Monday, August 13, 2012
the nitty gritty of it all (part one)
Because some may be curious, and also for my own record, I wanted to share a few of the more nitty-gritty details about raising the meat birds and our first chicken harvest.
While I'm far from experienced enough at this point to offer a comprehensive tutorial of the process start to finish, I would like to share some Internet resources we found very helpful. Our process was a less-refined amalgamation of these. (Please note that the following details and videos may be disturbing to some).
:: Respectful chicken harvesting, both video one (first seen here) and video two are enlightening and made the whole process seem very doable. Plus, I find this lady just all around marvelous.
:: Joel Salatin's evisceration video, which is great to watch a few times to see how the pros do it.
:: This website has incredibly thorough information that was excellent for studying beforehand and referencing throughout the process as needed.
As to our experience, I don't think I've ever really witnessed the true meaning of the term lifeblood until this event. I was was incredibly grateful that the first chicken we harvested went peacefully (he actually just seemed to fall asleep, which may have something to do with the fact that he laid upside-down for at least 5 minutes while we were making our final preparations), and while I won't pretend they all went this gently, having this as the initial standard certainly gave us strength to carry through to the rest. The other thing that carried us through was, as I mentioned before, my brother-in-law's help with the first few. Simply beginning is the hardest part, made easier when there is someone with experience around for support. Especially someone who walks around barefoot the whole time. And tells us to stop watching videos and just pull the guts out already. And reminds me that my grass is cleaner than any factory. Yes, everyone needs someone like this the first time around. Honestly, though, the process wasn't nearly as traumatic as I imagined it would be, and although I don't foresee it getting any easier from an emotional standpoint, I do feel okay with it. Which is to say that we didn't eat chicken for dinner that first night, but have been reverently enjoying it since.