Saying goodbye to my Rooster Reggie

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.

Reggie in happier, living, days

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.

You can see the darkness of the meat, as I was starting to pull the meat apart.

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.


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