Henry went to a chicken swap (more like a sale) at the county fairgrounds the other day and brought home 12 roosters. Apparently the vendor drove with her chickens all the way from Eastern Oregon and didn’t want to have to haul them home with nothing to show for it, so 12 roosters set us back a total of $15.
The six-month-old roosters are mostly of the heritage ‘dominique ‘ breed, know for both good egg production (obviously not the roosters) and meatiness.
We got these roosters so we could eat them. They are strong, healthy birds, and they will spend the next few weeks or months roaming around, foraging on bugs (and chicken food), and pooping on next year’s garden space. At this point, they’re still young enough that they will squabble but won’t fight viciously as older roosters will do when faced with competition.
Supposedly, they will gain another pound or two if they have a healthy diet, so we will butcher them one at a time as needed, starting in late November.
Both Henry and I were vegetarians earlier in our lives. We’re not vegetarians anymore, but we are acutely aware of the ethics and impacts of eating meat. Actually, the vast majority of our meals are meatless, but when we do choose to eat meat, we almost always know exactly where it’s coming from. We occasionally get beef from our friends at Hemphill Angus, and Henry is regularly gifted various wild game parts and products or fish from clients. I’m certainly no meat connoisseur, but the animals we eat taste pretty darn good probably in part because my mind is at ease about their happy lives and humane-as-possible deaths.
When we go out to eat (which is rare), we just order whatever sounds good and don’t get hung up on whether or not it’s free-range/organic/grass-fed/biodynamic or whatever. We can’t control everything in our lives, nor would we want to or else we’d end up like the couple in this clip from the TV series Portlandia.
I’d like to think that if I only had a couple months to live, I’d want to spend my days enjoying this view. I’m not sure if the chickens appreciate it or not, I sure do.