. DIY is the only way I have complete control of knowing. Subcontracting to one farmer raises and processes his animals with great kindness is half control, but it’s 100% better than picking up a shrinkwrapped package from the grocery store. You’re not oddballs. I might be though by walking this line.
I totally agree with the 100% better than the shrinkwrapped purchasing on all aspects. What did you mean with FWIW?
So sorry you gals are sick. Hope you feel better soon!! xoxo
Oh, and good luck with the chicken relocating. It’s a big job!
May I just interject that if anyone finds reading about the details of slaughtering poultry objectionable, that they may choose simply to not read it. There are those of us who have a genuine interest (bordering on the scientific) in how something like this is done & we’d really like to know. Must we always bend to the will of the “vocal few”? Perhaps I’m still shell-shocked from living near a city that up until a few weeks ago banned foie gras. 🙂
It isn’t that I’m not sympathetic with the discomfort and unpleasantness of being ill. Not at all.
But ohh, I do envy you that lovely way to nap and recover your strength! A screen house and hammocks in the woods! Purest heaven.
I’ve always believed that anyone who eats meat should be willing to honestly confront the process of converting critter to meat. Always thought folks would have a lot more respect for the life represented on their plate if they did. Less likely to waste, too.
I belong to a meat CSA in San Francisco and have volunteered to help with the chicken harvest this year. I figure I’ll learn a lot – will make the process of confronting it alone for the first time much easier.
Oh, Pamela, I guess I just meant “for what it’s worth,” having been a card-carrying member of PETA for years and all. I still have a decal of a carrot on the back of my car: it says GoVEG. (It’s in the shape of those Jesus fish.)
Thanks, Angie! We’re on the mend. Ick I am such the most awful crabby patient. Who knows what’ll happen to me if I ever really get sick. But yes I know you know well what’s required to transition your chickens!
Okay Artemisia: uncle! I will make post that long-ish post soon about the process of putting those 5 birds away last Saturday. Enough people are probably infinitely curious. I am no expert (as Himself was the first bird I ever offed solo) but I do try to be as…considerate as I can be.
Hayden, yes, the screen house is rather nice. We’re debating putting up a more permanent shelter out there with a fire ring etc. It’s really quite private. I am glad you’ll be participating in the process of getting your meat though. You will learn quite a bit. We tend to have such a disconnect as we’ve discussed here. My dad was an occasional bird hunter (pheasants, ducks, grouse, quail) and I remember coming home from school often to a brace of beasties hanging in the cold garage. That was almost 35 years ago, so it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the process firsthand for things that I have eaten. Too long, methinks.
Wow, Artemisia, I have no desire to keep you from your butchering education. I simply requested a warning, since I stop by this blog before I begin painting. Slaughter away.
I won’t share my opinion of those who participate in the existence of foie gras.