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Feeling the Pull

I'm once again wishing for chickens. I'd like four or five, and a rooster. We're zoned for it, but it would take some doing to make them easily accessible and safe from the local carnivores.

I read an interesting article on PETA that made some good points but totally lost me as far as PETA goes. The woman who founded PETA thinks that "purebred human babies" are a vanity just like purebred dogs. I can't fathom what she means by that. She also thinks that racing Formula 1 cars is great, while eating meat is horrible. Obviously the planet as a living thing does not enter into PETA's mindset.

But it did have an entire section on what's done to chickens in order to make eggs, and it's not nice. Most chickens never see the light of day in their entire 6-week lives, living in bunkers that reek of the smell of their own wastes. Egg-producing chickens are treated even worse, starved to get them to lay more. Frankly, that's not a bad cycle to step out of. pirateguillermo and I talked about things we do to interrupt the waste stream (buying things that have less packaging, recycling and reusing everything possible including our household food scraps). I think this is much the same thing.

I like eggs, and I like chicken. I'm more than willing to take the responsibility of killing, cleaning and cooking my own food, but it would be nice to know that while it was alive, it had an actual life with sunshine and comfort and company.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
elmofromok
Aug. 16th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
if you go to your local farmers market you can usually find eggs that are local and not from chickens that were treated horribly. Thats how we get our eggs here.
wordweaverlynn
Aug. 16th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
This is why I get free-range eggs. Also, they taste about 1000% better.
junglemonkee
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
Free range eggs? How far can an egg go on its own? ;)

So, imagine how much better eggs from free-range hens would taste if they were laid that morning?

And chickens are cute. Cuter than dogs.
wordweaverlynn
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:40 pm (UTC)
I grew up feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs. I even know how to clean and pluck them.
junglemonkee
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC)
Now you're cleaning and plucking the free-range eggs. These are some eggs you've got going on.

Seriously, that's something I need to learn. I could certainly dissect a chicken and tell you what its organs are and whether it was sick when it was alive, but as for getting all the little bitty feathers off - I have not the first clue.

I figured I'd do what everyone does - hang out at the feed store asking people questions.
kr8vkat
Aug. 22nd, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
My first pet was a chicken - an Americauna named Babe who laid blue-green eggs.

We raised chickens for both meat and eggs when I was a kid, and I remember well having to pluck them. Ick. If I remember correctly, we dipped the carcass in boiling water (or maybe it was just hot, or maybe it was just water...my dad would remember) and just pulled the feathers off....I'd think these days, with everyone eating skinless, it would be easier to just, well, skin them. I've seen pigs done both ways - skinned, or dipped in hot water and "de-haired" with a scraper thingie.

You probably want more than 3 or 4 though. You can order chickens by breed and sex through Murray McMurray (it was a catlog in my day, though they probably have a website by now...yup, it's here.) They send you day-old chicks through the mail. Very cool.
junglemonkee
Aug. 22nd, 2005 03:48 am (UTC)
Actually, that's the very website I've been looking at for Buff Brahmas. They're supposed to be smart and gentle. For chickens.
blythe025
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
My mom wants chickens, too. She loves chickens, and we have quite a lot of chicken parenphernalia around the house.

Actually, when we bought our old house we inherited a couple of chickens with it.

Then we brought the dog home.

We hopped out of the car--and there went the dog. And there went the chicken. The chicken survived that first encounter. But then we locked the dog in the garage for the day, and we didn't realise the chicken was in there, too.

We found the ribcage--and feathers. There were lots of feathers.

The other chicken ran away. Which was probably wise, considering.
junglemonkee
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
Did you actually *see* the other chicken run away? Frankly, they're not that smart. Your parents may have told you he joined the circus to make you feel better, but I'm deeply suspicious.
blythe025
Aug. 16th, 2005 10:11 pm (UTC)
Well, I was told that there were some wild chickens around there that the birdy joined up with. and it sounds plausible.

I was nineteen at the time, so I don't think my parents were still dealing with the need to protect my fragile mind.

Although, I don't think anyone in my family actually "saw" the chicken run away. It may have just disappeared one day. We didn't find a body though, either.
layer
Aug. 16th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
chickens are loud and messy, but i'd love to see you give it a try. especially if you'd be willing to share with your friends (or better yet, barter for loquats...)

i have been considering rabbits myself. probably couldn't do a breeding pair unless i had friends who really enjoyed rabbit stew, but even with one, they produce the best rose-fertilizer ever. too bad they don't lay eggs, though. and too bad you can't milk them.

any idea where to find out what local neighborhoods are zoned for?
junglemonkee
Aug. 16th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC)
I would totally be willing to barter. In addition to eggs, I'd be willing to barter homemade preserves and homemade ketchup (made without high fructose corn syrup!).

pirateguillermo found out what we were zoned for through the county when we bought the house. I don't know if SF city/county has the same thing, but it should. Although now that I think about it, if you call an animal shelter in your area, I bet they'd know.
layer
Aug. 16th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC)
looks like i can keep up to four animals of various kinds including rabbits though the rabbits must be fixed. i couldn't seem to find an answer about goats though. but you're right. i'm sure animal control would know.

i expect i'll have preserves (including my specialty -- chutney) as well, especially if i ever get that loquat tree up and running. and if i get even one pumpkin of the size these plants are supposed to fruit, i'll definitely have that to trade as well.
alleahna
Aug. 16th, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
Mmm.. fresh laid eggs. The guy who used to work the coffee cart in our building kept chickens and those were the best eggs I'd ever tasted. Any salads that didn't get sold that day went to the chickens (sans the dressing, naturally). He would buy greens at the local farmer's market for them.

If I buy eggs in the store I only buy free range organic eggs (yeah, those suckers run FAST). Same with chicken breasts and you can definitely tell the difference in taste. I'm afraid I'm not into the killing my own food thing, though. And we'd have to fight off the cats, anyway.
junglemonkee
Aug. 16th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
In my view, if you want to eat meat, you have to be willing to take responsibility for where it comes from. My dad's family has raised food animals since forever, and I can tell you that it does make a difference. First of all, you might still get attached to an animal, but it's with the understanding that everything dies. It's how life is. And secondly, when you are killing a thing whose life you have supported, you can be both merciful and appreciative.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )