Tonight’s meal had a name – Thank You, Mike

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?

8 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Chickens, Critters

8 Responses to Tonight’s meal had a name – Thank You, Mike

  1. joe richards

    Hi. Nice butchering job. He looks huge and very meaty. How old and what breed was he? How do you slaughter a rooster? Is there a best way? There are so many opinions. Thanks

    • Thanks, Joe! He was 10 months old: a blue laced red Wyandotte. We usually slaughter the boys around 18-20 weeks but this guy was special. I slaughter in a killing cone and do the rest of the butchering hanging from their feet, the same as the rabbits. I skin like this and then hold the neck up and eviserate with my left hand and the carcass ‘right side up.’ it’s not the easiest – but it works! I may post about it sometime.

      • joe richards

        Hi. I have great respect for people who raise their own food. Yes please post about it next time you slaughter. So do you mean you slaughter rabbits in the same cone also?

        • Thanks, Joe – it certainly makes you savor the meal a little more closely. Rabbits – i skin and eviscerate hanging from their back feet, but i do not slaughter in a cone. i use the ‘broomstick’ method. I’ll be sure and post some slaughtering how tos this year!’
          Miranda recently posted…Skeksis or French Clowns?

          • joe richards

            Thanks. When you slaughter a rooster do you slit only the jugular or the whole throat to the neck bone like some people do?

  2. When i slaughter the chickens i use a very sharp knive and make incisions on each side of the throat, cutting the arteries, not the wind pipe. This allows the animal to bleed out and dye slowly, vs strangling to death at the same time. They basically fall asleep. The cone holds them in a comfortable position before cutting and also contains their death spasms, which some do violently and others barely at all. I would imagine that slicing the whole throat would be faster if doing a large number of birds, but i’m generally only doing a few at a time and allow one to bleed out while evicerating the next. Works for me!
    Miranda recently posted…Skeksis or French Clowns?

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