A Questionable Decision

I, like every other mother out there, on occasion, make questionable parenting decisions.

This year, for the first time in many years, we raised broiler chickens. Big, fat, white chickens that eat a ridiculous amount and are ready to put in the freezer in just nine weeks. This last weekend, the nine weeks were up.Jane with chick

“You guys are butchering 45 chickens on Sunday?!? What are you doing with the kids?”

The answer, the many times I was asked, was always nothing. They’d be home, able to be in the middle of the action or in the house, which ever they wanted.

It wasn’t the answer most people were expecting.broiler chickens

Now, to be fair, I’m sure half of the people who asked that question know the difficulties involved in trying to get any task done with three kids on hand, and it’s true, many times when we do big projects we find friends for them to play with or grandma’s to visit.

The other half have probably never been a part of butchering chickens or if they have didn’t have kids hanging around at the same time.broiler chicken

But we have always felt that this is a thing the girls should be involved in so we kept them home and they were still sleeping when we got up to start the process.

All three trickled outside still in pajamas to check out what was happening.  And while they left from time to time they spent most of the morning with us.

Jane, the girl who was very concerned that we were going to eat those cute little chicks the day we brought them home, helped John with the beheading by saying a nice goodbye to a few. She was more at ease with it than many adults I know would have been.John and Jane chicken butchering

Clara got a lesson on how to gut a chicken from her grandma and did the last bird all by herself. She’s six. She’s pretty much amazing.Grandma Mary and Clara chicken butchering

And while Ivy wasn’t as interested in being hands-on, she listened with rapt attention to the anatomy lesson grandma and Great Gramps gave her and now can identify all the internal organs of a chicken, and knows what they all do. I’m sure she does because they quizzed her and I heard her pass with flying colors.Grandma Mary and Ivy chicken butchering

Jane is excited for her Dad to grill her a chicken to eat. Clara is, rightfully, proud of her gutting experience. And Ivy, when asked, cheerfully told me all about how the gizzard is her favorite organ because you can cut it open, it looks pretty and it’s neat.Grandma Mary and Clara chicken butchering

I, like all the other parents out there, make plenty of questionable parenting decisions. But I’m confident that this wasn’t one of them.

20 comments on “A Questionable Decision

  1. Green Embers says:

    I wondered where this was going because it didn’t seem questionable to me but then you ended on that note. Seems like a good learning opportunity and it sounds like they handled it with more maturity than I would. On a side note, this reminded me of my time Brazil and how I learned to love chicken heart. Yummy stuff (churrascarias are fantastic places 🙂 )

    • Jessie says:

      And here I gave away all my chicken hearts this year… It’s a great learning opportunity and, having gone through the same one myself, I can say that if they keep paying attention once anatomy starts showing up in school it’ll be a breeze! 🙂

  2. dianeschuller.com says:

    Bravo, if only more children these days had those kinds of experiences.

    • Jessie says:

      Hmmm… Maybe we should start inviting our kids friends over to help, more help, more learning… I wonder if their parents would be up for it? 😉

  3. N. says:

    You’ve got some amazing girls there 🙂 Sounds like this was a good experience for them all! They handled it way better than I would have at their age I’m sure 😂

  4. Dan says:

    While butchering chickens isn’t something I’d ever want to do, realistically it’s no different than the 72 mackerel fish I gutted in Ireland as a child. I’m against cruelty to animals and what I love about your updates is you obviously look after yours for the time they’re with you. I think this was a very practical, down to earth experience for your girls to have. You’re a good parent👍

    • Jessie says:

      I’m against cruelty to animals as well. But, kind of obviously, I feel that you can raise animals in the best way possible and eat them too! Yes, they still got killed at the end of the day, but I bet the chicken at the grocery store doesn’t have a nice little girl talking to them nicely trying to keep them calm right up to the end. And thank you!

  5. Holly says:

    Circle of life, and it has to be done…so, I say good call 🙂

  6. jenanita01 says:

    The first time a child encounters death is usually very traumatic. Most parents shy away from the subject, hoping they will never have to worry about it. But they can cope with the sudden death of a beloved hamster so much better if they are prepared for it and understand.
    Well done you…

    • Jessie says:

      Well I’ve found with my girls that we haven’t had the traumatic experience with death. It’s still, of course, terribly sad when a pet or someone dies, but death is a thing they know, and there is no confusion on what has happened.No one wants to explain the details of death when a family member has died and you are in the midst of your own grief. And I think that confusion can make it extra hard on kids. So, I think we serve them well… in this instance anyway. 😉

  7. Georgia Rose says:

    A good job well done, Jessie, your girls are going to turn out to be magnificent women – who could want more 🙂

  8. Imelda says:

    Kudos to your 6 year old for being up to the task of cleaning a chicken. I only got as far as plucking the feathers (which were quite smelly by the way). 🙂

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