It has taken a few days for me to finally cool down after a weekend of abuse about our up coming Chicken Workshop to write this post. Who would of thought that teaching people how to produce their own meat is offensive.
This year Roy and I have decided to start sharing our skills so people can grow their own meat or vegetables by offering short affordable workshops through our farm. Producing your own food is so rewarding and the taste is unbeatable hands down. With the chicken workshop coming up I thought I would spread it around a little on Facebook to fill the gaps. I got some pretty interesting messages, comments and emails.
Killing animals is a touchy subject and firstly I want to say I understand that it is not for everyone. However if you eat meat I think you should know the process in which an animal is delivered to your table.
At Huthwaite Farm we raise heritage breed chickens which are both for laying eggs and meat. We tend to kill only the roosters and leave the females to live out their lives. Our chickens are free range from the very beginning. We don’t cull the roosters at birth either, they live to about 15 – 18 weeks before they end up in our freezer. I know that my chooks have had the best life, they have 11 acres to cruise around and peck at bugs, scratch up dirt and eat green grass. I spoil them with sunflower seeds in the afternoons while Isla and I watch them hang out. They are loved and well cared for and when they are served on our table we can appreciate them.
One of the most upsetting responses about the workshop was the word ‘humane’. I think no animal should suffer, ever. This means if you are going to provide food for your table then the act of killing must be swift and accurate and cause very little stress to the animal. So finding a way that does just that is how I prefer my animals to die and here at the farm we have our own method which we believe is very effective.
Causing distress to animals is deemed cruel, well have you ever thought about how your vegetables are treated? Sometimes I think that (some – not all) vegetarians underestimate about the food that they eat. Honestly do you love kale and silver beet? Those poor leaves have been torn/cut off continuously through out its life before it finally gives up on life. No plant should have to suffer like that. What about carrots? Are you ok that they get ripped out of the ground so you can cook them up. They were perfectly happy in the soil.
Alright I may have just been a little bit ridiculous there but think about it. Where does your food come from? How is treated through it’s life?
With factory farming so huge in our country (yes it is) meat is splurged through our supermarkets displayed so nicely. You don’t even have to see that it ever had a head or eyes to look at you! Yeah, that freaks me out a little too. These days at our supermarket (one of the large chains) if you walk to the chicken section for example I can count the cuts of chicken on one hand. Yes we all know about chicken breast, thighs, tenderloins, drumsticks and chicken wings. You can also buy a whole chicken and chicken mince. So where are the rest of the bits?
When Roy and I got married all those years ago we decided to kill one animal to feed 100 people. We had some vegan and vegetarian friends so we made all the food vegan except the pig. We could of chosen to have chicken breast or steaks served but when you think about feeding 100 people we would of had to kill 50 chickens to feed the folks at the wedding. Doesn’t sound realistic does it.
Food waste in our house is very minimal. The only person wasting food in our house is Isla (11months old) who is still learning to eat at the moment. However all her scraps go to either the chooks or the compost. Both the compost and chook poo go back in to our veggie garden which in return gives us our vegetables. The chooks also provide us our meat when we have too many roosters. So when killing our own chickens we are forced to use all of the bird. The left over blood and gizzards gets planted under a tree or two. While the hearts are skewered and cooked while the livers go towards pate. Simple little treats every now and again to look forward too.
With the workshop only a few weeks away I will be surprised to see if we actually fill all our spaces. Lets see if there are few more people out who want to understand where their food comes from and start raising their own meat birds.
I would love to hear your thoughts.