Let me begin this post with a confession: yes, we do name our chickens.
We don’t name ALL the animals here at Birdsong Farm. The meat bunnies, for example do not get names until they’ve been chosen as breeding stock. Most of our hens have names, but not all as there are a few of the same breed that i just can’t distinguish. The new guineas don’t have names as i have no idea how long they’ll last. But so far, all our roosters have gotten names. This may seem a bit backward, as most roosters will one day “meat” their end in a stew pot. But they have such great personalities and quirks, it’s impossible not to name them.
Davey Crockett was so named due to his adventurous spirit and goofy leaps into the air as a cockeral. Frosty got his name after an unfortunate bout of frostbite on his comb that resulted in all his comb spikes falling off. Then there was Mike. Mike got his name thanks to an old high school friend of mine: tall, strawberry blonde, a little bit goofy…. Mike was a blue laced red Wyandotte who we’d hoped be a hen but went the other way. He was a big boy and quite lovely. I’d hoped to add his genes to our flock, but sadly ole Mike became a bit aggressive. Not aggressive in the ‘attacking people’ sort of way… no, Mike was a lover at heart and the hens just didn’t quite appreciate his admirations. His constant, all day long, rough and unconsentual admirations. So Mike went to the pot.
Mike was our first ‘baby’ for me to butcher. Butchering chickens is never my favorite thing, and skinning a rooster, young or old is not easy. But first thing Saturday morning, that’s just what i did. I cleaned him up and weighed him – nearly 5 pounds dressed and put him in a crock with some leeks, white wine, herbs and water and simmered him for 8 hours to be enjoyed as the star of a dinner party. We definitely raised our glasses to young Mike, and enjoyed every nutritious bite knowing he had a great life on pasture from day one, free of medications, with plenty of ‘entertainment’ and a pain free, fast death.
How about you – could you eat something that had a name?