Actually written on 8/30/2022
We have had 3 dispatch days so far on our beautiful farmette. The first dispatch day, we told the kids what was going to happen, kept them informed while it was happening, and then gave them the option to watch after the 'deed' was done. Our first dispatch was a large and aggressive goat, and for the large animal, we did not want the children to watch the actual cull. We did four pekin ducks on that day as well. Despite our efforts to make sure the children weren't involved during the first dispatch day, they made their way to us. Very interested and inquisitive. The family that we did the goat for was present and wanted the skin on. So Stephen was literally torching this goat with the two older boys watching. Torch, scrape, torch, scrape, for what felt like forever.
At least the boys did not see the castration! The goat was immediately castrated following dispatch to ensure the meat did not get a taint after cull. Often referred to as "Boar Taint" and is known more in the hog world. Boar taint is something that only about ten percent of the population can detect in their meat (from hogs), but if you can taste it, it is apparently wretched. This is why in America, most pork that is found in the grocery store is from barrows (castrated pigs) or gilts (females that have never farrowed). It is more accepted in the UK that some of the pork will be boars. This is something that I just cannot wrap my head around. People go wild boar hunting and not once have I heard of someone complaining about their wild boar meat. But alas - we are ALL snowflakes in one sense or another.
For about a week afterwards our three-year-old told us that he missed the "mean goat" and stated that he was "sad for those white ducks." We consoled him each time he brought it up. The other kind of funny part was as every meal he asked us "is this those ducks" before he would eat anything. The answer was always no. We did not want to overwhelm their little brains with feelings, making them eat the first farm culls. He also for at least a month liked to ask us if we remembered that time when the "goat got dead."
Our second dispatch day we did after the children went to bed. Two broad breasted white turkeys. We mostly did this after they went to bed so we would not have to look after them and were able to focus on the task at hand. The next day the two oldest (5 and 3) asked us what happened to those white turkeys. We told them that they were dispatched in order to cook for Mico's 1st birthday party. They insisted on looking at them (they were in the fridge at the time). Oxley (3) still tells everyone that "Daddy killed them." Little does he know that it was actually Mommy. Daddy had to hold them down (strong little suckers!) and had no extra hands for the knife, so I did the deed. We each plucked one and prepped it. Those turkeys were SO good. We actually ended up brining them in last year’s left-over pickle juice.
This cull taught us that the dogs needed to be kenneled during the processing of animals. During the first dispatch they were still much smaller puppies and posed no actual interference in the process. If it wasn't the complete animalistic behavior of trying to drink the hot blood directly from the turkeys neck, is was that at any larger a size, they have to potential to be dangerous. Had they gotten ahold of one of those birds, there would be no way for us to get it back from them.
Our third cull day consisted of eight pekin duck. This dispatch we could not keep the boys away. I told Finn (5) the night before, what our plans were. Before we started I asked them to stay inside and they refused. After we took the ducks to the cull pen, here they came, running out to make sure they did not miss anything. While we were all plucking Oxley kept telling us that he had never had duck before, and he was going to try some. Stephen even got them to carry the heads and the feet over to a tray after cutting them during the gutting process. They fully understood that we were keeping them separate to boil up for the dogs to have treats afterwards. And by the way, eight was too many. Six would have been a perfect number but we had two left
from our previous batch that we did not get to. So eight it was.
Finn and Ox were present for the entirety of the dispatch. Well that's a lie. Oxley got bored and went into the house, stole some chocolate pudding out of the fridge, and watched TV for the last hour or so. I came inside during the final cleaning and gutting in order to shower and get the youngins up from their naps to cook an early dinner (late lunch) for them. There's one thing I really hate about a poultry dispatch day. That smell. It lingers on your body, your hands, and seems to hang out in your nose for days. Even with a shower directly afterwards, that smell is just there. Half imaginary. No one smells it but me.