Sunday, March 13, 2011

Naming Chickens Dos and Dont's

A couple of weeks ago, we re-purposed a chicken which you can read about here.  The woman who bought her was nice enough to keep us up to date on Swoope's progress (which was not successful) and educate us one some of the realities of the other purpose for owning chickens- The meat. Below is a letter she wrote a couple of days ago. Enjoy! -Jason

We have never put a named bird in the stew pot…nor any hen for that matter, but we had a problem w/ 3 mean roosters and they were dispatched within about 24 hours of attacking our children. Our then 3 year old concluded that mean roosters were very nice on her plate. Yes, she’s a country kid!

We had gotten a bunch of straight run birds (actually, they were given to us, but that’s another story) so we soon realized that we had too many roosters for the few hens we had and the kindest thing to the poor hens was to reduce the rooster number. Literally 8 roosters at a time would gang up on one hen and she’d get pretty roughed up before another one caught their eye.Apparently that’s what happens when you have more roosters than hens even though they all had 4 acres to roam on, they had other things on their minds. So, all but one of those roosters ended up in ‘freezer camp’ and most have ultimately made it to our plates. In fact, we watched a video of Daniel Salatin butchering chickens to hone our own skills in that department. (You can watch that video HERE)

I’m a country kid from many generations of country folk (at least on my mother’s side) so after hearing about how my grandmother (who was raised a city girl and married a country veterinarian) would go to her room and weep every year when they would kill the calf, I resolved that there had to be a better way. I learned quickly that if an animal had a name, I became too emotionally attached to eat them later. Hence, we don’t name anything we intend to eat. My husband is a country kid from many generations of country folk on both sides and has a hard time fathoming my difficulty. He’s not heartless by any means, but somehow he doesn’t form the same emotional attachment that I do just because an animal has been given a name. I wish I were that way, but I definitely feel I would be repeating my grandmother’s example if one of our named animals needed eating. I would prefer to sell them to someone else instead. It doesn’t bother me if THEY eat them even if they tell me they will, but I have no stomach for them myself. I know. I’m a wimp. Maybe I got it from the few city folk who have married into the family? -MN, aka Mother Hen's Mother


  1. Uh oh, don't go naming your eggs either!

  2. What Pigs Don't KnowMarch 24, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    Haha! Good call! It's scary but I could almost see that happening....