|8 week old Cornish Game Hen|
Having chickens has been such an enlightening adventure for me, my hubby, and my kids. We have enjoyed their little personalities so far. They are funny, shy, skittish (now I know where the terms of being a chicken came from), and will eat anything (even plastic or styrofoam - like people, not that it's good for them, but it's there).
The greatest lesson for us was learning that Cornish Game Hens are not full grown adult chickens. The typical slaughter time is at 6 weeks. So, those little bodies you see at the store...those are babies. That's why they are small.
At 8 weeks, they are nearly the size of a full grown chicken. Yet, they are only 8 weeks old. At 8 weeks our chickens are only just beginning to experience the out doors, are just learning that they love strawberries, and can barely hold themselves up on two legs. They are all free range and are fed at night just before time to recoop them. They have the wide open grassy lawn, the garden, and another wild acre to venture. Most of the chickens are exploring, but the cornish game hen are tired easily, so only venture into the zucchini patch where they curl up and take a nap. It's quite sad, actually.
This is why we could justify the second butcher so soon. Watching them try to do some of the things the other chicks were doing, only to fear they'd break a leg. They would lay down to eat, lay down to drink. Not by laziness, but by having a body too large for their (actually quite large) legs.
So, now, we have chicken in the freezer. What's interesting is there is very little fat, so it's not like these were fat chickens. I understand that they are bred (hhhmmmm genetic modification by a gentler name?) to grow quicker and that this is not natural.
Okay, so there you have it. I'm not sure we'll get more Cornish game hens. Really, it just seems off and unfair for any living thing to only experience 8 weeks of life. That's the main point in this whole process. If we are going to eat meat, to fully understand and reconnect with it seems like the right thing to do. I did cry this day, and felt sad. We did not prepare the meat right away - it's in the freezer. Ultimately, we'll see if this gets easier.
The rest of the chickens are growing and look more like chickens and less like chicks. They are so beautiful, friendly, curious, and fun. I'm hoping to see eggs in October, but I think actually it will be November and that through the winter the eggs will be slower. Either way, I'm glad we wont be butchering any more for at least a few months. *whew*.
When I get the guts up to cook one, I'll share the recipe.
In Vibrant Health and Happiness,
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