The First Chicken To Go

| 11/18/2014 10:07:00 AM

 What did you say??!!??

When you raise chickens for eggs and meat, someone always has to be the first to go. My views on this are as follows: “My birds have a really great life with sunshine, bugs, fresh water and room to run, flap, attempt to fly and roost … they just have one really bad day”. Not even an entire bad day, more like a bad three seconds.

So, how do you decide who goes? At Chimney Swift Farms we use the jerk method. Who is the biggest jerk in the flock? Are they big enough to process? If so, that’s how we choose.  It’s not a science but it works for us and it also helps to keep the flock happy, and protected.

I have literally spent my life saving animals; squirrels, birds, turtles, mice, if it had a pulse it was savable. It was incredibly hard to switch gears to processing animals for food and take a life, even a jerk. I am a meat eater and I feel that if I am going to eat it I should be willing to raise, nurture it and in the end process that animal as humanely as possible. I would rather have one of my birds that I know was treated with respect, kindness and a gentle hand than a 30-lb, 30-day-old roided out bird from a factory farm that has lived thru hell. My girls have a great life, humane death and good health in-between.

My first harvest was a rooster who was killing hens and making the flock very nervous and on edge, he passed the jerk test with flying colors. It was still so hard, it felt foreign taking a life, almost wrong. It was over quickly and without struggle or fear, on his part, and the processing went better than anticipated. I was proud of myself and grateful to him and hoped that his life was happy right up until the end.

We will be expanding the chicken yard this spring and will be adding a lot more birds and begin to process on a more regular basis. I am confidant and have the tools needed to make the right decisions for my flock and treat them with dignity, respect and give them humane ends. So at Chimney Swift Farms it’s safe to say, don’t be a jerk.

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