Friday, October 10, 2008

Fine Feathered Friend

Warning: What you are about to read is sad. Very sad. If you have a soft-spot in your heart for God's most reliable egg-manufacturers, you should probably stop reading. As in now. Stop already! Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you...

Two nights ago, as we were packing up for our trip to Baltimore (which is where I'm at right now), I noticed that one of our chickens was missing. We have about 20 chickens, 3 of which are roosters that sort of roam free near the barn and watch the lady-chicks from the other side of the fence. Two of the roosters are a very small breed, called Bantams, while the third is probably twice as big. The missing rooster was a Bantam. So I went looking, and it didn't take long before I found the little guy curled up in the grass, barely conscious, his eyes literally rolling back in his head. He had been his "friend", the BIG rooster. All of the feathers on his back had been pecked off, leaving just a fleshy mound of blood and raw meat.

I wanted to throw up.

The poor little guy was in such pain that he couldn't even move, and I knew instantly that we had to do the humane thing by ending its life. I made the mistake of telling my daughters what I'd found, and they all rushed to see, and then it was just hysteria, tears, and more hysteria. My oldest daughter, Mikayla, called her mother on the cell and started crying. "Mom...[sniffle, sniffle,]...the chicken..[sniffle,sniffle] hurt. Do you...[sniffle, sniffle]...know where the hatchet is? We have to end its suffering." That worried Rebecca, because she didn't know I was home yet, and she thought perhaps Mikayla was going to 'take care of business' all by herself.

Once I'd found the hatchet, I sent all of the kids inside except for Mikayla, who I needed to help stretch out the neck. She didn't want to see what was about to happen, so she covered her tear-stained eyes with her free hand. Just before I swung, she yelled, "Wait!" Then she took another moment to wrap her free arm all the way around her head, covering not only her eyes, but her ears as well so she wouldn't have to hear the sound of the chop. I raised the hatchet just as Mikayla whispered to the chicken, "I love you."

I could hardly bring myself to do it, but I know it was the right thing. The chicken's sorry little eyes were almost begging for the pain to end. Ultimately, the final blow was swift and sure. No more pain.

As difficult as it was to end one chicken's life, I know that I will have no trouble ending another one as soon as we're back from Baltimore....the "perp" in this brutal chicken attack (the Big rooster) is going to be chicken-stew just as soon as I get the chance.

Chop. Chop.


Jason Wright said...

This made me laugh. I had a similar experience living in Brazil a billion years ago, except the chicken was healthy and I didn't know how to kill it properly :) I have photos, maybe I'll post them sometime...

Or not...