The other day I had to do something that needed to be done. It was not something I was happy to do nor was I looking forward to doing it. I had to butcher two of my roosters. I've had them for over a year. My vision was simple: raise chickens for eggs and sometimes for meat. Sounds easy enough, plenty of people do it-but I hadn't done it.
Ideally, chickens should be eaten when they are young, but I wasn't ready yet last year to do it. I spent an entire year researching and studying exactly how to do it properly, so that my friends would not be wasted. Yes. They were my friends. I loved them dearly. I wanted to have enough information implanted in my brain so that when it came down to 'doing the deed' I would be able to do it all professionally and without confusion.
Finally, the day came when we had to do it. It was done with such respect and love...and yes, TEARS. MANY TEARS...but I must say that I will never eat a piece of meat the same way again. EVER. I've always respected and loved animals. But there is something that changes you when you raise an animal and then eat it. It is sad, yes, but at the same time it is a guilt-free food. I felt so happy to know that these animals I was eating had had a GREAT life. They were happy chickens doing happy chicken things and never experienced any sort of abuse. They knew the feel of grass under their little feet and they knew the feel of the sun as it kissed their feathers. They never had a day of hunger or thirst. They knew the love of a human and they changed the life of the human forever.
I shared my experience with a chicken group that I have been a part of for quite some time. A group that does share this sad side of life, sharing such knowledge to empower and educate folks like myself. I was harassed by many people for eating chicken and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. I wish these people would hang out at supermarkets and talk to ladies purchasing their chicken dinner at the grocery store. Hold up a photo of what the chicken's life was most likely like. Judge them. Those that view store meat as just meat. You don't truly think of your meat as a living breathing creature until you have raised one and eaten one of your own. I mean, yeah, I've always known when I eat a burger there was a cow out there that had to die for me...but somehow, doing this yourself touches a chord inside your heart that changes you forever.
I have nothing to feel guilty for, I am only proud that I was able to provide a meal for my family that was probably the most healthy and guilt free meat we have ever put into our bodies. Judge me. Go ahead. JUDGE ME. My head is high. What did I make with my first home-grown chicken? Chicken-A-La-King... Yes, I made him a king....It truly was a dish fit for a king...