Monday, 14 November 2011
How I prefer to kill
My first thought was to raise the chickens tenderly. I stroked them every day and had a clear idea from the beginning how that stroking would help matters at the end.
When the time came, I was able to gently carry the first chicken to the block. It lay in my arms in complete trust, and it didn't object when I stretched its neck ever so slightly over the wood. Then with the reassuring hand still on its back I brought the sharpened axe down swiftly. With a single blow the head and the bloody stump of the neck fell to earth and I watched the lid of the upturned eye close peacefully.
However, I have since discovered a better way to kill.
The cockerels didn't let me stroke them. They were fighters. Whenever they saw me coming their neck feathers would rise, and they would stand as tall as possible, open their wings and prepare to rush at me angrily. It got to the stage where I could no longer enter the chicken house. I would open the door just enough every day to throw in the grain.
When the time came round again, I was ready with a heavy iron bar in hand and the axe at the ready. I opened the door, jumped back and waited tensely for the attack.
It is not easy to kill a chicken in mid flight with an iron bar. It is a noisy and messy business. The first blow just makes the bird angrier and more determined to attack, and it comes back again lunging at my chest. The squalking becomes more furious, but two or three blows later the bird is on its side on the ground where the axe can finish the job off.
I now maintain that it is better for the chicken to go down fighting.