It's Our Turn: A tough bite to chewDue to an over population of roosters, we have been forced to, must I say it…butcher them. Frito the rooster became the main ingredient of a lovely chicken soup my husband prepared.
By: Stacie Kimball, Alexandria Echo Press
In the 23 years I have been away from my parents’ farm, I have owned several dogs, some cats, a guinea pig, a chinchilla, fish, three goats and now chickens.
With the exception of a few of the dogs, none have captured my heart as much as the chickens. I’m not exactly sure how that happened – considering I was a little upset when they arrived.
It was just after the tornado that ripped through the countryside in 2010 that we became the proud owners of two ordinary chickens. And no, they didn’t end up on our property by way of twisting winds. They were ours because of the generosity of my cousins and the scurrying legs of my two kids.
I wasn’t with my family the day they visited my cousins’ farm, but I was told it went a little something like this:
“Can we have a chicken?” pleaded my kids.
“Sure! If you can catch one,” said my cousin Tim’s wife, Mayla. And the race was on!
No, I wasn’t thrilled – not one bit – when I returned home to find a cage that housed two half-feathered buff chickens.
I grew up on a chickenless farm. We had cows, cats, dogs, a horse or two and sometimes pigs. We would have a lone sheep on occasion, when I would beg to bring one home from a neighbor’s farm. One time we even had a pair of peacocks – but no chickens.
Never did I feel that I had missed out on something, after all, you can’t cuddle a chicken. Or can you?
Honestly, it didn’t take long before I realized the therapeutic benefits of chickens. I found that holding them and listening to their soft clucks was kind of soothing. I had to swallow hard and admit to my family that I enjoyed the chickens.
Henry and Almora, as they were named, captured my heart – I cannot lie. I enjoyed taking them out from time to time and watching them scratch the ground for worms and things. I offered my opinion of what we should be feeding them and how often their pen should be cleaned. I demanded a heat lamp for them in the winter. I was hooked and must admit that I delighted in the day when Henry began to crow.
It’s been over a year since we got our first chickens and the flock has grown. Almora hatched a clutch of 12 eggs and with the aid of an incubator, my son hatched six more in his bedroom.
During summer vacation, some of our time together was spent building a bigger, better chicken coop. And nearly all of the chickens have names. Believe it or not, we can tell them apart.
What prompted me to write this column was my recent realization of how attached to the chickens I have become. Due to an over population of roosters, we have been forced to, must I say it…butcher them. Frito the rooster became the main ingredient of a lovely chicken soup my husband prepared.
One evening, my parents came to visit and the topic of “if we were going to butcher any chickens” came up.
I remarked, “Jim made a great chicken soup with one of our roosters. But, I have to admit, I found it a little tough to eat.” I thought I was clearly revealing my true feeling about the chickens.
However, my mom commented, “Oh! You probably should have boiled it then!”
A confused look came over my face and silence filled the air. I think I was in a bit of shock. I looked at my dad who began to grin. It was at that point, thankfully, that I understood how my mom had interpreted what I said.
Uncontrollable laughter erupted. Later, my mom confessed she was glad she didn’t say what had first came to her mind, “It was a young chicken – it shouldn’t have been tough.”
Let’s just say I’ll be eating my chicken soup from a can from now on.