I have a confession to make - I cannot kill a chicken. If you've read this blog for any length of time you know that Jerry and I have tried to build a small homestead over the years. We raise sheep and have a clientele for lamb every fall. We keep about 25 chickens more or less (less when the fox and coyotes are about). I bring the surplus eggs to my workplace and sell them for $2 a dozen. (Coworkers rush to be the first to get some when I walk through the door and I could unload two or three times as many as I do now.) Our garden produces a few vegetables for summer eating but I mostly buy by the bushel and can or freeze for the year. Every couple of years Jerry raises two steers. We keep back a half and sell the other halves. We never make any money but generally are able to break even and get our meat "free".
And I cannot kill a chicken. Oh, I've tried. It was a miserable business. A couple of springs ago I ordered what is called a "straight run" from the hatchery. A straight run is an order of chicks that are not sexed so out of it you'll get approximately half hens and half roosters. The roosters are then raised for meat. I dreaded the affair for weeks. Jerry who has hunted since he was a boy had no qualms but I was terrified. I kept talking to myself about how someone who eats meat should be able to, well, produce the meat. It just seems less hypocritical, more ethical, somehow. There was a bottle of alcohol - whisky, I think - under the kitchen sink. A week before the slaughter I began to think that drinking a BIG slug of that would give me the courage to do what I must. We planned to cull (this is a polite homesteader term for "kill") on a bright Saturday morning in early June. I was intoxicated on a Saturday morning with a knife in my hand. I couldn't do it. I couldn't even watch. And we don't try to raise meat chickens anymore. I am one sorry carnivore.