Monday, April 16, 2012

"Hatching" the Plan

I know, I know, it’s a really cheesy title but I just couldn’t resist.

Back in 2005 a friend’s mother brought home a DVD about how animals are raised for human consumption and pestered me until I agreed to watch it. I thought I had a pretty solid understanding of what goes on in your typical feedlot or laying hen operation but boy, was I ever wrong.

I didn’t eat meat again for five years.

Fast forward to 2012 and here I am planning to raise chickens for meat. Sounds kind of crazy but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Although I started eating meat again in the summer of 2010 (I only eat poultry, not red meat.), the lack of transparency surrounding the meat industry continued to bother me. In general, North Americans are very disconnected from their food sources and most of us have no idea what the life of a typical food animal is like. But I do know and, like Maya Angelou said, when you know better you do better. And what better way to guarantee that the bird on my table had a happy life and a merciful death than to do it myself?

So one night, after drinking a couple of beer while sitting around a campfire, a friend and I had a light bulb moment – let’s raise our own chickens! Like many other alcohol-fueled plans, there were a few holes in our brilliant idea but we decided to push on. We did a bunch of research and decided on a small-scale trial to see how things go. Our twenty newly hatched chicks will arrive on April 19 and through this blog I hope to share our experiences - from the practical side of raising your own birds to what if feels like to care for your future dinner to some of the sticky moral questions that surround our food choices. I hope you'll join us on our journey!

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