Death

A country friend of mine told me that if we're going to live out in the country then we need to get used to death. Chickens die. Ducks die. Goats die. Cows die. Et cetera.

We've only lost one animal to predation, our big boy duck. I miss that duck, mainly because he was huge and I was looking forward to eating him one day. (We ended up getting a replacement boy duck and he's doing just fine.)

Of course, last week I killed our six meat birds -- and we just ate one for dinner tonight! Now that we're hooked on eating chickens that we raise, I think we'll end up always having birds around here that are on death row.

In case anyone's wondering, the kids were fine with the meat birds being butchered. While they didn't take part in the butchering process, they all say they eventually want to help. Actually, they'll have to start helping one day because harvesting meat has got to be a family endeavor, otherwise it's way too much work for one person. I think when we get set up to butcher birds here in April, I'll give the kids the job of plucking feathers.

A lot of times when we talk to people about raising animals to kill, people wonder how the kids handle it. I think being so far removed from farm life, it's a natural question, and, of course, our kids haven't been fully exposed to farm death yet. Once in a while, though, someone will come along who really seems to think that kids being around death is somehow bad for them, but, as James T. Kirk said in The Wrath of Khan, "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life." If properly prepped, I think just about any normal kid can handle a normal amount of farm-related death. And as far as it being bad for kids, I tend to doubt that.

TV? Yes, it's mostly bad. Farm death? Nah.

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