The Family That Butchers Chickens Together: Teaching My Sons About Food

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Today, my family had the opportunity to participate in a class at a local farm. Venetucci Farm is about two miles from my house. They are offering a series of classes called “Living Close to Home,” that teaches people about living a more sustainable lifestyle. The first class was Chicken Butchering 101:

Egg production among laying flocks starts to drop off dramatically after about three years. Some backyard flock owners may prefer to keep them around as pets and that’s okay as long as you can afford to feed them. If you’d like to learn the art of turning laying hens into stewing birds, join us Saturday, March 10, at 10:00 for a butchering class. Participants will have “hands-on” experience as we cull the Venetucci flock. Everyone will go home with one pot-ready stew bird.

Originally, I was going to go to this class alone and let Ben watch the boys. He asked why we didn’t take the boys and all learn about the process? I called the farm, and they said we were welcome to bring the kids. I have to admit I was a little worried about how they would react to seeing chickens killed, humanely or otherwise. I finally realized kids need to see where real food comes from. They get to see where fruits and vegetables come from—our garden or a garden. This was an opportunity for them to see that chickens aren’t just made, they are living animals and they have a life cycle.

It was the perfect day for learning to butcher chickens and the farm is always a beautiful place to visit. I was glad to see one other child there, a little girl, who was eight years old, came with her mother. One of the ladies helping was a mother and a farmer and she was able to show the boys so many fun things. She showed them how to pull a tendon in the cut-off chicken foot to make the nails curl.

She and Colby found an entire cycle of eggs from a few different chickens. We all cleaned out our chickens' insides at a large table. As we pulled out the insides, many chickens would have an egg at one stage or another inside them. We came home with about six eggs to eat, and Colby now has an entire cycle, from the beginning of an egg to the end, to share with his class.

The boys helped with the entire process. Colby was able to help cut a chicken’s neck, get all the feathers off and pull out the insides. They both came home asking for chicken for dinner. They weren’t traumatized or overly sensitive to the process. I think it was a good thing for them to see and be a part of as children. It isn’t something every child gets to see, but I am thankful my boys had the opportunity to see where food, real food, comes from. On another note, when the zombie apocalypse happens, we are one step closer to being completely prepared.

Butchering a chicken

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