Out of the mouths of babes...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sunny Side Up, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I've been learning about keeping chickens for eggs and butchering them for meat with another homeschooling mom pal of mine. We want our kids to have more awareness & appreciation for their food sources. We also want to gain essential survival skills that used to be so commonplace, but are becoming scarce in these modern times.

    We've both heard tales from many other folks who hear of our ventures in home processing and share their own stories of being somehow traumatized during a past encounter with some relative butchering their chickens. I wonder if my efforts to educate my children about the benefits of home-grown foods will backfire and instead drive them into the bosom of Colonel Sanders.

    My friend now has no such fears. The other morning her 3-year-old son, who has frequently watched us at work chopping & plucking & gutting, snuggled up to her in bed just as she was waking up. "Mommy, you know what I think?" he whispered into her neck, wrapping his arms around her, "Mommy, you're the BEST chicken killer EVER!"

    My friend, who takes her compliments wherever she can get them, simply said "Thank you!"
  2. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    there's interesting commentary on this in the book by Barbara Kingsolver titled "Animals, Vegetable, Mineral". Her youngest daughter is in love with chickens and learns how to accept their butchering once she does the math and realizes that she'll make TONS more money (to buy her new bicycle) selling chickens for meat instead of only selling the eggs.
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Last year we had our first cornish cross. I have a grandson who lives close, and was very interested in the fat little white chickens. As soon as we got them, I explained to him, these chickens do not lay eggs...and they will be in the freezer in 8 weeks. I then sat him down, and explained why they need to be processed so young, and the "art" of processing. He helped me feed, and clean them. When the time came he wanted to be there to help with the deed. He at that time was 7 yrs old. My daughter in law was hesitant to let him see, or help...but I was able to convince her he needed to be there. What a great day we had. My son, daughter in law, and grandson....processed 9 in about 2 hrs. Turned out, my daughter in law LOVES to pluck chickens? [​IMG] Grandson loves to "clean them out" and I did the dispatch. We all enjoyed chicken dinner the next day...and my grandson is now looking forward to the 24 we have in the brooder now! Kids are tougher than we tend to believe. Just let them know ahead of time...the " duty" of certain chickens.
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I think it is all in how you approach the subject matter. Kids need to know there is a life given for meat on the table. It is part and parcel of good animal husbandry skills. It is never easy to take a life either by culling or dispatching for the table. They need to be able to relate the sources of the food on the table. To me it is important that they learn to respect and value life in everything including the foods they eat.

    With the amounts of violence they can be exposed to just by turning on a tv that desensitizes them I think it does them some good to see that once the deed has been done everything doesn't go back to the way it was. There was a real life lost that cannot be replaced. The lowly chicken is thereby raised in value to them and is no longer just a chicken.

    When my older daughter was about 9 we had two piglets we were fattening out. One day I was outside feeding up the chickens and pigs and she was inside. The phone rang and she answered. The caller was very happy to tell me that she had been told that I was outside "feeding the bacon and the ham".
  5. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    yall are teaching your kids an grankids a vaulable lesson.about where food comes from an the processing of food.an your letting the kids see an learn when their ready.if a kid doesnt want to see or be around the killing an processing dont force emm to watch.because if you do.it could make things worse for you an the kids
  6. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    I think it is great to raise your own meat birds. I raise 50+ each year and my 2 kids are very active in their raising as well. They have a great appreciation where their food comes from and it wonderful for them to be able to eat food that has not been injected and you know where it comes from. We also raise our own pigs, cows and have layer chickens.

  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    I have a completely new respect for chicken and other meat I eat now that I never felt before I raised animals for meat. I spend more time now preparing a good meal with the meat, and I don't want to waste it or ruin it by burning it carelessly or something. I didn't have that same respect when I bought it at the grocery store. Now, I think of animals as "giving" to us and I am grateful for it, and I also know exactly how much feed, water, time, and work went into raising the meat.
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I feel the same way, I don't want to waste a morsel of the meat from the chickens I've raised. That's what I'm hoping for my children to gain, an appreciation & gratitude for the food on their plates.

    Sometimes when we go by the egg case in the grocery store I'll stop & tell the kids "just imagine, all the many chickens who laid the eggs that are here" and I'll open a carton & say "wow, that's a whole day's work for 12 different hens!"
  9. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Kids tend to accept things a lot better than we think - especially younger kids.

    I know I get asked a lot about having our kids present at the birth of their baby brother - was it 'scary' or 'gross' to them, or somehow inappropriate. They were so glad to be a part of the process and having them there and their reactions of pure joy and excitement were the highlight for me of Hayden's birth-day.

    It's all in proper preparation, whether chicken processing OR childbirth - setting them up for what they will be seeing in terms they can understand at their age. AND having someone there who can help them or take them aside if needed for a break if they get overwhelmed.

    For older children who more fully understand the concept of death (usually around 5-6 or so) you might want to help prepare them by showing them one of the many picture tutorials out there on the internet so they will know what to expect.

    For younger children, everything is a game and a new adventure - if your attitude going in to the process is calm, matter-of-fact, and 'won't this be fun to do together?' they will just be glad to be spending time with you and 'helping'.
  10. jaku

    jaku Songster

    I couldn't agree more with the posts in this thread. Kids need to see the natural side of death. A book called "On Killing," by Col. Dave Grossman, describes the theory that nowadays we are shielded from death, and taught that it is something that shouldn't be seen. It becomes taboo- but you can't shield kids from it. They'll see it on TV and in video games, which not only leads to a warped view of the life/death cycle, but seems to screw them up, and can help them get unnatural fascinations about it. Forgive the comparison, but if kids get their experience with death by movies and video games, it's almost like giving your kids porno movies and calling it their sex education.

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