A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From pasture to plate

**Warning vegan-inappropriate content follows...

This week-end we butchered our 142 meat birds. They were 9 1/2 weeks old. It is just bizarre that they can go from this...
in such a short time to this...

**Photo courtesy of Herman Saksono

We didn't take any pictures, which many of you will likely be grateful for :) But if you want to see some more detail, you can check out this blog.

It was an amazing experience for a number of reasons.

First, we really, really know where our food is coming from...no nasty anti-biotics or growth hormones for these guys...just grass and clean, organic feed, clean bedding and some room to roam.

Second, as meat eaters, I think it's our responsibility, even for the kids, to understand that meat doesn't mysteriously arrive at the store in plastic sealed packages, we are taking a life and we do that mindfully and with the least amount of cruelty to the animal as possible.

Third, because we had so many, there was no way we could process them alone...not to mention that since we had never done it before, I wasn't sure how it would go...we enlisted the help of some friends, neighbours and family. We had 6 adults helping with killing, plucking, eviscerating and packing, as well as a few kids here and there catching chickens for us and my wonderful cousin-in-law kept us fed and hydrated all day. We feel so grateful to have had so many willing and helping hands.

Fourth, wow...what a lesson in anatomy! I remember as a child, being fascinated by the giblets of a turkey my mom had in the sink. In the process of eviscerating these guys, it was amazing to me to see the undigested grain in the crop, the rocks in the gizzard for breaking down that food and the surprise finds like a small bullet we found...(chickens will eat anything and most ranches around here need to control the gophers as cattle fall into their holes and break their legs)

Fifth, we have about 65 chickens in the freezer ranging from 3 1/2 pounds to over 8 pounds, to feed our family over the next year. We bartered some for a pig, some for the use of pasture/chicken tractors and the rest for all of those who were willing to help us out in this endeavour.

We will definitely do it again next year, but maybe not quite so many!