Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Life cycles

The little chick that I nestled in my hand 8 weeks ago is now a large bird and ready tomorrow to travel with its pen mates to King's, the processor. When we raised the first batch of broilers a few years ago, I treated them more as pets. I talked to them, I let them out of their pens to play each day and I felt horrible when they went to the processor. I managed to cook the chickens but couldn't eat them. My memories of them were too emotional. But I got past that point and came to terms with their role in life and how to deal with it.

I have to admit that I still am not crazy about the thought of them going off and I do go in with them the night before and tell them I'm sorry (yes, I know, I'm a wuss). They come back, looking like supermarket chickens and I know they have had good lives and were treated well, fed well, and humanely killed. I can't offer them more than that in this life cycle.

I took this photo of the last group of chickens loaded into crates on their way to the processor. They have space, light, air and are calm and relaxed. I believe if the public knew the facts behind their average chicken dinner produced on a large commercial chicken rearing facility, they may reconsider who they buy them from. And the same applies to eggs. But I won't go into my rant about animal rights and humane treatment. If you want that argument, email me.

Pastel is not something that I'm good at drawing with. I see artists who produce amazing pieces with it and I can only wonder at the process and muddle along with childlike colours of my own. I loved the colours in this piece - the blues and yellows speak of summer. Unfortunately, the photo of the piece didn't come out well and I haven't done a scan of it yet.

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Robin Neudorfer said...

Beautiful pastel Jeanette. I am encouraged to get started too.
I doubt I could raise animals for food, but I will consider the life cycle from now on. Having not touched any red meat for 30 yrs, I set certain limits for myself. Thank you for reminding me.

Sara said...

This is a poignant post for me. I have been a vegetarian for 8 years. My husband has been inquiring into the possibility of my adding chicken into our diets (he doesn't cook). I told him I'm not into meats yet, but if I were to consider it, I would like to go with free range chickens only.

Then I read your post and your thoughts on raising chickens for slaughter. Thanks for posting this. This has added greatly to my thoughts on the matter.

P.S. I just found your blog via and I look forward to more of your entries.


Jeanette Jobson said...

Thank you Robin. I raise animals for food because I don't trust the commercial farming industry and prefer to know where my birds came from, how they were treated, what they ate and how they were slaughtered. Yes, it brings the reality of the process into sharp focus and makes you deal with elements that you'd prefer not to at times. By ignoring it as many people do and presuming that meat arrives on a little white styrofoam tray from the supermarket, it is simply a way of removing oneself from the life cycle and the reality of eating meat.

Sara, I can understand your concerns perfectly and mine mirror yours as stated in my note to Robin, above. I firmly believe that I am and should be responsible enough to know where my food sources come from and to demand they meet standards that I want and not those of the fast food industry.

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

Oliver S. said...

Nice pictures of the chicken, nice blog too :)