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Can you raise chickens to eat, and still love them?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by MichiganWoods, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Not in the "mmm, mmm, good" love them sense, but truly enjoy watching, interacting and taking care of them?

    I had it in my mind that we would raise our chickens for eggs and meat, and maybe keep one or two as pets for the kids. But now that we've had them for near 6 weeks, I am honestly falling in love with them. [​IMG] They are so funny and personable. I've bought them worms, grubs and crickets, and even put real bird toys out in the coop to give them things to play with. And yet, when the time comes, I still do not have any hesitation dispatching them and serving them up for dinner. I figure that while my chickens are alive, I'm going to give them the best possible life. And in a way, that makes it easier in the end for me to want to eat them. I accidentally stumbled onto a website the other day that had very graphic and nasty pictures of how egg production companies keep their laying chickens. I had no idea. I can't imagine the meat birds getting treated much better. [​IMG]

    How many of you love your chickens, and eat them too?
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I am raising meaties for the first time and they are MAKING me fall in love with them. They're 4 weeks old now and come running as soon as they see me and pile in my lap any time I'll sit down. Like you said, knowing their short lives are good will make it a little easier in the end. I'm still going to have to have someone else (DH and my brother) actually swing the ax.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I do. I love them all. I take very good care of them. They are well fed. But from the start there is no confusion about them. They are here for a purpose. We care for them and then they care for us as food on our table.
  4. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    I care lots for my birds, dogs, reptiles, fish [​IMG]

    I also have no problem loving the birds...fried, scrambled, or otherwise...I must admit that I couldn't shoot my own dog even if it needed it...but I have preserved dead lizards for my class and we dissected rats I had raised and let the kids play with...shows good adjustment...my oldest boy knows that he 4-H goats will get sold and one will be a BBQ!
  5. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    Thanks for the responses everyone. I was hoping I wasn't being the odd man out on this.

    I keep reminding my husband at least twice a week that we will eventually eat some of these guys, so try to not get too attached. I'm not sure if I'm doing it for his benefit or mine!

    KellyHM, I'll have to see how I feel about swinging the ax myself when that time comes. I think I want to learn to do it myself, only because I know my husband won't, and my kids are way too young to hand an axe to. If I don't do it, it makes the chickens more expensive to eat since I will have to pay a butcher do it.

    MissPrissy, that sounds like a most excellent way to say it. There's minimal confusion on my end, just unexpected feelings towards our chickens.

    Teach97, I couldn't shoot my kitty cats, so I understand your feelings on your dogs. I will definitely have to have a vet put mine to sleep if and when they get sick and need to be at peace. As per the goats... we've been thinking about getting some come the spring time. We've been debating whether it's best to keep two females for milking and sell the kids to recoup the cost of keeping the two milkers, or if it would save us more money on groceries to raise the offspring for butchering.
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Quote:This is exactly the way it should be, do not confuse that warm and fuzzy feeling with the reason for the endeavor. that is why it is forbidden for my DW & DD to name them. You can get a sense of accomplishment when you raise and care well for your poultry, enjoy them and have fun, but then stick to your reasons for having them, you care for them ---- they care for you.

  7. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    IF you have two milk goats you should get 4 kids...it would depend on the market where you live...personally I love goat. It is a sweat meat that just melts in your mouth...you will want to cross a meat goat type on those milers to get better offspring results...just a side not cuz milk goats grow slow without alot of muscle
  8. Bammony

    Bammony Red-dress-less

    Aug 15, 2008
    Salina, Utah
    A few years ago when we raised our first cornish crosses, I went out to their pen to watch them. I sat inside the pen on the ground with my back to the fence, and one of the little pullets came and actually jumped up on my leg and then worked herself to where she was actually leaning against me. I just sat there and pet her as my husband laughed saying, "don't get too attached to it, we'll be eating it soon.". I knew she had to die because cornish crosses don't live long anyways, but I loved that little pullet. When the day came to kill her, I held her for a minute and then handed her to my husband to dispatch her. It was hard, but that's what we had bought her for. I can't help but get attached, but I'm ok with eating them as well.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    I can tell you that if my original intent was to eat the birds, that group would be raised far away and I'd feed, water, etc, but not pet and play with them; certainly not name them!
    I just culled a cockerel who needed to be out of the breeding program due to his comb flaw, though in all other respects, he was a stunner, IMO. He developed "Raging Hormone Disease" and became aggressive, which led us to cull him-no one else needed the problem and if he was going to end up as dinner, might as well be mine. He lived a nice, clean, well-fed and loved life and he was culled humanely and did not suffer. I would have a hard time doing that with one of my hens and when the time comes that I must euthanize Zane (and I fear it will), that will be very, very hard, with a few tears shed, trust me.
  10. Southerngirl

    Southerngirl Songster

    Mar 25, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Our rule around the farm is we DO NOT NAME the ones that we are going to cull in the fall from our spring hatches. Our broilers never get named except when son #1 started calling one Grace. Well, with a name like that she got a free pass for life. Take good care of them and love them but in the end you know they are there for 3 purposes: entertainment, eggs, and meat. [​IMG] The first time we processed our broilers was the hardest because we had raised them from babies. However, after that it was not a problem because we established the meat for the table motto ![​IMG] Good luck!

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