Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Devil in Drag Here at The Farm

When the devil pays you a visit, please follow this easy-to-remember rule: Run Away! When the devil sends his chickens when you’re trying to live sustainably, it’s a little more complicated. First there’s a “What the Heck?” then comes a “these chickens are unnatural” followed by an “okay it’s not their fault”. Then you start getting overwhelmed “did they just hiss at Guadalupe?” followed by “where did these chickens come from?” and finally “maybe we should just take them back”.

This past summer we practiced loving our neighbors after their dog killed three of our chickens. Devastated, The Mister of the House fled to the online classifieds to see if he could find replacements to his clucking mistresses. Bingo! A young family had chickens for sale from their small family farm, and they lived less than 10 miles away!

So off I go to pick up the ladies. Since I’m new at all this farm stuff, and I grew up in an immaculate home that detested pet hair, I left the wheelin’ and dealin’ between our farmer friend and The Mister of the House. While their barefooted children canoodled in chicken poop to gather my hens, Mr. Farmer and The Mister struck a deal over the phone.

Farmer Friend to phone: Tell you what, I just got 50 hens from a farmer and they’re all laying. They’re a little beat up, but I’ll guarantee them! I’ll sell them to ya for three bucks each!

Phone to Mrs. Olsen:
Hi honey (lie! The Mister of the House uses endearments like Loverbean or Pooper Scooper) write the check for nine dollars more and he’s throwing in a few extra chickens that are already laying.

Mrs. Olsen: Over and out Sugar Daddy (true endearment)! Just don’t make me hug a chicken.

Since it takes months and months of loving and feeding hens before they start delivering their protein wonders, clearly The Mister of the House was elated to finally be getting a return on his investment. His business sense just couldn’t pass up getting a producing hen for the same cost as a baby chick. What luck!

One hour later.

The Mister of the House: Sooooo, did you actually see the three-dollar-chickens?

Mrs. Olsen:
Well sortof. It was getting dark and their kids were barefoot in chicken poop! His wife said that they bought a bunch of chickens from a large farm, and that their warehouse was 90 degrees so they lost a bunch of feathers.

That’s when we stood together and beheld Satan as Poultry. Correction: That’s when we discovered what greasy industrial farmers turn God’s creatures into.

Please raise your hand if you wish that Mrs. Olsen had pulled out her crappy point-and-shoot camera at this moment (thank you, me too). Okay, now please enjoy the closest thing I found on the world wide interweb.

Why pray tell, do they clip off their nerve-infused beaks? Hello? I had no idea this happens!

Why are they so jam-packed that they lose their feathers? These orphans had been plucked by fellow cage-mates in the rear and their bare bums struggled to hold onto a few lonely feathers. More disturbing was the loss of fluff on their necks. They looked like transformer poultry with a fat snake connecting their body to their head! With each chicken strut that naturally pulsed their heads in and out, you just sat….transfixed….on this writhing wiry hairless pink snake squirming around. Eewww.

And then I remembered! From the distractions of dirty farm kids with bare feet, I recalled what the farmer’s wife had said about the industrial chickens not knowing how to come in from the yard. How they would just curl up outside the coop, without any feathers to keep them warm, and they would die.

Farmer’s Wife:
Finally I would wait till they were asleep and just start tossing them into the coop so I wouldn’t have to pick up dead chickens in the morning.

Mrs. Olsen:
Wow. Weird.

Mrs. Olsen’s Distracted Brain:
Why doesn’t she make them get their shoes on!

Mrs. Olsen’s Brain if she had her Game On!:
*HONK*Red Flag! Red Flag! Red Flag! You are in way over your head. Try keeping healthy chickens before going on a rescue mission.

Okay folks, we can handle ugly chickens okay? We are way above that. We love diversity in our flock. We were willing to let them feather out. We wanted to give them blue sky and let them be what God intended them to be. We wanted to love them into being plucky and clucky again. That is, we were pretty sure we were ready to do that, until we introduced them to the flock.

