Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Organic chickens – by hand

Posted by Nika On August - 8 - 2007

If you have been reading here a bit, you will remember that we are in the process of building a new chicken house. I have not mentioned this in a while because construction on the house has been delayed. Why? We live not too far from Old Lyme, Connecticut and live in the Lyme Disease Hot Zone and as a result, like everyone else around here, we are awash in deer ticks and the constant lingering menace of Lyme Disease.

My husband, while building the decking between the wood shed and the chicken house, was bitten and came down with lyme disease. Let me assure you, this is not a minor annoyance. Lyme disease, the way he got it put him in the ER several times, bought him a spinal tap and dubious concerns by ER docs of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile, even Malaria (which his symptoms were mimicking tho they said since he didn’t just come from some stinking steamy malarial swamp – they haven’t seen parts of our land! – that malaria was not likely). It finally took our family doc, who is just awesome, to know as soon as he heard the details that this was lyme disease.

Whew.

Back to the chickens.

Some of the chickens we are thinking of raising include the white silkies which the Chinese love for it’s black meat and traditional medicinal value, MAYBE we can get a hold of some blue feet chickens, some hearty brown and other color layers, and perhaps some cubalayas.

In my previous chicken experience we had meat chickens and I am still traumatized by the experience of killing and butchering them. As a scientist, I have taken down numerous rodents but I never butchered them nor ate them (yikes). I always did it because I had to and I always detached mentally from it. That doesn’t mean I don’t still think about those animals and I certainly appreciate their contribution to my thesis and published works.

To get more experience from people who have done this a lot and who raise organic pasture chickens, I attended the “Chickens for meat and eggs” workshop at the Many Hands Organic Farm.

I have put together a slideshow of some of the photos from the part of the workshop that demonstrated how to kill and then butcher the chickens below.

I share this with the intent of helping to educate. I do not share this to traumatize anyone so if this sort of thing bothers you please do not click through the show.

I also do not share this so that it can be used to traumatize others! I believe in mindful eating and mindful animal husbandry. Its important to know from where and how your meat comes to you.

2 Responses to “Organic chickens – by hand”

  1. Annemarie says:

    Thanks for sharing the pics – I also agree in mindful eating and think it’s important that we appreciate what it means to cook and eat an animal. Hope you can get to the point of raising your own eating chickens again some day.

  2. Nika says:

    Annemarie: (My reply to this got lost in the internets, not sure what happened!)

    Yeah, we are going to be ordering them soon. That workshop was very helpful. It would be great to have a chicken party where lots of likeminded people get together to help but I cant throw a party every time I was to eat chicken! :-)

    I find that mindful eating is so much more possible for me if I have grown the food myself. Mindful eating of McDonald’s fries just doesnt work (hey, I admit, I have tried!)

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.

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