Mothering Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have roosters.<br><br><br>
And they are loud.<br><br><br>
And illegal in the city where I live. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I like roosters. The aggressive ones are hard to love, but still...<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, it looks like we have some butchering to do this weekend before the cops come by and escort these <i>illegal</i> beings away in some little wing-cuffs.<br><br>
Anyway I have a four year old and it's occurred to me I'm not sure how much of the butchering process I'm comfortable having her witness or participate in.<br><br>
Any thoughts? When do YOU think they're old enough to witness? How would you approach it? "Depends on the child" will probably come up. She's sensitive and imaginative. I worry about nightmares. I worry about transmitting my worries. I want to not avoid the idea of death and animals and life choices. I want to not regret anything. We also tend to do just about everything as a family, so it'd feel kind of weird to exclude her. It would feel weird to include her. My internal conflict is super high on this one.<br><br>
I'm grasping and running out of time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/help.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="help">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I was four or five when my parents decided to butcher some chickens. I was okay with it but I watched from a pretty safe distance (not wanting to see anything too clearly). I was a shy kid and have always tended towards the squeamish side especially when it comes to killing things.<br><br>
I don't remember how my parents presented the idea to me but I suspect they were rather matter-of-fact about the whole thing. They let my older sister participate but they didn't expect us to.<br><br>
I guess this isn't advice really, except to maybe talk to your daughter about it beforehand and see how she reacts to the idea. Let her decide her level of participation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
692 Posts
I think it partly depends on how skilled you are at the killing / butchering part.<br><br>
I read in The Omnivore's Dilemma that there can either be lots of blood spraying everywhere or it can be quick and neat, varying on how skilled the person is and the techniques used.<br><br>
The bloody bits might be scary for your little one, especially as you said she is sensitive and imaginative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,421 Posts
We butchered 8 roosters when DS had just turned 3, we chose not to have him see it. Maybe at 5 or older, or if he were a different kid...I was concerned it would upset/scare him. I know it is the reality of meat-eating but it's not like he's always been around animal slaughtering, so for us to just up and start butchering one day the chickens he had been excited to raise up from little chicks...they were way too much like pets in his eyes and he didn't have the maturity/language skills to understand from the beginning that we were raising them as food.<br><br>
We did it over two mornings when he was at pre-school. DS never noticed that we went from 18 birds to 10. We spared his favorite rooster, who was too scrawny to have been worth the bother anyway, but even ONE rooster proved to be more crowing than was tolerable. So we posted on freecycle and found a farm that was happy to take him. DS went along and told him bye-bye and all was fine.<br><br>
If you don't really want to butcher your roosters maybe you can find someone to take them. Unless your roosters are genuinely meat breeds, it's a LOT of work for not a lot of return, IMO. We raised so-called "hybrid" breeds where allegedly the hens are good layers and the boys are good eating, but in reality they were all pretty scrawny and the meat fairly chewy/gamey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses.<br><br>
DD is very verbal and reading voraciously and sometimes it's easy to space that she's just four and a couple months. Four. So I don't know what I was thinking that I'd be okay with her watching the roosters get killed. I think daddy can do the deed on his own we'll just watch the skinning-out part. My brother has skinned a turkey in front of her and she has seen other dead animals. But the life-taking part is probably one we'll skip for now.<br><br>
BTW, what do you do with the blood and feathers and parts? Do feathers compost? Can I bury the parts in the compost or in the garden somewhere?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
chickens are illegal for me too, so I don't know about the feathers. But I wanted to add that my parents first had chickens when I was 8 and I watched the killing and helped with the butchering somewhat. At the time it made me feel uneasy but nothing really disturbed me, consciously, that is. However, in highschool I became a vegetarian and a lot of it had to do with discomfort over killing and eating my friends the chickens, even though we did not have chickens for a few years and I saw the butchering only once. I'm no longer vegetarian, but was for 16 years and stopped only for health reasons. I don't know how you explain it to a child - I think you need to at some point - I do think 8 years old is old enough, but well, you never know how a child will react. I just think it's great that you have chickens for your children to experience (and to eat).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,147 Posts
We just butchered a couple of our chickens, and I have to say I'm fairly glad we left the younger girls inside with the oldest babysitting. (DD2 is 4 and few months, too.) Even though the kill was fast and neat, there was still some parts that would have freaked them out pretty well. I'm not squeamish at all, and I was weirded out by the movement that occurred after they were dead.<br><br>
I think it's important that it's not hidden, but watching butchering is a little ways down the road. We are not vegetarian, so making sure that our dc know that meat is not just something out of a supermarket case is part of that...just not at 4.<br><br>
As for the feathers and pieces, I wouldn't compost them. If you're skinning the chickens out (which is what it sounds like), there's going to be skin attached to the feathers, and meat isn't good compost. It will also draw scavengers, who generally aren't averse to eating live chicken, either!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,839 Posts
I took part in my first butchering at 7 or 8. The parts that disturbed me most were the chickens moving/flying after decapitation and the blood. I plucked and stuff. Like Irmama brought up, it was the movement after death that disturbed and confused me. (These chickens were not my pets). It can be scary for sensitive kids and I turned vegetarian <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,366 Posts
the parts from the butchering, feathers, and all can be used in the garden, we have always just buried them in one of the beds, we never put them in the compost so as not to attact wild animals or our dog.<br><br>
We've had to bury a couple of chickens over the years that just died and so it was the whole thing, those you need to bury deeper or not plan to dig that area for a year or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
My children have participated in the butchering of chickens since they were in the womb. Literally. Our first die-off was when I was six months pregnant with my first child. They have grown up attending full-scale slaughters where we have butchered upwards of 100 chickens in a day, and neither of my girls is scarred by it. Well, unless you think knowing where your meat comes from is "scarring" them. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
My point is, that at four years of age, the child is not going to think much of the butchering if you don't make a huge deal out of the thing. If you tie the rooster's legs together and then tie its wings to the body, this will eliminate most of the flapping that would scare a child of that age. That's the part that would be the most traumatizing for a first-time young viewer, IMO.<br><br>
Whether you keep your child from viewing the slaughter or encourage participation, I don't think the child will be harmed. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
We just put 8 roosters in the freezer and my just turned 3 yr old was witness to it all. I used a lot of language and explained what was happening and it was really a good experience for us all. I learned a lot about my son's understanding and he was so calm and non-chalant about the whole situation. It was like he had been experiencing this his whole life (which he was a wombling as well when I killed my first chicken and then he has been around it off and on these past 3 years).<br><br>
My daughter is 8 months old and next year when she is toddling around outside, I won't hesitate to let her see what goes on. It's a part of life and if you eat meat, you really should know where it comes from and how it was done.<br><br>
I wouldn't hold back letting your children experience this part of life. They can handle a lot more than you think and butchering your own chickens is not cruel. There is a difference between letting your children see animal cruelty and processing food. Good luck with your decision.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,038 Posts
I grew up in a community with a lot of hunting and butchering. That said, the first time I was personally involved (chickens, around the age of 6) I was very upset and refused to eat chicken for a year or two. I think it was mostly the fact that I had a close/caring relationship with these chickens so they were not "food" in my young mind but closer to "pet". I took my job of feeding/watering/egg collection very seriously and the transition from "individual chicken with a name and personality" to "stew pot bird" wasn't something I was ready for.<br><br>
So yes...it depends on your little one's personality. But it also depends on the relationship your little one has had with these specific roosters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
I put on a movie for dd. As fo rexplaining where they all went to...I didn't. at four I felt she was not old enough or young enough, it seemed like the wrong age for explaing death for eating purposes.<br>
She thinks they are living in the forest.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top