My Rooster, Reggie, is no longer with us. Nothing accidental happened, nor was he ill. It was simply a case of him being surplus to my needs. In short, I decided it was time he graduated from the paddock to the plate.
I know that I had originally planned that I would not do this, yet I had to get rid of him and this seemed like a good idea. Why did I have to get rid of him? Mostly due to his usefulness running its course. I bought him to breed with my hens, and he did a great job if that. He was a great Rooster for protecting his girls from hawks and any other threat. Yet, as I said he had produced many offspring… so many that I don’t need any more little ones. I was also getting tired of hearing him crow during all hours of the night. It never woke me up and no one in my house complained, yet I could hear him if I had to get up in the night. My neighbours were also not very receptive to his nightly crowing. One of my neighbours runs a Bed and Breakfast, and she told me that he keeps her and her guests awake all night. I don’t believe that as her place has excellent reviews. My other neighbour is more polite, yet I can tell he doesn’t like the crowing.
I have been trying to find a home for Reggie, yet no one is interested in a Rooster. It was down to a choice between giving him to the RSPA, keeping him (and all the issues which go with that), or eating him. I decided to eat him.
I know I said I wouldn’t eat him. My plan to treat all my breeding animals as pets was something I have long tried to do. I used to keep animals around well after their use has passed, as a way to thank them for their work. I have now decided that this was a little too sentimental and a waste of money. I am sure that our fore-parents didn’t keep a chicken around past it’s productive life to thank it… they would have eaten it. I decided to try this.
Now, Reggie was around 2 years old, so I was sure he would be tough to eat. I started to prepare him for a roast, yet I decided mid-pluck that I would have to slow cook him. After he was slaughtered and butchered, I placed him in the slow cooker for around 6 hours. I hoped that it would be sufficient time for him to tenderise. I was very wrong. When I checked around 7pm, the meat was as chewy as rubber, I had to make a different dinner for us that night and leave Reggie to cook overnight.
It turned out that he needed around 24 hours in the slow cooker before he was tender enough that I could turn him into pulled chicken for the casserole he was in. I now know that I really need to buy a pressure cooker, as the time to cook this type of meat would be greatly reduced.
Now… I feel I have found something interesting about myself by doing this. I have always said that you should never name an animal you intend to eat. I have previously felt pangs of guilt and at times almost like being sick when I have eaten animals I have named. I recall my old pig Han… when I ate him I tasted mud, yet everyone else said it tasted delicious. When I ate Reggie, I didn’t feel the same. I don’t know if this is down to being annoyed at Reggie or that I have become cold and removed in my old age. It might also be that I have thought long and hard about what I would do with Reggie… and when I exhasted all other options, it was time to eat him.
I do have two chickens that are almost three years old… at the stage that they will no longer be producing eggs (or sufficient eggs to warrent keeping them). I am curious if I will feel bad eating them, yet they don’t actually have names, so probably not. Despite this, I intend to keep them around a little longer… until I can buy a pressure cooker into which I will graduate them.