Killing The Chicken

Barbeque Chicken and corn

This post includes explicit descriptions of slaughter. Read gently or skip entirely.

Last week I mentioned the chicken I was caring for whose legs had stopped working.  For five days I hand fed her and gave her new bedding and talked to her and pet her.  But her legs didn’t start working again. So I decided to slaughter her and eat her.  It is one thing to talk about pulling weeds in the garden, and loving the weeds within. It is another thing to carry a chicken to the edge of the yard, a chicken you have been hand feeding for five days, and kill her.  But that is what I did.  I tried to ring her neck and it didn’t work. So I cut her head off with a very sharp knife.  I’m sorry if this is too much information for any of my readers—yet life is like this sometimes.  Sometimes you have to kill a chicken and if one method doesn’t work you have to try another.

Since I was a teenager I’ve claimed that I wanted to have this experience.  I’ve helped other people kill chickens, but never done the actual killing myself. Today when the time came to do this, I didn’t feel so enthusiastic, but I did feel willing.  Having this kind of connection to the food we eat is, well, is beautiful.  It seems the wrong adjective when I think about the moment of being splattered with blood, but it is beautiful because it is real.  It is the truth.  As I killed this chicken I felt my own death in her hands.

The chicken was delicious. I marinated it with herbs and spices and then barbequed it. I ate it with my cousin. It was one of the most memorable, delicious, sparkling meals of my life.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tonio August 24, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Bloody beautifully real, man. Or in your case, woman.

Like you, hither to I have helped and watched my neighbors kill some of their chickens and ducks. I even watched them skin a rabbit. Not something I have ever wanted to do to another living creature. But, it is clear to me that there is a beautiful relationship to be had with the reality of killing a warm soft critter to feed, nurish and bring joy and satisfaction to oneself in the continual cycle of life, growth and well… death, that goes on, that really goes on on many levels of this magical and mysterious process we live in today.

I am enjoying the simple of what you present to us. It all simply is, as it is. Even if it isn’t, or doesn’t, or wasn’t.

with great appreciation and love

Reply

Jasmine August 24, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Thanks Tonio,

It is strange business. And yet I eat meat and so feel I should be part of all of it if the opportunity presents itself. But I also understand if someone doesn’t want to take this on. This experience really rocked my sense of life and food and death and joy.

I’m glad you can connect with this.

Reply

Carla August 25, 2010 at 7:20 am

Jasmine,
Beautiful, vivid & painful. I grew up watching the executions of these feathered creatures. I’ve always personified… just about anything with a face and therefor don’t eat anything but an occasional brother swimmer. However ice fishing with family in winter makes my monthly ingestion of fish challenging. Thank you for sharing Jasmine – this sacred cycle of life -and you added the most important ingredient: Gratitude!

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Jasmine August 25, 2010 at 10:04 am

Carla,
Thanks for your note. I’m fascinated (for myself) how killing animals for food both connects me more fully to the life cycle, opens my experience to how dynamic and real food is as a part of us, leaves me wanting more and more only to eat food where I know the face of the farmer who grew it, or know the face of the animal I’m eating and at the same time how much more vulnerable the meal experience becomes. I offer more gratitude, everything tastes more delicious, and a whole constellation of love and loss and mystery enters my blood stream along with the nutrients of the food. This isn’t for the faint of heart! But I do sense it is a way to open and explore our hearts. So it is today, tomorrow I might become a vegetarian.

Reply

Ramey March 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Yes! I just killed chickens for the first time, and it was enlightening to be so connected to the food I eat. We have become so removed from the cycles of food and death… and it IS beautiful, because it IS real.

Reply

Jasmine March 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Ramey, I love knowing someone is out there connecting in this way with food, with the beauty in its REALNESS. Food and Death and Birth–all beautiful! Thanks for your comment.

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