Friday night we butchered Rusty. It was very difficult for me. I cried and shook while holding the axe in my hand. I never really knew just how hard it would be, and it left me with a lot of emotional conflict.
Ultimately, this experience was necessary for me, for us as a family, perhaps even for our neighborhood. I don't have any regrets, but I do have a lot of respect. Raising meat birds is a goal I've had in mind for a while now, and Rusty gave me the chance to see if I could really follow through. I don't know the answer to that question just yet, but at least I have a very clear picture of what slaughtering looks and feels like now.
Here are a few of the highlights from our Rusty weekend celebration:
- Plucking feathers is long, tiring work.
- When the books all say to deprive your meat chickens of food for 12 to 24 hours, they really mean 30 hours. Ew.
- A sharp knife would have been a godsend compared to that axe.
- Chickens don't bleed near as much as I thought.
- Rusty had some iridescent bluish green feathers. The base of them, in his skin, had this funny bluish dye.
- Entrails brought out the science geek in both of us.
- Dogs drool over gizzards, hearts, and livers.
- Heritage breeds have awesome legs. Really. Wow, Rusty. His little manly breasts weren't shabby either.
- The flavor of Rusty's meat tasted like.... well... grass from the backyard. It was sweet and tender, and it took the herbed butter well. The barbecue wasn't bad either.
- We haven't been woken by a ruck-a-roo in three days.