Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gone, Gone, Gonzo

31 Oct 2011: Gonzo 3 days before he was butchered on Thursday.

These are the final pictures of our rooster, Gonzo, taken 3 days before Ed killed and plucked him.  I think he was beautiful, despite his misshapen beak, with those tall green-black tail feathers and long neck feathers so fine they were almost like hair.

Gonzo with an acorn he'd scooped up with the bottom half of his beak.

I wanted to keep some of his feathers, but Ed said they weren't any good after he plunged Gonzo's body into boiling hot water to loosen the feathers up for plucking.  That made me sad.

Good-bye to Gonzo, our Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster.

After growing up on a farm and watching his grandfather butcher hundreds of chickens, Ed had thought it would be no big deal to butcher our own chickens when the time came.  That was not the case at all.  As an avid hunter, Ed has also killed many game birds in his lifetime, but somehow this was harder.  He was a bit traumatized by the experience and told me he never wants to have to kill any more of our chickens.  But he knows the time will come when he must.  

Ed estimates that Gonzo weighed about 4 lbs.

Thankfully, Ed took care of this while I was at work, as I'd asked him to do.  I told him I'd be okay if I came home and Gonzo was simply gone.  And it was fine, although it was a little shocking to look in the refrigerator and see Gonzo's carcass looking just like any whole chicken you can pick up at the grocery store.  Everything that made him the rooster we knew was gone.

5 Nov 2011: Roasted chicken stuffed with rice dressing.

So Ed prepared and roasted a chicken for us last night, and he was delicious.  Isn't it funny how we never refer to a chicken dinner as him or her?  I think I always kind of assumed that all chickens sold in the stores were hens, but I guess they can be either. 

Meanwhile, our egg count keeps rising.  We eat at least 3 eggs per day, sometimes as many as six, yet we now have more than two dozen eggs in the fridge.  Typically, we find about 4 eggs per day.  Ed thinks we may be able to sell our fresh eggs someday soon.  I didn't believe it was true, but the fresh eggs really do taste better than those sold in stores. Even the texture is different, less rubbery and more tender.

As you can see, the Easter Eggers are leading in egg production!  The brown eggs are a bit slower coming, but then we do have 6 Easter Egger hens and only 4 of the brown egg-layers (thanks to two of them turning out to be roosters!).  This has been quite the learning experience for our family!

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