When you buy chicks, sometimes a rooster or two gets mixed in with the hens. This isn’t a problem until the chickens are older, when the roosters are crowing at dawn and basically kicking ass and taking names inside the coop.
This is an autobiographical essay. Between taking the first photo and the second in this series I had to off this rooster with an ax.
Its only crime was being a man.
Neither I nor my girlfriend had killed a chicken before, so we were open to trying more than one method. Her father used to grab them by the feet and swing them around to get momentum before snapping to a stop. This broke their necks, but one time he snapped so hard that the chicken’s head came off. As chickens are wont it ran around for a while extra, spurting unintended blood.
My girlfriend made the first attempt at quelling the rooster by grabbing its neck with both hands, taking several deep breaths, then pulling and twisting in one rapid but unsuccessful motion. Through the marvel of natural selection a predator can almost tie a chicken in a knot and give it no more than a chiropractic readjustment. With gritted teeth, she tried again but with the rooster still squawking she dropped it to the ground in disbelief. The rooster was on its feet once more, feathers ruffled, cowering underneath an orange tree.
We quickly grabbed it again, held it down and used a dish towel as a blindfold. It was my turn to breath deeply, and I made sure not to chop off any of my girlfriend’s digits as I brought the ax down. The remaining chickens flocked to the flailing rooster while it completed its final acrobatics. The hens eagerly pecked at the body as well as the drops of blood that sprinkled the yard.
It’s reasonable to expect that having to kill a chicken myself would turn me off to eating poultry. It didn’t. We’ll be eating the rooster for dinner soon.