We ended up with a couple of roosters in our batch of chicks, which we named Big Guy and Fred Astaire. I actually liked having them. They’re pretty to look at, and the crowing is neat to hear. (Maybe not as neat for our neighbor, who is right in the echo chamber behind our property…??)
Big Guy looked like a traditional rooster … and apparently acted like one, too. By which I mean that he was a sadistic abuser. Seriously, he would strut around the pen acting nonchalant, and then suddenly stomp on an unsuspecting hen and hold her down with his giant foot while he ripped out a beakful of her feathers. Then, as she ran off screaming, he would toss his head and eat the feathers.
“I feast on your pain!”
We’d had about enough of that, so Kerry decided to cook Big Guy. (Actually, when I asked Sam a couple of days ago what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he said, “I want to eat Big Guy!”) We looked up “how to butcher a rooster” on YouTube (where else?), got the gruesome tutorial, and Kerry felt perfectly prepared.
I think Big Guy had a sixth sense about how his evening was going to turn out.
This is about the time I started to feel very sad for the horrible bird. He made some scared little sounds while he was running away, but chickens are pretty much helpless when you get ahold of them and hang them upside down. I’ll spare you the gory details, except to say that the kids were all completely undisturbed by the whole thing and quite interested in watching, and then they each took a turn holding the dispatched rooster by the feet to see how heavy he was.
This next picture is a little disturbing.
Kerry did all the dirty work. Not that he had the option of any help from me. After Big Guy was de-feathered, he looked just like any other turkey/chicken you’d get in the freezer section at the grocery store. And once he was cooked, you’d never even know.
Except, of course, that we did know. The kids acted like it was all completely normal. Ellie especially. She was delighted to be eating Big Guy. Kerry and I had to not think about it, and we don’t have any desire to eat any more of our chickens. (I mean, he tasted fine, but there was a definite ick factor somewhere in the back of our minds.)
Still, now we know we can do it, if we have to. And I must say I’m glad to have a husband who is very capable of doing gross, manly things when needed.
RIP, Big Guy.