backyardchickenfail


That chicken is deader than Willy Loman

A big part part of the backyard chicken experiment was to see if  I could ever kill  a chicken. I read up on the various methods other backyard farmers used and got squeamish at the thought of having to install a “kill cone” and Plexiglas “splatter guard.” Photos of well rounded youngsters holding up dead chickens in a creepy Children of the Corn kind of way taunted my lackluster killing skills.

Nerd

The only things I’ve ever killed, minus a duck I accidentally smoked while driving 70 miles per hour (awesome poof of feathers in the rear view), are lobsters. On a family reunion in New England we picked up 4 lobsters for dinner.  Word of advice: never cook lobsters with a veterinarian. Before I could even get the water boiling my sister the vet was already Googling “humane ways to kill a lobster.” The three tidbits of advice were 1. Put them in the freezer to slow down their vitals 2. Duck it head first in the water for a quicker kill 3. A quick cut down the length of the head for an immediate kill.

I argued against any compassion and said we should just boil them and get it over with.

Nope.

Instead the lobsters were thrown in the freezer for 30 minute. Did nothing except make them sassier.

Then we tried the “head first” method. I felt like I was torturing it for information. Didn’t work either. Just a half face boiled lobster now suited for a role in “Phantom of the Opera”

Next experiment was the knife slice. This would have worked if we had a chef grade tool like the guy in the video had. The dull knife lead to a few half ass stabbing attempts with a hacksaw completion.

So instead of simply boiling the lobsters for a quick death, they were frozen, water boarded, and stabbed in the head.

Remind me not to take my cat to my sister.

As an avid scuba diver, I also have a  jihad against Florida spiny lobsters. Unlike

Kind of like an episode of "Oz"

their Maine cousins, spiny lobsters have no claws so you  don’t take the whole thing home. You “tail” it. This equates to ripping off the tail, breaking off an antenna, shoving the antenna up the pooper, de-veining it,  and throwing the twitching and clicking front half  into the water. Sometimes you can even see the beating heart.

It’s  gruesome and there was no way I could do it.

Gradually it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to play the “girl card” forever and have someone do it for me. So I put on my gloves, grabbed the lobster, took a deep sadistic breath, and did it. The creepiest part was when the tail  twitched when I ran it under the water prior to cooking…two hours later. Just eww.

A lobster is basically a giant underwater insect making the guilt of killing a lobster on par with  squishing a bug. But a chicken, with it’s slightly soul full eyes, fluffy feathers, and various vocalizations. Could I kill one?

One month into chickening I learned that I did not possess chicken-killer instinct.

I was sitting in my office when I heard a commotion. The was rustling in the leaves, chickens frantically squawking, and squirrels barking out an alarm. I rushed out to the yard and saw two scattered and flustered hens, but where was the third? A quick survey of the yard and I found it, pinned under a black cat that I had seen in my yard before but never thought of until now. It scrambled over the fence as I ran toward it,  leaving it’s victim writhing in pain.

The chick was flopping on it’s back, a trickle of blood from its beak, obviously mortally wounded. It occurred to me what I was going to have to do and my stomach fell.  A trip to the vet passed briefly through my mind and I knew it was pointless. Not to mention the absurdity of saving an animal I had bought with the intention of killing.

“Shit, shit, shit.” I muttered as I headed to the garage to look for something to get the job done.

Shovel in hand I walked back out to the yard only to find that same fucking cat right back on the chicken! I chased it away a second time, wondering what kind of cat was so stealth and had such balls. He was clearly CIA. The only good thing was the bird was no longer moving. It was dead. Thank god!

I absolutely did not want to kill that chicken. Even to end it’s suffering, I couldn’t have done it. My philosophical question had been answered. If the cat hadn’t come back Plan B was to give it a few minutes and hope it would just die. Some farmer I am. Maybe I should just sign up  FarmVille.

Looking at the motionless bird brought a pang of guilt. It was my job to protect the girls and I had failed. After much debate, I decided to release this picture, even if it causes an uprising in the fundamentalist poultry community.

FAIL

In memory of Barbie #1, Urge to kill: -2.

The next post ” Meet Frankenchicken”

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Raptor party

After spending a few days watching over my new chickens I realized something: chickens suck. Owners on the backyard chicken forums (they exist) spoke of birds with personalities, who came when you called, and perched on your lap. Turns out these people are just crazy cat ladies who have chickens instead. These things were pretty stupid and boring.

This is what a chicken does for most of the day: poops, scratches at dirt, pecks the ground, squawks, sits on things, shits on things, flaps its wings, walks in that head bobbing way that makes you want to sing “walk like an Egyptian.”  Occasionally the birds would charge at each other, puffing up fluffy chest to fluffy chest, trying to establish the pecking order. When they were out in the yard and one bird found a bug that the others wanted, the other two would chase it around the yard trying to steal it. That was about the extent of entertainment my poultry provided. I really need to get cable.

While watching the birds roam around the yard I couldn’t help but notice their similarities to dinosaurs. Many of my formative years were spent drawing t-rexs, triceratops, parasaurolophuses, and liopleurodons. At the height of my dino-mania not only had I seen Jurassic Park five times in theaters, I wanted to be a paleontologist. Many scientists accept the theory that certain dinosaurs evolved into birds. Looking at a dino like a struthiomimus versus a modern day ostrich, it’s easy to see the similarities.

It’s an entirely other thing to be able to accept it.

This means that my beloved-ed, fierce some, monsters of my childhood were nothing but giant chickens, literally. Imagine T-rex nancing around doing that jerky chicken walk, clucking as he goes. Now picture him with feathers. Lame.

Not horrifying

This also kills the scariness factor of Jurassic Park, the movie. Now they’re not being attacked by a rampaging beast but a big bird, complete with a bird sized brain. Suddenly out running velociraptors doesn’t seem so hard when you could likely distract them with a mirror or shoo them away with a broom. I mean, really Samual L Jackson, you got killed by a stupid bird? “I’m tired of all of these mother clucking chickens in this mother clucking power facility!” Doesn’t sound badass at all.

Total pussy

So for ruining one of my favorite movies as a kid, and my favorite childhood monsters- Urge to kill: 1 Point.

The next post “That cat was clearly CIA.”