Do we eat our own?

This weeks question to the Farm Girl (that’s me!!) comes to us from Rebecca. She want to know: Do you eat your chickens? If so what do you tell your kids when they ask where is (fill in the blank)?

Well Rebecca, I’m glad you asked. We live in a residential zoned area and as such are allowed a limited number of chickens. That being said, we have been very picky on the breeds we get and only get a couple every other year so they don’t all stop laying at once in their older age. Because there are only a couple new babies at a time, the country kids name them and become attached. Oh, I’m not going to lie, I do to. So no, we do not eat our own…. laying hens….. but…..

We really wanted to raise a dozen or so meat birds. Since we are not zoned for that many and since the oldest country kid has Asperger’s and emotionally can’t deal with “knowing” his food, we or should I say my hubby had to get creative. Now don’t get me wrong, the oldest country kid totally gets that our meat birds would have a better life then a store bought bird and the meat would be better for us, but emotionally he can not step back, so up till this spring, we have not gotten meat birds.

Recently I saw a charge form a farm store on my online banking and thought “well gee, I haven’t been down that way recently.” Then it dawned on me….. my hubby had and his friend lives right near by. After a quick phone call to confirm, he did indeed purchase and stash meat birds at his friend’s house. Where there is a will, there is a way. Neither I, nor the country kids have laid eyes on them, so I guess we are good, as long as no one lets the meaty little secret slip. Once they are processed and in the freezer the kids will be non the wiser.

So how do we deal with telling the kids? We don’t!!! We are total cowards! I told my hubby I could not deal with the emotional fall out of the oldest country kid if we did bend the rules for a couple months and raise them here. I couldn’t do it to him. Lucky for me, my hubby is a creative and sneaky man. Wait… those aren’t good qualities!!! Hmmmm But this isn’t about our marriage, it is about chicken dinners.

So the answer is yes, we eat our own. The answer to what we tell the kids…. we adopted the military “don’t ask, don’t tell” saying *wink*

No laying hens were consumed in the making of the chicken on that plate.
Though if your interested, I do have a wonderful chicken pot pie recipe!

If you have a question for the Farm Girl (that’s me!!) on homesteading, life, love, what color underwear you should wear, heck anything, serious or silly, feel free to email it to [email protected] with the subject “advice.” I am an open book, and while you may or may not always like the answer you get, I hope you will at least walk away with a giggle or two.

41 thoughts on “Do we eat our own?

  1. We do eat our own. Not the laying hens, as of yet. Our oldest layers are just over 2, so the time may be coming soon. We live in the city limits and kind of sneak in the meat birds. They are ready pretty quickly, so no one has complained as of yet. We have also eaten the ones that turned out to be roos instead of laying hens. My oldest granddaughter (12) raises the meat birds for 4-H, but doesn't want to be involved in the processing. The younger one, age 5, is all about it. Likes to pluck and really likes learning about anatomy first hand. Also helps with the rabbits, which both girls raise. They recently hatched some quail, and I am sure the little will be involved, even if the bigger isn't. They both helped with the turkeys last year, and we just got new poults, so I don't know how that will work out this year! With the meat birds, the fact that they are not attractive and are quite nasty, helps with not feeling bad about it!

    1. The funny thing is, when hubby butchered our turkey (who was also hidden at the same friends house) the oldest country kid was very interested in the anatomy too. His heart is just so big be can't get past knowing em. If he doesn't know em… well then let's eat! LOL

  2. I would love (LOVE) to have a few chickens – but whenever I even mention it to my significant other, I get the big, resounding – NO WAY! Oh well, maybe I'll run him down eventually with my continual pestering. The one thing that concerns me about having chickens is what to do when one of them no longer lays eggs. I'm thinking if they were then kept simply as pets, the number of non-layers could get quite high, which is especially a problem when there is a limit on how many you can keep.

