Nikoel Stevens is an urban farmer in Rainier Valley and the current Volunteer Coordinator at Seattle Farm Co-op. She regularly hosts weekend warehouse hours and is often on hand to coordinate volunteers and buck straw bales during deliveries. She raises Nigerian Dwarf goats and maintains a flock of chickens with her husband. She works at a national ISP and dreams of owning a small dairy farm somewhere in Western Washington.
CHICKEN CULLING CLASS
My husband and I attended our first culling class today and learned some really useful skills and incredible information. Charmaine is immensely knowledgeable about poultry anatomy (as well as various other animals). She has a very laid-back and calming manner about her, which was much appreciated as I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was feeling a bit squeamish and nervous.
I didn’t bring a bird and all the people who did seemed to want to do their own processing, so I just watched, pulled some feathers, and helped a little with clean up. There was a 6 month old rooster, a 13 month old rooster, a tiny bantam rooster with feathered feet, two ducks and a 4 year old Rhode Island Red hen. Each one was truly as humane as it could be for something that you eat. Each bird was calmed by using compression, pinning the wings down and holding the bird against your chest, and by petting the head and neck. The cuts were deft and the knife recently sharpened so the birds very likely felt nothing at all. It really was quite peaceful and the mood reverent. I’ll refrain from waxing poetic, but I’ll admit to feeling a slight sadness that was tempered with knowing that these animals lived truly delightful lives, especially when compared to their factory-farmed counterparts.