Last week, I wrote a blog post about raising chickens for meat, and I left out something that happened to us. Now at the time, it was not funny, but rather stressful and frustrating. Many people who raise meat birds butcher the chickens themselves. As I shared last week, I choose to pay someone to butcher for me, which means that we need to transport the chickens to their farm early in the morning. (Before 8 AM)
Anyone who runs a farm knows the value in having a pick-up truck. It seems there is a never-ending list of projects, most of which require a trip to a farm store or large home improvement store, where a pick-up truck helps tremendously in getting the items home. A truck also helps in getting live chickens to the butcher. Can you guess where this story is going? Well, earlier this year, we bought a vintage 1969 pick-up truck that my hubby is restoring, and our son-in-law bought our other pick-up truck from us. I reminded dear husband several times that I would need a truck to transport the chickens to the butcher. Despite his best efforts, the classic truck was not road worthy yet, so we decided to just borrow or son in-law's truck. However, fate was not in our favor as the brake line on SIL's truck broke just days prior to butcher day! Hubby tried for 3 days to work on the truck in his limited spare time to get it running. His last-ditch effort to fix the truck on the evening of my beloved chickens last night alive, did not produce a truck with brakes. Hubby arrived home and said we would just drive the classic truck.
"Are you serious?!?!", was my response. Yes, the truck runs and drives just fine, but the tires were so old, that the rubber was cracking! I told him, "No way are we driving my chickens to butcher in that truck!" So, now what do we do? Since it was nearly 9 PM, it was too late to rent a U-Haul truck, and we don't know of anyone who lives near to us that we could borrow a truck from. Delaying butchering is not even an option. Cornish cross meat birds grow very fast and very large, causing them to have a short lifespan. It is advisable to butcher before 10 weeks, because after that, their legs can break from their heavy weight, and they get so large, most die from a heart attack. My chickens were just over 9 weeks old, can't delay butchering. I mention to dear hubby that it is very hard to get an appointment to butcher, and mine was made before I even got the chicks, so re-scheduling is not an option. Lest we forget that my butcher is Amish, and they don't have a phone on them at all times like nearly everyone else in the USA. Their phone is in a shed in the front yard, where they check the caller ID every afternoon and return calls. Oh! what to do?
We finally realized the only option was my brand-new SUV! Did I mention that these meat birds eat a lot? You know... what goes in eventually comes out. These chickens poop a lot! I can't even think of a word that describes "a lot" in a different way to really paint a vivid picture of how much poop these chickens drop! It is really gross! I stress to hubby to remember how much mess they make and that we need to put a tarp on the floor and up the sides of the cargo space in my SUV.
Morning of butcher day we wake extra early so hubby can get the vehicle prepared. I started gathering the ginormous chickens and putting them into crates to transport and realize I have filled all the crates and still have chickens. We need another crate. Ummm, don't have any more crates! Hubby says I grew them even bigger than last year! We find something that will work, and finish loading chickens into the vehicle and start driving the 25 minutes to our final destination.
Have you ever driven out in the country and passed a farm that had cows or pigs? Do you remember what it smells like? OH! the smell of a farm in the country with the fresh ripe manure in the fields! Welp, that is what it smelled like in my vehicle! The smell of chicken manure smells exactly the same as a cow, horse, pig, sheep and every other farm animal! As much as I would prefer to not smell it inside my car, that is exactly what we smelled the entire 25 minutes of our drive to the butcher. Good thing I know an excellent auto detailer, as my hubby happens to own a detail company.
We now have new tires on our vintage pick-up truck and got to take her out for a spin last weekend. All of the chickens are tucked away in freezer camp, with the exception of the one that I made for dinner last night. All of the effort was so worth it, the chicken was amazing. Hubby and I had a good laugh as we reminisced about the crazy morning, that we took the chickens to butcher!