Friday, October 19, 2012

Harvest Day

The garden is a living thriving organism.
It eats, breaths, reproduces, and dies.
From the first lettuce and spinach leaves of the Spring, to the death throes of the peppers as they succumb to the first freeze of the fall, it lives.
In the meantime it feeds and nourishes our family and allows us to put a little by for the winter.

As for the chickens, it is obvious that they are living organisms.
They eat, breathe, (some reproduce), and die.
From the first eggs of a cold March morning, to the piddling out of the eggs in November, they nourish us and provide a modest income.
But one must remember that they are chickens and "respect the chicken-ess of the chicken." as Joel of Polyface would say.
The chickens here have a purpose: eat lawn, get rid of kitchen scraps and weeds, provide manure, provide eggs...maybe some mild chicken antics and entertainment.
When they do not live up to their end of the bargain, they become loads on the economy of our land...after all, we only have a quarter acre and need to use it as efficiently as possible.

So a few months ago we started getting more requests for us to "board" chickens in return for eggs... so we picked up some new chicks and low and behold three turned out to be roosters.

In order to avoid being arrested for cock fighting (as they started to spar) they needed to be harvested.  Just like the garden, everything has it's season.  Weeds that invade the land, make it difficult for the planned plants to grow, and cause general disorder in the garden are harvested.  Too many bad roosters are the weeds of the coops.

Just to get things straight, I am an omnivore.  I eat plant products from the garden, local farmers, and from the regular grocery market.  I get most of our meat in bulk from a local farm that takes great care of their herd of cattle, and sells similarly raised chickens and pigs, from other farmers in their meat market.  Occasionally, I buy from the grocery store since the farm is a little bit from here, but that is very rare.  (It's odd thing is that the grocery store is more expensive than the all natural, hormone and antibiotic free, pasture raised, meat market!)

And occasionally, I get our meat from the backyard.

I will spare you the gory details, but right now I have two roosters in my refrigerator "chilling out."  Yes I said I had three roosters, and only two are sitting in our fridge.  That leaves one in the yard.  He was picked on by the other roosters and is sweet.  He calls gently to the hens to tell them that I put scraps out.  We have never heard him crow.  He runs around to herd the girls into the coop at the slightest hint of a threat.  And he is beautiful.  He has glossy black feathers that shine green and blue in iridescent splendor.  His tail feathers arc.  His golden long neck feathers tell his mood. My husband is attached to him.  That says a lot about this roo's personality.  If he remains a beautiful gentle and quiet boy, we hope to be able to raise our own chicks and not become rooster pot pie!

And as a side note don't forget to enter in our button giveaway!

linked to the barn hop


  1. You're right, this is all part and parcel of living off the land, hard on the emotions sometimes. I'm sure your roosters will provide you with many delicious meals.

    1. They were quite tasty last night...and my son was even excited to "taste the yard."

  2. I once saw chickens beheaded. A family friend of ours (who my Mom used as a babysitter who didn't get paid) thought it'd be fun for us to go to a farm and see chickens being beheaded. =l was v. bloody. But I don't have a problem eating meat either...even if it came from my back yard. =)

    1. I think it's great to have that kind of closeness to food as a child. It really opens the eyes to the food chain, science, and how life really is. Too often children here in the burbs live in a coddled and insulated way.

  3. I think it's wonderful to be able to do that. (I was happy for the gory details though :-) You know exactly where your meat is from and have that connection with how it was raised and delivered to your family dinner plate.
    Sounds like a lovely rooster was chosen to look after the girls too.

    1. I'm hoping he remains so nice. Today they all had a coop break and we were able to with his help get all the girls in easily. He's especially protective of one hen that is very little, and matches him, he actually walked her in the coop and then turned to get more hens in.

  4. It's important to be able to make the hard decisions where chickens are concerned and I admire your resolve. Here's hoping the pretty boy gets to stick around a lot longer. ;)

    I would like to invite you to link up with us at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week.

    I hope to see you there!
    The Chicken Chick

  5. Lovely words - It is always hard to decrease your crop (even harder when it's roosters) I would love you to link up with me:


Thanks for visiting with us girls...put your feet up and stay for a while.