When I was little, I wanted to be a vet.
I loved animals and wanted them all.
Then I volunteered at a vet’s office for a morning and a dog died. I realized then I didn’t want to be a vet.
It wasn’t really the dog dying that made me realize it, but it was the way the staff handled it. I remember sitting there as they made jokes and laughed. Someone then jokingly said, “we should be more respectful, this was someone’s pet.” My thought was, ‘YES YOU SHOULD!”
Years later when it came time to make the hard decision about my sweet Girl dog that I’d grown up with, the decision was easy. She was in pain and she was ready.
In the past few years I have spent more money and time taking animals to vets when most people would have given up. Yes, I’ve taken a chicken to the vet for a sprain. Yes, I’ve driven to multiple vets in a desperate attempt to save a goat. Yes, I had spinal surgery, and months of rehab on a dog with only the hope of her maybe walking with assistance (guess what… she now runs around the fields like she is a puppy.)
What is my point with all this?
Well this was our first year raising our own pigs for meat, and this was our first time to butcher roosters, and it made me realize how it all fit, despite seeming contrary to my love of animals.
It goes back to that thing about being respectful.
If I am going to eat meat, which I am because I physically need meat in my diet, I want to know they were well cared for and lived the best life they could.
Our pigs were happy and got lots of yummy food most pigs never get to taste, in fact they got exotic and organic foods I’ve never eaten thanks to a local grocery store. When it came time to find a butcher we made sure they would do it as humanely as possible.
We had hoped not to have many roosters this year, so we could keep a few. Then someone messed up and we ended up with 25 roosters instead of pullets. Vince suggested we sell them, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that again. Last year we ended up with 7 Lavender Orpington roosters, I tried for weeks to sell them. They ended up all being sold for $10 , and the way they were handled and transported saddened me.
Nope, if I put as much care into these roosters as we did, I wanted that same care and respect all the way to the end.
So when it came time to dispatch the roosters, we gave thanks for their sacrifice, we asked for the strength to do this right, and we did one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do.
It is never easy to say goodbye to a life, even one so small as a chicken. I am so thankful to know the quality of life they had.
I may sound sentimental, but these are the same chicks that happily cheeped in the background when Vivienne was born, so I am a bit sentimental towards them.