The birds spent all but the last two weeks of their lives in the barn. And I admit, I suffered from Chicken Guilt. I didn't plan on keeping them indoors for so long and it's not something I feel particularly good about either. It's not like I was running a huge CAFO, but I sure felt as if they were missing out on something. When I went to clean out their bedding (twice a day, mind you), they seemed grateful for the clean, fluffy straw....even happy. After they finished their zombie mob attack on the crumbles, they would waddle around and look for a place to settle down (near the feed dish) and some of them would even preen what feathers they were able to reach on their rotund little bodies. A hand full of them even tried "flying" (to try and tackle me when I brought feed in, but still).
I'd become oblivious to the fact that these Creepy Meats are actually living, feeling creatures. Yes, I know they are livestock and that they are destined for freezer camp after only a few months of life. Yes they stink, poop everywhere and act like food crazed fat chickens on meth, but I had forgotten that they were alive. So I got my butt in gear and put them outside in the garden area.
|Happier chickens. Well, that's what I'm telling myself.|
Anyways, the chickens were out in the garden for two weeks. They sunned themselves, they pecked at stuff (and at each other), some "ran" around (usually when being picked on), some even took dust baths. It wasn't all fun and games though. There was one jerk of a rooster that constantly harassed the other birds. I knew I should have wrung his neck earlier because within a week, "some" chicken had pecked two other chickens to death. When I first saw the dead chicken, I immediately though "raccoon" or "opossum", but the only trauma evident on the carcass was the bloodied head and neck. Nothing ripped or shredded, nothing eaten. So we missed out on two chicken suppers because I didn't butcher him.
Well, technically I did butcher him along with the rest of his chicken compadres. We had a weekend with cool temps so Paul and I got them in the freezer, and none too soon because were down to just three chickens in the freezer from last year.
So, was it worth it? That's the million dollar question all homesteaders and farmers are constantly asking themselves. I'll have the monetary answer in the next post. In the mean time, I'm going to heat up a cup of homemade chicken broth for Rhiannon and I.