It was relatively quick to separate each bird from his head with a sudden short rap from a sharpened hatchet. Soon all birds were hanging from their feet, bleeding from the wound on their necks where a head used to be. Cleaning them seemed more of a task. This part I found distasteful. Removing their innards released a strong smell that could not be washed from my mind even after cleaning up and storing all these chickens in a freezer. Even several days later when we decided to cook a chicken, the memory of that smell returned. That made it impossible for me to partake in eating chickens I had butchered. No one else at the meal suffered the same and were able to enjoy chicken dinner. I began to doubt that I could make it raising and killing my own chickens.
One other occasion called me to do in some chickens. A neighbor who I had provided other roosters to asked would I be willing to butcher them. Having just had this experience I agreed. I was to dispatch them but did not have to do the butchering. Tana agreed to handle that messy part. All went well as I sent a few more roosters toward the dinner table. The only snag developed as I was coming to the end of the task. Tana also wanted me to remove one of the older roosters from her flock. This bird had finally given up top roost to a younger bird who was rising in the ranks..
Two roosters are one more than is needed to maintain peace in a chicken coop. It seems there will be unceasing struggle for top spot both in roosting place and being first in line to service hens. Tana made her choice who this would be and it was left to me to finish the culling process. She had helped me bind this tough old bird’s legs. After I had completed my task with the young roosters, I grabbed the elder one and tried to dispatch him with the same quick motion that was successful with younger boys. With him it only delivered a bad cut on his neck and turned him into a furious adult male in short order. We now engaged in battle and I had to become more forceful to complete the job. A blow delivered with greater impact completed the job.
The energy surrounding this event did not feel appropriate for giving honor to birds who were submitting their lives to provide us food. I decided to withdraw from the meat business and stick to hens who could provide eggs. I still had a source for roosters. I only restored these to health and sent them out into the community. I felt I had no taste to conduct killing and butchering.