Thank you, Rooster.



Day 18 and if I ever pretend I got to Day 19 on my own ingenuity, feel free to snort. Our friends Mark and Amy are responsible for us not chucking it in today. Friends that grow stuff. Who sent us home with enormous, crisp, juicy watermelons and delicious pumpkins. A bag of fresh salad makings and tamarillos and strawberry guavas. 

And roosters! The deal was if we helped process four excess roosters, we could keep two. I've always wanted to learn – because our meat chickens are sold commercially, I have to take them up to a local abattoir. I'd never killed a chicken before, or even plucked one. 

It was a good day to learn! 




Mark has done this a few times before but still we referred to the master of chicken evisceration, Joel Salatin (specifically, Pastured Poultry Profits.) What we must have looked like, Mark at the killing cone, Adam on the knives, me calling out the step by steps according to Joel. It felt like the first one took an hour and then next three about five minutes each. 

I love learning new things. Even if it's how to detatch a bird's windpipe (my least favourite bit.) It was done respectfully and quickly and was mechanically pretty efficient, once we got going. 

We used a heated urn as a dunker, and the plucking was pretty quick. 

Thank you, rooster, for feeding us (tomorrow.)

Another reason to celebrate today was I made my first batch of sourdough with my new starter. 

If you've been around here for a while you'll know I got into sourdough last year. Except I killed my starter a couple of times, and then finally gave up and tossed it out. 

When I started this challenge without much yeast left in the jar, I immediately put together a new starter and got it going. Goes like this: 1 big tablespoon of flour and mix with filtered water to a sloppy paste. Next day, toss out half and "feed" again, flour + water. Keep paste consistency. Do this for about 5 or 6 days, tossing out and building up until it's actively bubbling and smells yeasty and frankly looks like a living thing. I'll photograph mine tomorrow to give you the idea. 

I then followed Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's sourdough recipe and kabam! What a loaf!

Chewy, crusty, flavoursome. 

And almost only flour and water. THAT is magic.




My next big question is: how do I make chicken soup without any onions or carrots?! Hmmm.

Ever killed your own food?

There is something weirdly deeply wholesome about it. (With apologies to vegetarian friends.)



26 Comments on “Thank you, Rooster.

April 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Very impressive. My grandmother never ate chicken and when I asked her why, it was because she was the person who had to go catch the chicken, kill the chicken and clean the chicken. I asked her if she felt bad about it and she said “No. They’re just filthy creatures.” It all depends on how you look at it I guess.

Melanie @ M&M
April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I can’t say I enjoyed reading about the rooster killing, but that’s more about me than you. However your bread looks amazing! I’ve been wanting to try my own starter, so thanks for the recipe and advice.

April 13, 2012 at 1:32 am

I just stumbled on your blog from soulemama and I am so inspired by your challenge! How resourceful you are! I am excited to learn more from you.

I think it is important to know where your food comes from, and to be involved in the process makes it so much more meaningful. I totally get how it can be “weirdly deeply wholesome”. I am sure there are plenty of meat eaters out there that would think doing what you did is crazy but they would not think twice about where that chicken in the grocery store came from. I’m not a pure vegetarian, I eat meat on occasion, and find it so strange when meat ‘has’ to be part of every meal. My father has a hard time when he visits us and tofu, beans, and TVP is on the menu most of the time. 🙂

Best of luck on your challenge!

April 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

I am a vegetarian but have no problem with people raising and killing their own food. Gotta love Hugh for that. Personally I don’t feel the need to eat meat but if you want to that get ethically raised/treated meat, just as you have done. You’re do a great job with your challenge.

April 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

I am a mostly vego. I eat some fish but think this kind of approach to meat is good. We now get the butcher in to butcher our sheep/cows here for our families use. He is just divine and is amazing with the animals. If it wasn’t for the fact I hadn’t eaten meat for 20+ years I would probably eat this meat as I have seen the animals have a good life and respectful death.(OK I do go inside for the actual death part but my husband assists)

We are very clear before anything come onto our place whether it is pet or food. With the exception of the goats that were pets but drove me so insane I changed their status!

I am enjoying your challenge.

April 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

We used to take our roosters down the road to our friends – 90 year old farmers who had a big cauldron and were all set up. Old Jack and hubby would do the killing and cleaning and I would cook everything up, returning packets of soup and stews in return. It was the most wonderful experience hanging out with these special older people. They both died within a day of each other and I miss them and their wisdom heaps. No rooster here these days after the returning wicked fox episodes. Enjoy!

April 13, 2012 at 9:09 am

Yay for a tasty rooster meal! And for that bread. Looks amazing.

Darren (Green Change)
April 13, 2012 at 9:19 am

That’s a great deal! I’ve got to meet those friends of yours some day soon.

I’ve got a whole weekend of work on the property ahead of me. There are some ducks and roosters out there enjoying their last couple of meals right now.

I’ve found this guide one of the best for butchering chickens:

Catch up with you soon!