    1. We will never eat our layers, even when they don't lay, so we space out adding new girls. I am sure the day will come when we will have a bunch of old hens dust bathing and living the high life while we sneak an extra bird or two in *wink*

  3. We eat ours! We don't have any children to worry about (yet) but we have a strict "if you might eat it, don't name it" policy. So all our laying hens are just called "Miss Hen". Same for our sheep. We only name the ewe lambs that we intend to keep for breeding. All others are given a number and it's made clear from the start they aren't pets.That's life on the farm, and I think when kids grow up that way from the start, it's a lot easier.

    1. I totally believe I the don't name it policy!!! Sadly everything around here gets names LOL Though I grew up and had friends who would name their beef cattle and be like "hey mom, who are we having for dinner tonight?" Bwaa haa ha

  4. Kids are amazing. It is all in how you raise them. Our kids first experience was with a deer. My husband had it hanging to bleed out and the kids ages 3 and 5 HAD to see it. They inspected every part of that deer. I called my father and asked his advice on whether they should be checking it out. He said "Hey, let them go, they are farm kids" That night for dinner they both wanted seconds. Our daughter grew up to become a hunter and even was wrote up in a magazine. Then when they were about 7 and 9 they insisted on helping chicken slaughter day. They argued over who would kill the next one. Then turned around and helped clean them. We put up about 30 chickens that day. I believe it is all in how you raise them. Today our daughter lives on a farm and our son is looking for one.

    1. Ya know Judi, the oldest country kids loves looking at deer and heck even our turkey (that was hid at a friends house LOL) and being involved in the butchering. But he has a special place in his heart for chickens and if he saw them every day we would have issues…. so creativity is a must when dealing with a special needs kid.

  5. We eat our own chickens as well. Recently, my husband got a few meat birds that came from one of the chicken houses that a popular brand of meat seen in the grocery store gets their meat from. After seeing the condition of these birds (So fat they can barely walk, deformed and broken legs) I will most definitely not be buying chickens from the store anymore. We already ate our own birds before that, but I'm even more determined to only eat chickens we've raised in a healthy way from now on. We also raise rabbits, quail, cows, and pigs for meat too. It's nice knowing exactly where your food comes from and what its been fed.

    1. You raise bacon **drool** Sorry but I think pigs are so cute and yummy. It is very nice to know where your food comes from. What we can't raise ourselves we find farmers with land who can raise what we need. It helps to park your meat other places when your kid has such issues with loving his "food" to the point he doesn't want to eat it if you get my drift.

  6. I can understand his not wanting to know as in really know the food he's eating. I'd have a hard time eating something that was considered a pet. Every time I see a question like this come up it reminds me of the pig farmer in the movie Rigoletto, he sells pigs for a living and knows what happens to said pigs. But when a little boy (friend of his sons) mentions they ate Old Blu for Christmas dinner the farmer blubbers like a child. It's sweet and would so be me!

    1. That's why you just don't name em…… make sure they all look the same….. and try not to look em in the eyes LOL

  7. I wasn't sure if I could eat our chickens but THEN we had our first rooster go "rogue" and decide he was going to show me who was boss …. that ended in a 40 minute show down between the rooster and me armed with a pitch fork … which then turned into me stomping into the house telling my boyfriend that "nugget" needed to die … I was a little emotional at the time, I have to admit but the stupid rooster had hit me so hard he ripped a brand new pair of jeans from the knee down!!!!! I don't name the roosters unless well I call them "nugget" and the hens get named because they have their job … eggs and new chicks. I don't do the processing of the chickens that is "man's work" in my opinion (good excuse anyway) and I get them once they are ready to be wrapped in plastic. I have to admit though I don't miss buying chicken at the store and haven't for two years. We now have cattle so beef products will be home raised and then pigs will be added so by this time next year I will have all meat groups covered!

    1. It's all love till the damn rooster goes rogue!!! I have heard that a few times (more then a few actually.) It seems naughty rooster are the gateway killing that leads to yummy goodness. LOL

  8. Mindie, thank you for answering my question. I am on the sensitive side. I just would get attached no matter how hard I tried not to. I'm glad there's room in this world for more than one type of person!

    1. Out of sight out of mind! Do I like animals dying…. no, BUT I know it has to be…. just don't make me watch! Not all homesteaders have the heart for it (and that is why we either marry heartless men folk or hire a processor!)

