Saturday, 14 November 2009

D Day

At last Sid has judged my Hubbard table chickens fit for despatch. They are 21 weeks old, so about half as long again as I had originally planned. He will be coming round late this afternoon to do the deed. I will not be giving the birds any additional feed during the day, apart from what they forage for themselves,- this makes for a less messy job - and of course water. The weather is atrocious, gale force winds and rain, we will be lucky if they don't blow away in the storm at this rate. After despatch he will hang the birds in his garage overnight, and prepare them tomorrow. As he has a plucking machine he can get through my thirteen birds in a fraction of the time it would take me to pluck them by hand.

I will do a  post on  this whole experience of raising birds for the table in due course, explaining whether I will do it again and what I have learned. Quite a bit will depend on the quality of the chicken on the table - if they turn out to be tough and stringy, I may have to re-think my future plans, but I'm hoping, and Sid tells my they will be, quite delicious, with a better "chickeny" flavour than anything I could get at Waitrose, or indeed, as Sid gleefully says, than the ones they sell for fifteen quid at the local organic farm shop.

I do feel quite sad that the birds have reached the end of their lives, but I will ensure that I complete my obligation towards them by ensuring as quick and stress free an end as possible.  It's not an easy thing to do, when you've raised any creature from day-old to fully grown, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that they have lived a good life,  felt the sun on their backs and the wind ruffle their feathers, and will have eaten as many worms and slugs as any chicken, or indeed any gardener, could ever wish for.


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