Eating Animals 2: Backyard Chickens

by Patrick on November 5, 2009

You may know Sherri Gallentine from her various guest posts on the Vroman’s Blog (many of them culinary in nature) or from seeing her around the store, but did you know that she raises chickens in her backyard in Altadena?  I thought it would be enlightening to visit her backyard chicken farm and see how the birds lived.  Of course, this meant we had to get them back into the coop at the end of the visit, too.  That, I learned, is easier said than done.  Watch and find out.

For more on Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, check out the website where you can find out more about the book as well as get tips on how to avoid factory meat, and much, much more.  Jonathan Safran Foer will be at Vroman’s this Sunday, November 8, to discuss Eating Animals.

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    Danica 11.05.09 at 6:27 pm

    I second that “doing it right” when killing an animal for!
    // begin gross story here (which you will, despite yourself, read) //

    I dated a farm boy in high school whose father let me kill one of the turkeys they raised for their neighbors’ Thanksgiving. This was done by catching the monstrous bird in a potato sack with one small hole where it naturally push it’s head out. We had a RAZOR sharp ax because, well, that was the right way to do the job – one swift chop. My boyfriend’s dad kept telling me as I prepared for the kill, “don’t even bump into that ax, it will take your fingers right off!”
    When my turn came to take off a turkey head, I was very nervous and a bit overwhelmed at the size of the turkey. When it popped its head out of the bag, I grabbed it by the neck like a champ! But when I swung the ax, I was so nervous I pulled back and didn’t make a clean cut. Little did I know that I had missed the turkey’s neck and was actually looking at a bloody stump of what was left of my ARM!!!

    Oh, what? We’re passed Halloween? Oh…

    Well what really happened is I only chopped into the turkey’s neck partially and it pulled its dangling head back into the bag. It was my mess so I had to reach into the bag, find the floundering turkey head, and pull it back out to chop it off completely. Of course, now I was really shaken and despite several swings I missed the neck…. but not the turkey. After about 30 seconds of bloody mess and garbled warbles, I managed to cut the head loose while the rest of the body leaped and kicked in the bag for another 15-20 minutes.
    When I finally dared to look at the turkey head in my hand it stared back at me with a firey vengeance and clucked, “see you in hell.”

    Not to discourage anyone from raising their own meat! But all the more reason to “do it right.”

    Paria 11.10.09 at 12:18 pm

    My mom’s friend Regina grew up on a farm in the South, where they raised their own chickens and everything else. Apparently, when she was little, they would make the kids take turns killing a chicken for dinner — and the way they did it was by grabbing the bird and quickly breaking its neck (apparently, you do this by swinging the bird overhead?!). Not surprisingly, she doesn’t get too mushy about animals, eating meat, etc. Though she *has* been known to wax poetic about those farm fresh eggs.

    I, on the other hand, am a squeamish, guilty, hypocritical meat-eater — I love animals and care about humane issues, but apparently not enough to overcome my carnivorous desires. I’ve tried becoming a vegetarian (even a vegan!) a few times, and it always ended badly (and by badly, I mean that it ended with a 3 am trip to In-N-Out burger). In other words, I am a limousine liberal of meat.

    This is why I’m interested in the mostly-vegetarian approach you mentioned in your last post. If it didn’t have to be so all-or-nothing (in other words, if I didn’t have to promise to forgo my mom’s lamb forever and ever), I might be more successful at this not-eating-meat thing. Then I could stop feeling so guilty every time my annual Humane Society members’ calendar arrived in the mail.

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