Oh the dilemmas
that five aggressive roosters
create…
We resolved the aggressive behavior
issue
on Saturday.
The five are now resting
in our freezer.
They gave us the opportunity
to take another step
toward being able to kill
the meat we eat.
Ann and Frank are home-free;
I was not able to wield the knife.
But we all
now know deeply
the sacrifice required
to put a beautiful roasted bird,
or our family’s beloved chicken-and-noodles,
on the table.
And we made another critical discovery:
community helps.

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Growing up,
we heard our father’s stories
about the “butchering days” of his childhood
(not ours,) when
neighboring families came together
to butcher their winter’s supply of meat.
It was exactly in that spirit
that friends who comprise a Resilience Team
with Transition OKC,
came to our farm on Saturday afternoon.
They brought the equipment—
stand with cones,
big kettle and burner,
plucking machine and work table—
the expertise of their own experience,
the commitment to help others
learn skills
that help sustain life.

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Vicki and Don Heating Big Pot

Yes, ironically,
killing the meat we eat,
knowing the chicken
that is on our dinner plate,
is a sustainable practice.
These roosters
were well cared for
and lived free lives.
Then on Saturday,
they were taken,
one by one,
from the pen where they spend the nights.
Carried upside down,
they didn’t fuss or fight.
Placed upside down in a cone,
with their head dangling below,
there was not a peep or a struggle
and after a quick slit
they didn’t feel anything else.
They died with the least amount of suffering
possible.
Then we scalded them,
used a rubber-fingered machine to pluck the feathers,
our hands to clean them of their entrails,
cutting carefully to prevent tainting the meat.

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Doug Hill, Vicki and Don Rose
butcher their chickens together,
about once a year
and are available to teach others.
These Resilience Teams
teach brewing beer, xeriscaping,
sausage-making, gardening,
rainwater harvesting, canning…
On June 6 at 6 p.m.
they will have a community potluck
and those who are interested
in developing a resilience team
or working with a resilience team
can get together.
It’s at Church of the Open Arms,
3131 N. Pennsylvania Ave.,
Oklahoma City.

Though we all know that
chicken doesn’t come from the grocery store,
what we don’t think about is how it’s raised.
It comes mostly from giant commercial farms
where chickens are confined,
force-fed,
their beaks trimmed,
their bodies filled with antibiotics.
It would be easier to be a vegetarian
than eat that chicken.
The chicken in our freezers…
well, we know those chickens
lived happy, healthy lives
and died a quick death.
Not everyone who eats chicken
can raise and butcher their own chicken.
But, thanks to farmer’s markets
and the Oklahoma Food Coop,
you can get chicken from farmers
who do.
We give thanks
to the chickens—
in this case,
five fiesty roosters—
and to a community
of people committed
to sustainable living.

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Doug, Don, Vicki

UPDATE: The June 6 event
is postponed. Watch for the
re-scheduled date here:
http://rteams.org/