Samantha, Clarabelle, Guadalupe and Agnes were invited to warm up to their new friends in the chicken yard. We placed a hutch in the middle of the yard then placed the Transformers inside to start their meet-and-greet, hoping the old schoolers wouldn’t gang up on them.

Not only did the Transformers stand up for themselves, they became wild-eyed and made hissing sounds. Hissing sounds? Yes! It was the weirdest things. Our little chicken family was scared and clucking in the corners of the yard, while the Transformers evil-eyed them and made sounds that only chickens with snake-attachments should make.

That’s when we threw in the towel. Okay, at least they’re not going back to the big farm. We’ll go ahead and call in that customer guarantee! Take them back!

The Mister of the House and me, we try to be pretty level-headed about things. Evidently, we are also quite uneducated as well. We’re not the type of people to become vegan over this. We want to give chickens a good life and thank them for their gifts, but The Mister of the House is a former Bacon-Eating Champion for crying out loud! Wait, what does that have to do with anything? Okay, but we like all food groups and now we are trying to be really careful that the food we get (especially animal products) are produced respectfully and gratefully.

Shortly after our Transformer incident, we saw this video of footage from other industrial farming operations. I hope you will watch this and wonder, as I have, about what’s on your plate.

A. This is not funny, but is interesting.
B. Don’t watch this if you have little eyes around.
C. Not all agricultural businesses are this cruel.
D. Eating animal products doesn’t necessarily make you evil.
E. Please know the source of your food!
F. Never ever say: The Devil Made Me Do It!


Anonymous said...

I couldn't watch it, especially this early in the morning. Sorry, I'm a wimp. Maybe later on--

So, free range chickens are the way to go?


The Better Business Blog said...

I take exception to this exceptional post. It was funny, and those chickens really were hell-spawn, but I dont ever really get "devestated", and when/if I do, I dont ever flee.

But though poetic licence may have been taken with me, and my emotional/non-emotional state...every scary and evil thing written about those chickens are true!

paula said...

I am going to try and not swear...This video infuriated me! What type of bastards (oops) can do that to these animals? I don't each much meat to begin with but after watching this I can say I won't be eating it for a very long time. For several years now I have only bought eggs that come from cage-free farms.From now on I am also going to be more conscious and educated about where all of the other meat we eat comes from. I just cannot understand how anyone can treat a live creature this horrible.....Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Wade from Hawaii said:

Chickens here are a different variety. There are chicken everywhere that no one claims. They are wild. They roost in the trees in the jungle. During daylight hour the chickens are all about town, on the roads, in people's yards, and are not scared off by people or traffic. These are game hens and fighting roosters who escaped from their cages during a hurricane many years ago. They are smaller than ordinary chickens and can actually fly if in serious danger. They seldom fly. The irritating thing about them is the crowing of the roosters all day long. This subsides when they go to roost which is about dark. They begin a crowing contest at first light. First light means when the first car goes zooming down the hi-way at 4 am to get to Honolulu. They will start when you get up in the middle of the night to go to bathroom if you turn on any lights in the house. In our neighborhood there are about a half dozen roosters in the contest every night. Crazy Chickens.

Holly said...

I was warned about this video - but I was still not prepared. I feel sick. It is so wrong, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!

Lee Family said...

Since Porter and Audrey are surrounding me, I'll have to watch it later - if I can stomach it. After reading the comments, I'm not sure I want to stomach it. I've heard about the awful treatment of chickens. It's too bad the transformer chickens and your happy hens couldn't join as well as the Brady Bunch. I was really rooting for the transformers to become happy hens.

Mrs. Olsen said...

Wendy- Yes! Free Range all the way!

After thinking about this a bit, I was just thinking that if a person actually did this to one of their pets (dog or cat) they would probably be persecuted by some animal protection law. Animals as food are outside that law I suppose. I am not a big animal lover, I love nature. But am not the person to live and love with them, so for me to say this is...interesting (to me).

Paula, one thing that we did that may work for you. We purchased a free-range cow raised by a small farm. It grazed and had a life outside and was raised without hormones etc. We split the cost between about 4 different people and have a freezer full of beef. It cost less per pound then the store too.