I had a request from a young couple in our Ward who wanted a lesson in plucking chickens. I don't really consider myself an expert on the topic, but I have plucked more than a few chickens, geese and ducks over the past few years. I was very happy to accommodate them. Not everyone shows an interest in my quirky hobbies. They came over on Saturday morning and brought their two young children (three years and one year old respectively). Three year old Lucas showed an active interest in the process while his younger brother, Eli, seemed more interested the various toys in our back yard. I think its a good thing for kids to know where their food comes from. Most of them seem to handle it much better than some adults I know.
I first demonstrated the easiest way I know to kill a chicken. I had learned years ago from my mother that it was easier to decapitate a chicken with a piece of pipe than it was to cut their heads off. You simply hold the chicken by its legs, place the chicken's head under the pipe, stand on the pipe, then give a sharp pull. I prefer to continue to hold on to the chicken until its wings stop flapping. I let go of one once and it ran off into the street. I find the pipe to be much quicker and more humane than cutting off their heads with a knife.
After I had killed three chickens, I suspended each one from a different limb of our plum tree and we sat down to a communal chicken plucking. I prefer to dry pluck them as I hate dealing with wet feathers. My mother came out in the middle of the process and asked why we hadn't scalded the birds to loosen their feathers. I'm sure that I am doing it the hard way. If I were doing a lot of birds at a time I would probably rent the processing equipment from the Snohomish Co-op and go ahead and scald them. Like I said, I hate dealing with wet feathers.
It was an enjoyable morning in spite of the unpleasant task. It is amazing how good company can make almost any job enjoyable. We were also very fortunate that it didn't rain. Throughout the plucking, Lucas had lots of interesting questions. He is a very outspoken three year old who like some of my grandchildren, only has one volume setting. He hasn't yet mastered the concept of speaking quietly. I was imagining what comments he might make the following day in Primary about plucking chickens at Brother Tunnell's house. As it turned out he didn't mention it at all during Primary. Rather on Saturday night at Red Robin Lucas chose to regale their waitress with a graphic description of butchering and plucking chickens. Those with small children have no secrets.