Notes from Windward: #67
Butchering a Pair of Roosters
Matt describes the experience
Walt did the actual culling this time, since it was my first time seeing it. With a quick slit of the throat, the rooster twitched and died. I wasn't sure how I would feel about taking part in killing an animal, but I quickly understood that it was a necessarily part of life and something that I should learn while I had the opportunity. Despite my initial hesitancy, I was glad that I took part.
The next step was to gut and clean the animal. Walt demonstrated the technique on the first rooster and Monique and I both did the second one. Since both would be consumed in the Windward kitchen and daylight was running short, we didn't use the common method of plucking the rooster. Instead, we simply skinned it by cutting the breast skin from the top (after decapitating it).
Next we worked around the body separating the skin from the flesh. Gutting the birds was tricky since we had not avoided feeding them in the prior twenty-four hours. this left their digestive tract full of food. We also had to make sure the anus didn't touch any of the flesh to avoid contamination. After the gutting and cleaning was completed, we brought them inside and finished removing all of the feathers that had stuck to the meat.
Since we don't yet have a fly-free area to work in (although there are barely any still around), we immediately put the meat into a slow-cooker with some water. One of the roosters was used the next day in a perloo and the other a few days later in a fried rice dish. The chicken stock created from the water in the slow-cooker was canned and stored in the freezer for later use.
Overall, the process was much easier than I expected. I was expecting to be a little queasy throughout the whole thing, but that never happened. When put in the context of needing food to eat and keeping the chicken flock healthy, the necessity and importance of the process surpassed the discomfort involved in killing a living thing. Although it is not the most pleasant thing to do, it is an extremely important aspect of both sustainability and life.
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67