August 26, 2009

C is for Chicken

Before heading back to Germany we were invited to barbeque with friends who keep chickens. I've always liked chickens and wouldn't mind keeping chickens myself some day but that's neither here nor there.

After we'd arrived and were thoughtfully supplied with beer and finger food our friend regaled us with the tale of how he'd had to kill one of his chickens the day before. I won't go into detail but apparently the creepy story of how they run around for like, ten minutes, after you chop off their heads is totally true.

'Why did you kill it?' I asked, watching uneasily as his wife wandered by with a plate full of raw chicken.

The answer: 'She had a nasty abscess and was starting to dig into it with her beak. She was basically eating herself.'

So glad I asked.

Friend: 'So we had to kill her.'

Me: 'Oh, totally.'

A short, thoughtful pause.

Me: 'Er. . . that wouldn't be the cancerous, self-mutilating chicken on the grill now, would it?'

I had to know.

Friend: 'Naw - we ate that yesterday.'

I think that was a joke.

Me: 'Um. Where are the children?'

Friend: 'Petting the chickens.'

Well, that's OK, because cancerous chicken tumours and self-cannibalism aren't contagious, right? So I too went off to pet a chicken before dinner, a fine red hen that I coveted for my own. She was very soft and I felt as one with nature as I held her and covertly inspected her for strange growths.

Oh, and we also learned that you can put live chicks under a broody hen while she sleeps and she'll raise them as her own. If she doesn't kill them. Who knew?

OK, Sara probably knew.

So, you now know as much as I know about live chickens.


  1. I'll keep my happy-thought that all poultry comes from the Supermarket.

  2. hee! Fun with chickens!

    But we don't let ours run around after they have their heads removed. Don't want them to flap around and bruise the meat. That's what Mark says anyway. And he's the one holding the ax so I don't argue. ;)

    Barbequed chicken, Mmmmmmm.....

  3. I had this problem once -- with a hen, not myself. We nursed her back to health by rubbing some sort of farmy salve on her butt. Made the pecking stop.

    A hawk tried to kidnap one of our girls a couple weeks ago. She beat it off. It was flying over our backyard again yesterday, so they're staying in their pen until it finds another food source.

  4. I don't want to kill anything I eat. Ignorance is bliss.

  5. I agree with Kristina and Dental Maven. The food we eat has nothing to do with live animals whatsoever - it just magically comes from elsewhere.

  6. Chocolate. We should all just eat chocolate. At least nothing is killed in the process.

  7. Cancerous, self-mutilating chicken. . . .Mmmmmmm. . . .

  8. Wow!! They kill their own chickens. I am totally impressed. I think I will stick to growing my own basil.

  9. Wow. I don't know what to say. Yikes? Sick? I'd stick to the salad myself.

  10. Oh.. thank goodness I'm vegetarian... says she, weakly.

  11. ew. I'm sure glad I don't eat chickens. I just eat poultry from the market... That isn't chicken--if I didn't see it on a farm it has never been a chicken... Poultry is poultry and not a pet. I'm sticking to that. If I say it enough I might believe it. I'm a poultry eater, not a chicken eater... again...

  12. I know urban chicken-raising is all the rage right now, but please! I'd only keep them around for the eggs, and to annoy the neighbors.

    How did you manage to eat your dinner after that dialogue? Yuck!


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