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I had big plans for today.

I was going to butcher all 10 of my broilers.  By myself.

Oh, how I have fallen today.

I had a few supplies I needed, so I ran out and bought them this morning.  By the time I got back, got all my work stations and my supplies set up it was 1:30.  But I had great work stations.  I had a killing station (that sounds awful, but why sugar coat it?) with a wheel barrow of pine shavings below to catch the blood, a scalding/plucking station with a turkey cooker and a trash can for the feathers, and a gutting station with a plastic table and all my supplies.  I was ready, and organized.

And I still botched it.

(don't read this part if you're squemish)
I got the chicken and got her hung by her feet with little problem.  Then I started to get shaky.  I was really about to do this myself.  I tried to cut once and barely broke the skin.  I tried to cut again and got blood, but wasn't deep enough (and didn't realize it) so the chicken flapped too hard and fell down and the poor thing broke it's wing.  So finally I had Izzy hold down the feet while I slit it's throat.

The rest of the process was completely un-traumatic.  I don't see why people complain so much about plucking- it was easily the most pleasant part of the process.  But I was so shaken up by the messed up killing that I knew there was no way I was going to do another one- not when I have an appointment tomorrow to have them done by someone else.

I am reacting to this event so irrationally I can hardly stand myself right now.  On one hand I hate myself for putting the poor bird through that ordeal.  On the other hand I hate myself for being a weanie and not finishing the job with the other nine.  To fully understand I guess you have to know the way I measure myself in my head, and I guess, on reflection, this has been a positive of this ordeal- as self reflective as I am, I had never really realized this about myself before.  I don't measure myself against my own gender.  I don't go "most girls do/don't do this, so I should/shouldn't."  I know most people don't do that consciously, but I think most women do unconsciously.  But I feel like I should be able to do anything (and I mean this beyond a feminist statement...).  So this brings about some pretty interesting internal struggles.  Like today, for example.  I am obviously not a vegetarian, nor do I have an ethical problem with the humane raising and slaughtering of animals.  But I don't want to do the deed myself.  It's not an "ew, gross" kind of not wanting to do it, it's the fear of exactly what happened today- doing it wrong and causing more pain than necessary to the animal.  And I think that is a female trait- the desire NOT to kill things.  Killing things is for men.  This isn't to say that women can't/shouldn't hunt or fight for their country- they can and should.  But I think it is harder on us emotionally to do things of that nature.  But on the other hand, I should be able to do anything a man can do.  There is no physiological reason I can't kill my own chickens.  My practical side hates my female side sometimes (a lot of the time, actually).

I keep trying to reassure myself that this is a fine outcome- I have done one chicken, and what is the purpose of me processing myself?  To be in touch with where my food comes from?  Done.  To know how to do it so that in a survival scenario I would be able to feed my family?  Check.  To save money?  I'll live without that $20.  But that niggly voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I did exactly what everyone expected me to do, and I should have tried harder and proved everyone wrong.

That, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) is not a good reason to do anything, though.

Eventually I will be proud that I did at least one myself.  Maybe someday I will even attempt it again.  I do have to say that it would be a million times less sucky to do as a group in an assembly line type deal... and since no one likes to pluck, I will gladly take that job.

1 comment:

Shu Han said...

you are so brave! i don't think I could ever bring myself to do what you did, though I'd like to. I think it's so rewarding and thoughtful to have grown your own food and then make it go from the farm to your table. great job! (:

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