I participate in a little neighborhood online bulletin board, mostly by reading. My neighborhood, like many these days, is home to a few chicken-owners. Perhaps more than average, since SoBro is home to Agrarian, an upscale version of the good old feed & seed co-op and an excellent source of small domestic fowl* and everything you need to raise them.
This is supposed to be a "new trend" but in fact, it's a very old one. My Mom, who grew up in the 1930s and 40s, was a city girl and her family kept chickens everywhere they lived -- and milk-goats, too, if they had a big enough lot. This was not unusual at the time, at least in the Midwest. Mother never tasted cow's milk until she attended public school.† (She and her siblings tended to make pets of the surplus goats despite being warned not to, which caused an occasional very awkward dinner.)
A recent posting to the neighborhood thing complained of a rooster crowing at 5:30 a.m. (which is, by the way, a very fine time for a rooster to crow -- that whole 5:30 to 8:00 a.m. block, is exactly when they're supposed to be rousting folks out of bed) and wondering if the owners can't silence it?
There is only one way to effectively silence a rooster; the owner responded, saying the rooster was already overdue to go to the Great Beyond or possibly a crockpot, and screen after screen of horrified comments ensued: "Don't kill it, rehome it!" "Send the rooster off to a farm to live out its natural life!" --The "natural life" of excess roosters on a farm is to get fed to the hogs, if they're lucky; but don't try to tell moderns that.
But the capper was the commenter who mused, "...I don't think many of us realized that people who own chickens in the
city were using them for anything other than eggs. There's something
about butchering an animal in an urban residential area that just seems
Lady, it's a chicken. If you're not the kind of "wit" who cuts off their heads and lets them run all over the backyard while they're expiring, it's no more "unseemly" than what the local high-end butcher does with a side of beef and a collection of cutting instruments that may include a stainless-steel bandsaw, in a tiny shopping district in the middle of an urban residential area. It's a good deal less unseemly than what any of your neighbors who hunt will be up to in their garage if they're lucky enough to bag a deer.
I don't dislike chickens, though I think they're dumber than a bag of rocks and considerably more smelly. I'd need to be a lot hungrier before I'd kill and dress one, though I do love fresh eggs, especially when laid by a critter that lives outdoors and gets to eat bugs. But calling out the normal process of slaughtering and eating non-productive hens (and perhaps even roosters, though IIRC, they're a bit tough and gamy) as "unseemly" when you only know it happens because your neighbors said so, is just about the silliest thought I have seen expressed today. Possibly this week.
* They also sell ducks. This is a great temptation to me: as a child, I had a duck and so did my baby brother. They are pleasant, garrulous creatures if you have enough yard to ensure the duck splat doesn't get too concentrated, who wander around all day "talking" to one another and eating whatever they find that looks edible. Ours each laid an egg a day, rich and strong-flavored, excellent for baking and just fine fried. Alas, Roseholme Cottage doesn't have enough yard for two ducks and a solo duck would be too lonely: they're not very bright but they're quite social.
† For reasons I have never fully understood, she managed to avoid public school until third grade. Both of her parents were fully-qualified schoolteachers and the family was moving around a lot at the time, so perhaps it was just easier. On the other hand, she was the youngest child in a very large family and though Mother's mother was an unsentimental person, I do wonder if my grandmother succumbed to the temptation to keep her youngest at home for just a couple more years.
8 months ago