Despite my dire predictions and wild guesses only one of this Spring's chickens--Patty the Buckeye--ended up male. While his tail began to give him away sometime in mid-July, earlier this month it became official--Patty started crowing.
I vowed that this year there would be no trip to a farm out in the country. Whether we ended up with one roo or seven, they were going to be dinner.
While I don't expect it to make sense to anyone else, I feel like it's important that we use the birds we raise. First of all, although it's not expensive, it's not free to keep chickens. Just getting rid of a bird after spending several months feeding and raising it feels--to use chicken parlance--unthrifty.
And then there's the whole conundrum of eating meat in the first place. I don't necessarily believe you should have to personally kill every animal you eat, but it seems like--somewhere in there, at least for me--we have to acknowledge that boneless, skinless chicken breasts don't just magically appear at the grocery store. It feels hypocritical to re-home one chicken, just because I happen to know him, while simultaneously marinating chicken thighs in the fridge to eat with cauliflower for dinner tomorrow night. (True story.)
To that end, I purposely kept a bit of distance from this year's flock of babies. Once it became apparent that Patty was a "he", the date was set for the following Saturday. We made plans to kill him humanely, and have friends over to enjoy some coq au vin.
But then, just in passing conversation, I mentioned our plans to Nice Farmer-Lawyer Guy.
"How determined are you to eat him?" he asked, "Because I could actually use a rooster right now."
My further mental wiffle-waffle probably makes for boring reading...he's such a pretty guy...and Buckeyes are an endangered breed...but we really can't just keep doing this every year...we need to just bite the bullet...but there's really not going to be much meat on him anyway, he'd be more useful as a breeder.... The bottom line is, Patty is alive and well--being admired by the young human ladies and getting hen-pecked by the young chicken ladies--at Nice Farmer-Lawyer Guy's farm.
And, once again, we're left chuckling about our rooster who--through such unlikely luck that you have to wonder--has escaped his death sentence. Eh, maybe next year....