  9. My 1 agresseive hen will be retired to craigslist. After that I won't think about her. I always keep my other girls in retirement. With a tiny flock I get attached. If I had more room, I'd do meat birds…

    1. It is hard when you get attached. People don't realize what personalities they have. I mean ours come when called just like a dog!

  10. LOL @ "Don't look 'em in the eyes!" Yea, I don't think I could either. BUT I respect completely anyone who lives completely off the land and who doesn't purchase their meat from a factory farm. I would love chicks to lay some eggs for me–nothing like farm fresh eggs in the morning (though I sometimes have to sneak them when my bf isn't around since he's vegan).


    1. A vegan!?!?!? LOL I wouldn't sneak em… I would eat them in his face and moan how good they are! LOL

  11. In the past family has butchered our own chicken for the meat it was an interesting learning experience

  12. I'm still on the fence about whether we will eat our chickens. Probably not. We are just too big of saps. Farming is going to turn us into vegetarians! LOL

    1. LOL Just don't look em in the eye, never name em and for god sakes don't hug em!!!

  13. Don't eat 'em. Not the chickens, not the goats, not the pig. I fully respect people who can humanely raise animals, kill them and eat them. Fully respect. But I lose my appetite at "kill". Can't do it, and won't ask anyone else to do it for me. But that's just me 🙂

  14. Love this post. If only people knew how inhumanly store meat animals are raised, they would definitely raise their own! I must say it was a genius move on your husbands part! lol Thanks for sharing! Cheers.

  15. A long time ago we lived in the country and I wanted chickens. Well we got 50 babies, turned out most were male. That meant they had to go and would be meat. I could not stay when the deed was done (by a friend) and we had our freezer stacked. I gagged every time I tried to eat it and ended up throwing all the meat away. I just could not do it. I felt bad about the waste but…………thats lessons learned and will not be repeated

  16. That's a tough call, and I totally understand your choice!
    We have a small flock of layers and a little over a dozen meat roosters. My husband is a hunter, so he does the dirty work, and I don't see the birds until he brings them in (looking like what you get in the store) so I can wrap and freeze them.
    We have a two-year-old, and from the very beginning we told him that we would eat the "baby chickies." I think since we started him young, he doesn't think anything of it. And we don't name our birds either. It's an advantage that our hens all look alike, so we can't tell them apart. As for the meat birds, we agreed not to name them for that very reason.
    It's tough for sure, but the more I read about big chicken operations, the happier I am with our decision. We know exactly what they're being fed and how they're being cared for.
    Found you at Thrifty Thursday. 🙂
    Kim @

    1. I agree, growing up with it from a small age does seem to make it "normal" for those kids. I was 11 when my parents butchered our first chickens and was traumatized, that is why I understand the impact it could have on our son…. so sneaky is they way to go for us LOL

  17. I grew up on a farm and we were told that the cute little pig, calf, or chicks would be for food. we named all our animals. my little sister named our pig susie and after she was in the freezer and every time mom cooked porkchops, ham, sausage, sister would always say " i can't believe your eating old susie and start crying, so mom took some to the people up the road and then told her that she gave away old susie and that we were
    eating old red and she was fine. Sis is now in her 50's and she still talks about old susie.

    1. I tried to explain to my hubby how long it can effect a kid! LOL Your poor sister.

  18. Hihi..I had the same problem as a child. My grandparents always ate their chicken, but I never ever tasted them. And now, as a grown up, I would love to have some chickens in my backyard, but I know that in the end I`ll just get attached, and my familly will still eat them. So, I refer buying them (although I know they`re not as healthy as the one you raise in your own backyard) 🙁

    1. Cristina I can relate, but since we (the kids and I) will never lay eyes on em… I am okay with it. It is just like buying it at the farmers market 🙂

  19. Somebody asked me the other day …. So, your chickens, are they for breakfast or breakfast and dinner??? I laughed so hard!!! But no, ours are breakfast only. I wish I had a neighbor with chickens so we can swap. We eat yours, you eat ours. I could maybe do that.

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