1. I just posted a comment in response to your comment on my blog saying that you needed to post some more photos over here — glad to see you beat me to it! 🙂

    When I was a kid, my parents decided to raise beef calves one year. They made the mistake of letting each of us kids name one, so it was quite a shock when the calves went off to the slaughterhouse. For years after that, I was the next thing to a vegetarian — I ate a little meat when politeness demanded it, but that’s all.

    I wonder whether I wouldn’t have had a very different relationship with meat if they hadn’t let us name the cows, and if we’d been involved in the slaughtering. When Mark and I killed our first chickens, it was a very powerful experience, and I’ve read about people who let kids as young as yours be involved with good results.

    • @Avian Aqua Miser: Yes, they say you should never name animals that you’re going to eat! We get around this by giving them food-related names. We had a rooster named Stew (who actually ended up roasted). The kids didn’t miss him when he went, since it was clear from his name what he was going to be for.

      These chicks are named Roast, Burrito, Casserole and Cacciatore. Of course we can’t yet tell them apart, so the names are just placeholders at this stage. It’s good involving the kids in the naming of the chickens, as it gets them thinking about all the different ways you can use chicken and exploring the world of food more.

      Another tactic that works well with kids is to start a new clutch of chicks three weeks before you plan to slaughter the current batch. Then the cute new chicks just hatching out will distract them from the loss of the previous batch, who, let’s face it, aren’t so cute anymore.

      It’s also good to start with animals like chickens or rabbits, that breed rapidly in large numbers and are slaughtered after only a few months. Starting with something like a calf would mean that you’ve got that one animal for quite a long time, meaning the kids will have bonded a lot more closely with it before it reaches slaughter age. That’d be more traumatic, especially if they haven’t gone through the animal-into-meat process before.

  2. It’s always good to be honest with kids, and that applies to everything really not just food.

    I so wish I had the nerve to eat my own chickens, I have very stern talks with myself about it but just can’t get to grips with the idea. I never eat meat by choice anyway, only because the family expects it.

  3. @Greenfumb: I agree about the honesty thing with kids. They’ll catch you out every time if you’re not straight up with them! Killing and processing chickens seems like a really big deal until the first time you get the opportunity to be involved, and from then on it’s not that hard. It’s just getting over that first hurdle that’s difficult.

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