Children, Chickens, and Chivalry

Today was our very first chicken processing day. Neither Trevor or I had ever so much looked as at a chicken the wrong way not to mention preparing one for the table. Trevor actually offered to process the chickens today pointing out the fact that I am the one to process all the meat rabbits. He was right too… why should I have to be the Grim Reaper around here all the time? A girl needs a break from death once in awhile. I much rather focus on my little baby fluffy butts instead and today I got to do just that.

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Cami and I spent some time indoors tending the fire (and doing dishes) while Trevor was outside assuming his role as The Angel of Death. Since the very first day we brought a chicken on this property, I knew we would be butchering a few eventually. I also knew that this would eventually lead to questions from my daughter as to where the chickens go or why we do what we do. What I was not expecting was total acceptance and understanding from a three-year old.

Somehow, Cami had a firm and reasonable grasp on the events of the day. She knew that ‘Daddy was outside turning the old chickens into meat’ so that the ‘new chickens could move into their big house’. There were no tears, she was not upset, and she was surprisingly interested in the process. Of course, I was very hesitant to let her watch. She is still so young after all. She asked me repeatedly to see how ‘chickens were turned into meat’. After a few minutes, I reluctantly took her outside. The two of us stood back as I told her that what she was going to see was very special and to just let me know when she was done and we would go back inside. We talked for a second about how there would be blood and we would see the inside of the chicken. We waited until Trevor had bled out the chicken and it had stopped twitching to go over to look. She was interested in which chicken he was working on and since Trevor had been skinning them all, she took note that one could no longer tell what color the chicken was to begin with. The blood and guts didn’t seem to gross her out and she even wanted to see the other fully-processed chickens in the cooler. After a couple of minutes investigating the scene, Cami decided that all was well and that Trevor was doing a good job. She should be our official health inspector!

This afternoon was filled with some new experiences for all of us. Trevor surprised me with butchering chivalry and Cami absolutely floored me with her curiosity and acceptance of a less than desirable farm job. The best part? I now have beautiful pullets in the big chicken coop and 21 pounds of fresh, home-raised chicken in the fridge.

4 thoughts on “Children, Chickens, and Chivalry

  1. I have found that exposing young children in the slaughtering process is taken in a matter of fact manner by them. If you wait until they are 10, they get squeamish. My 3 and 4 year old grandchildren help me pull feathers every processing day. My pre-teen grandchildren can now help process the chickens and rabbits under careful supervision because of the sharp knives we use..

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