Monday, April 30, 2012

Feathers, chicks and eggs... o my!

 I'm wondering if there is an exact amount of chickens you have to own before you are officially considered a chicken farmer? lol Surely we have to be well on our way to it if there is! lol  If you have been following this blog for very long at all, you know how much we love our chickens and have so enjoyed the process of having them as pets and enjoying the eggs we are so lucky to get from them. If you have been reading for very long, you have probably also caught on  that we are very much into knowing where our food comes from and making sure that if we eat meat that the animal was treated with love, care and respect....Unfortunately tho, those qualities are hard to come by when it comes to eating chicken and we've become tired of paying the high prices for chicken and still not feeling 100% sure we are purchasing meat from well cared for animals.....  so here comes one big life adventure that we've started on....
 A number of families at our church went together to purchase chicks in bulk. 300+ chicks actually! Only 50 of those came to live at our house and let me tell you, we are getting an education in chicks really fast! These chicks are from a cornish-cross breed which means they are bred to grow big and fast in 6-10 weeks. We will be butchering them as a group with the other church families all at the same time. Now, I've had friends that have made comments in so many words, that they think we are crazy and how could we love chickens and then eat them. Well, here's what it comes down to for us anyways... We DO love chickens. We love the ones that we handle and baby and cuddle with- those ones get names. However, we also LOVE chicken, as in grilled, BBQ and roasted. Everytime I go to the store and have to buy this said meat, I have to wonder things like "Did this chicken ever see the light of day?" "Did this chicken get to play in the grass and feel the warmth of sunshine?" .... and the ones that really haunt me.... "Did this chicken spend its entire life in a cage so small it couldn't turn around?" "Did this chicken have any good days in its life?"
  Now I'm not saying this process is going to be easy. And I'm not even saying that I won't perhaps cry, or that I am personally going to have anything to do with the actual butchering (that was a deal that hubby and I made from the start). But I am saying that I won't have to feel guilty about eating this meat. I won't have to wonder if they were treated kindly or if they even had a "good day" in their lifespan.... I will know that they weren't fed nasty stuff and that in the end, they will have only had ONE bad day.
  I still look at grocery shopping as votes in one of the biggest elections we will ever be part of. Everytime we buy something it is voting for that company to have more power over us.... and I'm sorry but I am not about to give the power to any company that thinks that it is ok to treat animals the way they do. And I feel bad, that we as Americans have gotten to the point that we are ok with turning a blind eye to how our food is produced. My girls and I talk alot about those sorts of things. How God gave us these animals to eat... but how we should still be glorifying Him... and there is nothing about those factory farms that are glorifying God... But each day when we go check eggs and feed our chickens, we give thanks... both to the chickens and the Creator. It probably sounds rather funny but I'm finding more and more about country life to be so much more spiritual  I ever expected . There is not a day that goes by that I'm not reminded about God's love for us.... and I find it in the strangest places....in the feathers, the chicks and the eggs...


While we will be thankful for the meat in our freezer, we will also be thankful for the chickens that we still have...

Hummy, Benelli, Dandy and Tulip out in the grass on a sunny day- their first taste of sunshine! :)

Benelli likes to nap on hubby's chest at night while we watch tv!  There is no question these chicks are loved... even by the tough guy... who of course is responsible for naming this one! lol

A duck egg, an egg from our chicken Daisy and a store bought egg

I have always thought it would be neat to compare the differences in eggs.... The duck egg had a HUGE yolk and lots of white, the fresh egg had a much darker yolk and larger than the store bought smaller one. I asked the girls to tell me the things these eggs had in common and then we talked about the differences. I asked J why she thought they were different and she said that the store bought yolk wasn't as dark because it wasn't allowed to live in the sunshine and didn't get to eat grass... smart kid huh? The store bought egg actually came from Wilcox so I know that they are able to be outside but there has to be something about the way they are raised that makes their eggs have smaller yolk, less egg white and a considerably thinned shell. That duck egg's shell was so tough that I had a hard time breaking thru, and the ones from our chickens have been dropped on the ground and not cracked... the same can not be said for the store bought eggs that have broken in my hands while I wash them!


3 comments:

the hermits on the hill said...

This actually made me tear up! (course I must say it's not one of my better days anyhow) I must also say that I am proud of you and the way you are directing your family. Love you!

Stephanie said...

My grandma raised backyard chickens who were loved and would slaughter some for meat. Backyard chickens have the most amazing yolk in their eggs. Kudos to you for providing your girls with this education experience. I love reading/ see pictures of you raising your chicks, keep it coming.

Kelly said...

I love the way you think! And I think your chicks are super cute!