On the weekend of Father's Day the Reluctant Farmer and I drove to upstate New York to attend the Meat Bird Workshop that took place at Cold Antler Farm. For those of you who don't know, Cold Antler Farm is owned by writer/farmer Jenna Woginrich. She has a fabulous blog (http://coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com) and you can follow all of her farm going-on's there. For those of you who do know of Jenna and her work this trip was amazing!
This workshop promised to teach us all about chicken care, from birth to butcher and where I knew about the care of chickens and had recently raised my own meat birds I was not sure if I could butcher my own chickens. That was the reason I wanted to attend this workshop. I know I have a butcher that does all of my butchering for me, but I feel like if you raise an animal for meat you should know how to dress one for the table also. Knowing how to butcher a chicken and prepare it for the table completed the cycle of chicken raising for me.
I was immediately intrigued when I got to Jenna's farm. There were rabbits, chickens and geese free ranging about her yard and the entire atmosphere was one of content happiness. This is a place that you can just feel the animals are well cared for and the type of place that invites you to sit down, relax and get closer to your food. I knew as soon as I arrived I would not feel guilty about witnessing the butchering of a chicken from this farm. There was grass under their feet and warm sunshine on their backs. This was how food should be raised!
|Gibson keeping a close eye on his rabbit friend.|
|Baby chicks with their Mama. Two of them were actually meat chickens that got out of the brooder and joined her clutch.|
|These are Freedom Ranger meat birds enjoying the sunshine and grass.|
|Trying my hand at archery. I wasn't very good, but I was able to hit the broadside of the barn!|
|Learning how prepare a chicken for dinner.|
|Brett taught us how to make a chicken tractor so we could supply our meat birds with fresh grass every few days.|
|When we were finished building the tractor, Jasper pulled it up the mountain to it's new resting spot.|
In the end this trip was worth every mile in the car and dollar I spent. I learned how to butcher and prepare a chicken for my table, however I can safely say I will continue to pay my butcher to do this for me. Who can beat $1.65 per bird?! I do rest easy though knowing that in the event of emergency, I can put fresh meat on the table for me and my family from birds that I have grown in my own backyard. Added bonus: I got to meet Bonita!