About four years ago, before building a cute, understated slant roof dream coop (from salvaged wood, of course) our growing chickens lived inside our home.
The backyard coop under construction
We constructed a chick/pullet village out of cardboard boxes and duct tape. The centerpiece of this village was “The Poulet Rouge,” complete with can-can chickens dancing on the facade. Then those six birds got big, and loud, and dirty.
The "girls" during smaller, quieter times
Our ladies handled the switch to the out of doors well and seemed to enjoy their more permanent domain. But then we had a situation.
Sally, one of our three lovely Rhode Island Reds started acting a little less than lady-like. First “she” started crowing, voice cracking and breaking like a young teenager and then she started assaulting the other hens: jumping on backs, pecking necks and whatnot. So, it was in this unrefined and alarming fashion that we discovered that one of our ‘sexed’ chickens had beaten the system: Sally was really Sal.
Now I’m all for progressive sexuality and reformed feminism and such, but Sal was just too stinkin’ loud. We do live in the city, after all. I tried throwing him onto the pile, so to speak, over on Freecycle but no takers. I asked around in some farmer-type circles but no luck. Poor Sal. We wanted to raise this bird to eat the eggs not eat it!
After a trip to the local library, we landed on one chapter titled “Harvesting Your Meat Garden”. With a quiet blessing and a swift offing we did just that. At one point our neighbor discovered us madly pulling out Sal’s feathers over the compost bin and shrieked, “Did you kill your CHICKEN?!” Well, yes, we did. And then we had a party, ate chicken for the first time in years and we loved every bite.
But we still miss Sal sometimes.
Biggie Shorty, our Plymouth Barred Rock hen
Have you ever harvested your “meat garden”? Or does the thought make you sad and a little nauseated?
Update: click here to read more about Poulet Rouge (the breed not the pullet nightclub).