Linda Woodrow
April 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

There is something not wierd at all about eating meat from free range, organically raised animals that have lived and been killed without cruelty! It’s being a good, respectful predator. Poule au Pot is my favourite recipe for a nice free range rooster, but without carrots or onions, you could go for a risotto?

April 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

Amazing challenge!!

April 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

Re: TypePad: [inner pickle] Melissa submitted a comment on Thank you, Rooster.

Thats really curious! I dont think theyre filthy at all… Perspective is so personal isnt it! xx

April 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yep, I thought hard about it before I mentioned it thanks for sticking with me. xx

April 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Ah Jen, you just made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!! re: changing the status of the goats. Thank you for that, thats priceless.

April 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Goodness gracious I just got goosebumps within a day of each other? Thats a special pair. Yes, your wicked fox. Naughty, naughty fox. xx

April 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Back atya, fella. See you soon. xx

April 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hello amazing Linda! Id already found Poule au Pot on your site and bookmarked it (funny!!) Am currently in midst of trading chook poo for carrots and onions, a serendipitous trade I reckon xx

April 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Loving your challenge! If only it was possible while stuck in the middle of a city!

I grew up catching and turning farm chickens into yummy dinners, a very special memory of times long ago. The free reange chickens roosted in trees in the vege garden, then we would go out at night with torches and catch them, put them in a pen ready for processing the next day.

If you haven’t already, you’ll have to have a go at beef, the satisfaction and taste of homemade real sausages is AMAZING! More wonderful memories of a life in the outback that i hope our children will get to experience one day.

Might have to give your sourdough a try, looks soooo good.

April 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I’ve been loving your updates on this challenge. I’ve been vegan for a few years now, and to the people who insist that they can’t live without meat, this is exactly what I encourage them to do. If you can give an animal a happy life and a humane death, and if all of the flesh goes to good use, I totally commend you 🙂

April 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

We’re 6 months vegan over here! That’s after a year and a half of being vego, so we’ve been in veg-only land for a while now. 🙂 It’s funny—even though I know that when I come here I’ll sometimes be reading about the end of pigs and roosters and such, I still come here ALL the time. Every day. I am so fascinated by all your adventures, even the tricky (for me) death bits. Your words in posts like these are simultaneously hard and beautiful for me to read… but I’m always interested, and always glad to have stopped by. Thanks, Fi, for your honesty and for sharing so much.

And that bread looks divine! (Wish a gluten-free sourdough existed—I can always dream). We get to see your neighbour Greg the Mighty Sourdough Maker fairly often, and it’s always like watching an artist at work. Lovely.

Nick UK
April 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

We eat our own lamb and beef, its harder when its a lamb that we have bottle fed but to be honest, those are the really annoying ones as they think they can still sit on your knee!
I had my first experience of killing poultry a month ago when we dispatched a couple of surplus roosters, but I “chickened” out and just cut off the joints and breasts after plucking, more research needed next time, and preferably someone to show me!
The meat was lovely though small child was a bit po faced about the whole thing.

I will definitely have a go with the sourdough.

April 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Thats generous and Im grateful. Thanks Tegan.

Christine @ slowlivingessentials
April 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Nope, never have killed my own food.. although just today I was eyeing off our chooks in a whole new light, pondering the possibilities over keeping meat birds in our fruit tree run. I take my hat off to you, both for the rooster(s) and the Challenge. Oh, and the bread!! It looks divine, your scoring is beautiful.

(I popped over here a couple of nights ago and got so absorbed in reading about your challenge, I was well past my bedtime and I neglected to leave a comment! I think you’re doing a really great thing..keep at it!!).

Alex Nolan
April 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

My dad kills our chickens/cockerels for our use, and I pluck and draw them. The process doesn’t really bother me to be honest, and whenever I do it, I always involve one or more of the kids and we have a little ‘post mortem’ so they can see what is actually inside what we are going to eat. They are really quite blaze about it and that’s exactly what I like – that they know where it’s come from and that it doesn’t come from a polystyrene tray from the supermarket (well, at least not all the time!). Glad you are enjoying your adventure. xx

April 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

This is the first time I’ve been to your blog, and I’m really intrigued by this challenge! Yout dedication is really impressive. 🙂

I can sort of picture a strawberry guava, since we have pineapple guava trees here in California, but what on earth is a tamarillo? Off to Google…

I’ve been around plenty of people butchering food–my dad fished, my in-laws all hunt for venison and cart home freezers full of lake salmon, and my vegetarian spouse knows how to butcher a deer–but I’ve never actually killed and butchered an animal myself. In theory, I know how to kill, gut, and descale a fish. I should probably ask my brother-in-law if I can help if I’m around when he next goes fishing.

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April 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I read your post. You share such great rooster food with us. Cooking is one of my hobby. I like this interesting post so much.

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April 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Thank you for this amazing blogs. It is really very nice blog because I love natural. And In this post I love your all natural images.


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