Of course I should have seen right through my plans. In retrospect it’s easy to look at my enthusiasm and see it as the the padded vest I had puffed up to protect me from the reality that I would actually be killing an animal. I love chickens (and do a pretty good impression of a laying hen if I say so myself) and had tried to wash out the fear out of my reaction with bubbling excitement. Excitement about walking the walk and proving to myself that I have the stomach for an essential skill we’ll use countless times on our own farm. Somehow the challenge of staring down blood and guts through a lens while debating composition seemed to be a way to prove this to myself... Although cocky and misguided in retrospect, the idea was enough to distract me from the gory reality of what would be taking place.
What actually happened in lieu of photo documentation was intense introspection. When I picked the chickens up by the legs, I placed my hand on their chest which calmed them down and stopped them from flapping their wings. I couldn’t stop myself from murmuring inane untruths to these birds as I carried them over to the cones. Things like “it’ll be ok little lady” came out of my mouth while a little voice in my head snipped, “Shit! You can’t say that!”. When it came time to cut my first throat I was nervous. I cooed what I thought were relaxing words as I tried to stroke the bird’s head with my thumb while slightly stretching out her neck. As I reached in to make my first cut, I silently thanked the chicken. She didn’t squawk or pull away when I brought the knife back to finish the job.