I Am Angry Today

Y’all know me…I believe in eating whole foods.
We raise our own meat animals.
We buy as ethically as we possibly can, as much as we can afford.
And we cook.
I believe in slow food.
Nose to tail cooking and eating.
Bone broth for daaaaays.
Long cooked soups and stews, homemade as much as possible.
Pressure canned jars of homegrown, or well grown, foods are our convenience foods.

My province, Manitoba, has the highest child poverty rates of all the provinces in Canada.
The Territories beat us out, and that has a lot to do with getting food into remote places, and people moving away from traditional foods and living off the land.
It is a huge point of shame in this country, in my province, that there are children starving.
Not just missing a meal here and there, but outright starving.
And our province is “reforming” the education system…
Listen, kids **CAN’T** concentrate on learning when they haven’t eaten.
Got that??
Hungry kids don’t learn.

Anyways, food security is a drum I have been banging for years…

Today, one of the local rescues made a post about chickens from a commercial chicken barn.
Here’s the link…

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodplacemb/posts/938191546917607

Go read it.
Then come back and read my thoughts.
If you dare.

Listen, I get farmers are running a business.
But folks, let’s be 100% honest here…
If we’re going to use animals, it is our responsibility to use them humanely, and to not waste them.
Animal proteins are nutrient dense, they’re good for us, and they are a part of a healthy diet for many.
But cruelty?
Waste?
Throwing perfectly edible birds in the fucking dump?
Not so fucking much.

This practice, this cull, is 100% about money.
The hens are culled as rate of lay drops, and new hens are brought in.
All out, then all in.
So if a barn has a thousand birds, a thousand birds go out before the next thousand come in.
But what happens to the old thousand is the problem.
Some barns sell to small farmers like me.
But this? What’s outlined in the link?
Happens more often than not.
That. Is. Bullshit.

So here we have thousands of birds killed and thrown in the garbage.
Why aren’t they being processed?
Why aren’t they being distributed to those who need food?
Remember, highest child poverty rate in the provinces.
As of Janurary 2020, 27.9% of Manitoba children are living in poverty.
Guess what?
Those kids aren’t getting enough food.
Y’know what could solve that problem??
FOOD.

*sigh*

But it’s the money, right?
It costs money to process those birds into an edible product for humans.
It’s more “cost efficient” to throw the birds in the fucking garbage than to feed people with them.
And if that doesn’t make people angry, then there’s a big goddamn fucking problem.

Farmers have to buy into quota for eggs.
So, make one of the conditions that in order to buy egg quota, they have to have a processing plan or facility in place for the all out time of year.
Farmers have to have a plan in place for manure management.
They’re supposed to have a plan in place for deadstock.
Why the fuck isn’t there a plan in place for whole barn turnover???
And why the fuck are we the people not holding them responsible for having one?

There is no excuse for this.
There is no excuse for hungry children.
See?
These 2 can be beneficial to each other.
Do not tell me that the best way to dispose of these birds is to leave them rotting in a landfill…
While people go to bed hungry.
While people in Canada starve.
While children starve.

That’s bullshit.
That’s lazy.
That’s crap.

Manitoba Egg Producers need to simply fucking do better.

And people, stop buying cheaply produced food products.
I know it’s hard.
Because there’s all too often not enough money left at the end of the month to eat well.
But seriously people, that’s where slow cooking, nose to tail eating comes in.
With crock pots, instapots in darn near every home these days, fast foods, processed foods, easy from the freezer foods should be a thing of the past.
It’s not hard to cook food.
Really.
I promise…it’s not!
And, if you have older hens like these one in the link, they make such a rich flavorful, healthy soup!
We have to get away from the idea that food is so easy to waste.
Honest to Dog, you want to do something to help climate change?
Stop. Wasting. Food.

But…that’s a whole different issue that demands it’s own blog post on another day.

Chonkey and Chubby

April 28th, 2020 we picked up 50 meat chickens from the local feed store.
Like other years, the plan was to grow them out, slow and steady, to butcher weight.
We do that by letting our meaties run with our layers.
Why?
Because the meaties learn how to be chickens, not just eating and pooping machines.
It also means we have very few losses due to heart attacks or leg issues.

This past summer though, we lost the bulk of our meaties to Wile E Coyote, who was convinced he needed to kill as many as he could, but eat only a few.
We never did catch him.
So ol’ Wile E may yet return…

But Chonkey and Chubby were 2 of our survivors.
And when you’re a meat chicken who survives a coyote ripping through your home, and then go on to grow big and strong, The Food Lady begins to wonder if you oughta stay on…

And then, the craziest thing happened!
Chonkey:

Laid. An. Egg.

How do I know it was her?
Well, chickens have this very distinct “song” they sing when they lay an egg.
I had just collected eggs 10 minutes earlier and then got distracted with the garden, only to hear the egg maker song again.
So I walked into the coop to find Ms Chonks in the basket, in the position…
I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes.
There stood this giant CornishX meat chicken, screaming out the egg maker song (think Norwegian Death Metal sung by a chicken) and ploop! Out comes this smallish cream coloured egg.

Well!

So when butchering was happening later on that week, clearly Ms Chonks was *not* gonna go to Freezer Camp.

Then, we had this other CornishX…she was smaller, always getting picked on, and kinda sweet.
She was *always* at my feet when we were butchering, and I made sure to give her choice bits every chance I got.
She ended up in a crate for some healing time after the brown layers (known as Mrs. Cluckingtons) decided they should pick a giant hole in her butt.
Seriously, the Cluckingtons are first rate assholes.
There’s a good reason why I culled aaaaallllll of them out of my flock.
Fuck the Cluckingtons.
Mean bitches.

Anyways, this young Cornish hen stayed in that crate for nearly a month, on high protein feed, being babied and pampered…until her hind end was 100% healed and feathered in.
Then we let her free, so she could readjust to flock life and free range again.

She just recently was given the name Chubby…because she’s a big girl, and because she too is staying on, having begun to lay.
She still gets fed special treats when we’re butchering.
She hangs around my feet until I give them to her.

As we get closer to the time we fire up the incubators, I’ll take the Mdms and put them into a pen with a rooster.
One of those big Orpington/Wyandotte cross boys.
With a couple other hens.
5 hens to 1 roo is pretty good.
Then, all those eggs these girls lay will get hatched.
Just to see what we get.
Stay with us into 2021 to find out!

🙂