I made the biggest mistake in raising meat birds

We made one of the biggest mistakes I can think of in raising meat birds. We named one of them. Her name is Purple Bird. I think you can probably pick her out of the flock.

[Missing picture here]

See, a few days ago, she got into a tiff with another chick. I don’t know what happened. I only know that when I went to feed the chicks in the morning, she looked like this.

[Missing picture here]

 

So I washed it, applied Neosporin and separated her, but she wouldn’t stop scratching at it. By evening, she looked like this.

[Missing picture here]

Out of desperation, I taped her legs together so she couldn’t scratch. That earned her a spot in the house where we could watch her, make sure she could get to her food and water OK, and, well, so we would not feel quite so bad for the little chick.  At the feed store, I purchased a bottle of antiseptic which conveniently dyes everything it touches purple, including hands, sinks, walls and birds.

And, as my husband pointed out, spent way more on the bird than it was worth. Actually, the Cornish crosses had been marked down and I could have bought nine for the price of the antiseptic. Not to mention that Super Saver just ran a special on rotisserie chicken that would have allowed me to buy two for what I just spent.

“But,” I sputtered. “Well,” I continued. “I know,” I concluded.

I felt bad taping her legs together, but every time I took off the tape, she scratched. So she sat immobilized next to her feed dish watching the children watch her for three days. When I felt too sorry for her, I went out to look at her former brood mates. All the Cornish crosses lay motionless next to the feed dish, watching the other chicks run about and play. It’s kind of what they do.

Then, it finally warmed up. I took her outside and was pleased to note that in the sun and grass, she was too busy scratching at the ground to scratch at her wound. She was starting to show signs of recovery with the swelling gone and nothing but a nasty looking scab. She followed me around, chirped at me and tried to follow me into the house when I went in for the tape and antiseptic when it was time to put her back in her pen.

That’s when I couldn’t help myself. Looking at that lost puppy dog look in a chicken’s eyes I couldn’t help but sympathize,

“Oh, Purple Bird.”

And suddenly she was named.

My husband may have to dispatch this one. I named her. She follows me around. She stops crying at the sound of my voice.

But I think it probably isn’t healthy to feel this attached to your dinner.

9 comments
  1. Laura

    Wow! We had to move our chickens further from the house because I couldn’t bear to think of them being butchered. When I don’t see them daily and notice that one is missing, I feel mutch better about the process. My daughter picks out a rooster that she “saves” every year though.

  2. Dana

    I can see that. This is our first year, so we’ll see how it goes. I hope we don’t end up with ten overweight chickens soaking up our feed bills!

  3. Sheri

    As always, an insight that I never would have thought of. And knowing me, they’d all have names and I’d end up with pets instead of food. I might just have to stay from meat birds and just have a couple of hens…I’m less likely to name eggs. 😉

  4. Dana

    And they’re so pretty. With our four hens, we can always tell who laid the egg we’re collecting and we thank them by name. That won’t be true when the others get old enough to start laying. There will be too many to note the subtle difference in shade, and we’ll have several of the same breed, anyway.

  5. Linda

    Dana: My sister raises a few animals each year for food. She usually names them, but her names pose no problem. For example, one year she raised three pigs. Their names were Bacon, Ham, and Sausage.

    Regards, Linda

    1. Dana

      I keep telling the kids that if we get pigs, I’m naming them Pork Chop and Bacon. My daughter thinks that is the worst of the worst. If we’re going to eat them, she reasons, we at least owe them decent names.

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